New study shows how very low-carb diets take off the pounds

March 14, 2005

PHILADELPHIA -- (March 15, 2005) A new three-week in-hospital study of 10 volunteers found that during the two-week period on a strictly controlled very-low carbohydrate diet, participants lost an average of 3.6 pounds, voluntarily reduced their calorie intake from 3,111 calories per day to 2,164 calories per day, and did not eat more of the readily available fat and protein to make up for the lost carbohydrate calories.

The study, "Effect of a Low-Carbohydrate Diet on Appetite, Blood Glucose Levels, and Insulin Resistance in Obese Patients with Type 2 Diabetes," compared a very low-carbohydrate diet with a regular diet. It is published in the March 15, 2005, issue of Annals of Internal Medicine and is the subject of a video news release.

During the first study week, participants, who were obese and had mild type 2 diabetes mellitus, ate a regular diet in which they could eat anything and as much as they wanted. They ate about 3,000 calories and 300 grams of carbohydrates per day and remained at entry weight.

In the following two weeks, when restricted to 20 grams of carbohydrates per day, as specified in the Atkins induction diet, and despite readily available protein and fat foods, the participants voluntarily ate about 1,000 fewer calories per day, a calorie intake considered appropriate to their height.

Participants' blood sugar improved on the low-carb diet, with better insulin sensitivity and lower blood triglycerides and cholesterol levels.

"We proved that people lose weight on the Atkins diet because they eat less (consume fewer calories), not because they get bored with the diet or lose body water or because the carbohydrate calories are treated differently by the body than fat or protein calories," said Guenther Boden, MD, a Laura H. Carnell Professor of Medicine and chief of the division of endocrinology/diabetes/metabolism at Temple University School of Medicine.

"All the weight loss was in fat," said Boden, the lead study author. "We weighed and measured every calorie that participants ate and every calorie they spent. We knew what went in and what went out."

"On the very low-fat diet, participants spontaneously reduced their calories by about 1,000 per day. One gram of fat equals 9 calories, so, doing the math, you can determine how much fat will be lost by cutting 1,000 calories."

Boden also believes that the carbohydrates actually stimulated the patients' big appetites during the regular-diet week.

"Participants went from an excessive caloric intake to a normal caloric intake for their height and weight when we reduced their carbohydrates. This indicates to me that it was the carbohydrates that stimulated the excessive appetite," Boden said.

Throughout the three-week study, researchers weighed all food, monitored exercise, measured participants' calorie energy intake, expenditure and body water composition, and tested blood sugar, cholesterol, and several hormone levels believed to be involved in appetite regulation.

"You don't have to cut carbs as drastically as participants did," said Boden. "If you cut carbs modestly, you cut calories, and you'll lose weight."

"The message is: Calories count," Boden said. "If you want to lose weight, you have to decrease your food intake or increase your physical activity. It helps to know that carbohydrates make it more difficult to reduce food intake. So cutting the carbohydrates, at least to some extent, will help keep down the caloric intake. With fewer carbohydrates, you're going to eat fewer total calories a day."

George A. Bray, MD, Chief, Division of Clinical Obesity and Metabolism at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, La., and a well-known researcher in obesity and diabetes, wrote an accompanying editorial, "Is There Something Special about Low-Carbohydrate Diets?"

Bray notes that the study is small but calls it "a nicely done, short-term metabolic ward study." He says that using "many different diets with different approaches to food restriction for individual patients at different times in their efforts to lose weight may be the most effective way a clinician can use the available diets. ... (I) am not yet convinced that one diet has any more value than another -- they all have value."

Annals of Internal Medicine is published in Philadelphia by the American College of Physicians, the largest medical-specialty organization and second-largest physician group in the United States. ACP members include 116,000 internal medicine physicians (internists), related subspecialists, and medical students. Internists specialize in the prevention, detection and treatment of illnesses in adults, reflected in the organization's trademarked phrase Doctors of Internal Medicine. Doctors for Adults.®

For an embargoed copy of the article, "Effect of a Low-Carbohydrate Diet on Appetite, Blood Glucose Levels, and Insulin Resistance in Obese Patients with Type 2 Diabetes," and the editorial, "Is There Something Special about Low-Carbohydrate Diets?" call Penny Fuller, 1-800-523-1546, ext. 2653;

To arrange an interview with author Dr. Guenther H. Boden, call Eryn Jelesiewicz, 215-707-0730;

To arrange an interview with author Dr. George A. Bray, call Glen Duncan, 2215-763-2599.

The study on very low-carbohydrate diets is the subject of a video news release in the American College of Physicians "Internal Medicine Report" series. Call for an embargoed copy of the script. Coordinates:

Date: Monday, March 14, 2005. Times: 10:00 AM - 10:15 AM Eastern, 9:00 AM - 9:15 AM Central, 8:00 AM - 8:15 AM Mountain 7:00 AM - 7:15 AM Pacific; C-Band Satellite: INTELSAT A-6 (formerly Telstar 6); Transponder: 15; Downlink: 4000 (V) Audio: 6.2 & 6.8.

Date: Monday, March 14, 2005. Times: 2:00 PM - 2:15 PM Eastern, 1:00 PM - 1:15 PM Central 12:00 PM - 12:15 PM Mountain 11:00 AM - 11:15 AM Pacific; C-Band Satellite: INTELSAT A-6 (formerly Telstar 6); Transponder: 15; Downlink: 4000 (V) Audio: 6.2 & 6.8

Date: Tuesday, March 15, 2005. Times: 1:30 PM - 1:45 PM Eastern 12:30 PM - 12:45 PM Central 11:30 AM - 11:45 AM Mountain 10:30 AM - 10:45 AM Pacific, C-Band Satellite: INTELSAT A-6 (formerly Telstar 6); Transponder: 15; Downlink: 4000 (V) Audio: 6.2 & 6.8.

American College of Physicians

Related Diabetes Articles from Brightsurf:

New diabetes medication reduced heart event risk in those with diabetes and kidney disease
Sotagliflozin - a type of medication known as an SGLT2 inhibitor primarily prescribed for Type 2 diabetes - reduces the risk of adverse cardiovascular events for patients with diabetes and kidney disease.

Diabetes drug boosts survival in patients with type 2 diabetes and COVID-19 pneumonia
Sitagliptin, a drug to lower blood sugar in type 2 diabetes, also improves survival in diabetic patients hospitalized with COVID-19, suggests a multicenter observational study in Italy.

Making sense of diabetes
Throughout her 38-year nursing career, Laurel Despins has progressed from a bedside nurse to a clinical nurse specialist and has worked in medical, surgical and cardiac intensive care units.

Helping teens with type 1 diabetes improve diabetes control with MyDiaText
Adolescence is a difficult period of development, made more complex for those with Type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM).

Diabetes-in-a-dish model uncovers new insights into the cause of type 2 diabetes
Researchers have developed a novel 'disease-in-a-dish' model to study the basic molecular factors that lead to the development of type 2 diabetes, uncovering the potential existence of major signaling defects both inside and outside of the classical insulin signaling cascade, and providing new perspectives on the mechanisms behind insulin resistance in type 2 diabetes and possibly opportunities for the development of novel therapeutics for the disease.

Tele-diabetes to manage new-onset diabetes during COVID-19 pandemic
Two new case studies highlight the use of tele-diabetes to manage new-onset type 1 diabetes in an adult and an infant during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Genetic profile may predict type 2 diabetes risk among women with gestational diabetes
Women who go on to develop type 2 diabetes after having gestational, or pregnancy-related, diabetes are more likely to have particular genetic profiles, suggests an analysis by researchers at the National Institutes of Health and other institutions.

Maternal gestational diabetes linked to diabetes in children
Children and youth of mothers who had gestational diabetes during pregnancy are at increased risk of diabetes themselves, according to new research published in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

Two diabetes medications don't slow progression of type 2 diabetes in youth
In youth with impaired glucose tolerance or recent-onset type 2 diabetes, neither initial treatment with long-acting insulin followed by the drug metformin, nor metformin alone preserved the body's ability to make insulin, according to results published online June 25 in Diabetes Care.

People with diabetes visit the dentist less frequently despite link between diabetes, oral health
Adults with diabetes are less likely to visit the dentist than people with prediabetes or without diabetes, finds a new study led by researchers at NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing and East Carolina University's Brody School of Medicine.

Read More: Diabetes News and Diabetes Current Events is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to