Low Carb Diets, Weight Loss, and Fat - How to Lose Weight by Not Sabotaging Your Nutrition

Are you trying to lose weight? A lot of people are; obesity is an epidemic in America and around the world. There are also many conflicting theories and diets and exercise programs, each purporting to be the ultimate. African Lean Belly The reality is that there is no ultimate diet - the success of any diet is largely dependent on the person following it. While there are some scientific studies which find that some diets (such as low-carb diets) may be more effective in the short term, there are also studies that dispute those conclusions. As always, the truth is likely to be somewhere in between.

Nutrition and food have always played a critical role in dieting and losing weight. Absent other physiological/ medical conditions, the simple matter is that if one burns more calories than he/ she consumes, he/ she weight. This is why dieting and exercise are generally effective in controlling weight. However dieting is hard because if one is hungry, he/ she is more likely to cheat on the diet and consume more food than is "allowed." When that happens, the person either stops losing weight or worse, starts gaining weight.

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When low-carb diets became popular, it was advised that people should eat full-fat products, partially because fat will allow one to stick to the diet better - it keeps you full longer. (There were other benefits cited as well by many authors of such diets.) There seems to be some scientific support for that idea, and the idea that in the short term, low-carb diets seem to induce greater weight loss. However, more recent research tends to suggest a modification on this particular theme. By modifying your fat intake to limit products that contain palmitic acid (typically found in dairy products and meats), one may actually improve their chances of sticking to the diet. This is because palmitic acid has been shown to alter the chemical messengers which the brain uses to control how much food is consumed by reducing the normal effect of insulin and leptin (hormones that are involved in appetite control and metabolism) (Benoit et al., 2020).

This effect is reported to be in direct contrast to the effect of the other fats, such as oleic acid (typically found in olive oil). Oleic acid actually seems to positively affect metabolism by mimicking the action of some of the hormones that control metabolism (Obici et al., 2020).

What conclusions may be drawn from this? That unsaturated/ polyunsaturated fats such as olive oil were considered "healthy" is not disputed. The distinctive point of the above research by Benoit et al. seems to be that eating more "full fat" foods that contain palmitic acid (e.g. butter, full-fat cheeses, etc.) may actually make it more difficult to control appetite. This in turn may cause someone to eat more than they really intended because the signal to stop eating may not be received as readily as when the diet includes less of such foods. However, it does stand to reason that a low-carb diet may be made more effective by reducing the intake of some foods that may sabotage progress and substituting more of foods that have no such effect.