Torching Ten Update – Week 4

This week I didn’t really torch, it was more of a smolder.  I lost 0.2 pounds, but it’s progress so I will take it.  My running mileage grew to 17 for the week with my eye on 20 for next week. The temperatures should start coming out of the triple digits around here soon, so that will be great for my running Mojo.

Now for the sciencey bit: a very small but cool study published in the journal Cell Metabolism and found on Science Daily pits low carb diets vs. low fat diets. In the study, researchers tested a mathematical model which predicted that low carb diets would promote more fat burning, but low fat diets would produce more fat loss. Nineteen participants lived in a controlled environment for two weeks while eating a low fat diet that included the same number of carbs that participants were used to eating. In other words, the only variable that changed was fat level in the diet.  This protocol was repeated for another two weeks with a low carb diet in which fat was kept at the participants normal levels.

The results indicated that the models were correct in predicting that low fat diets promote more fat loss than low carb diets even though low carb diets promote more fat burning.

BUT WAIT! Before you tear open those Snackwell’s Fat Free cookies, read a quote from the study’s author: “There is one set of beliefs that says all calories are exactly equal when it comes to body fat loss and there’s another that says carbohydrate calories are particularly fattening, so cutting those should lead to more fat loss,” Hall says. “Our results showed that, actually, not all calories are created equal when it comes to body fat loss, but over the long term, it’s pretty close.”

This means that even though these 19 participants lost more weight over two weeks on a low fat diet compared to a low carb diet, we don’t know what would happen if the study lengths were extended. It is not ethical to keep volunteers shut up in a research facility for 9 – 12 months, so we will still have to keep conducting our own n=1 experiments in our own research facilities; our homes.

Photo by Matthias Ripp. Used under Creative Commons licence.
Photo by Matthias Ripp. Used under Creative Commons licence.

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