|April 5, 2024

Go Low-Carb to Burn More Calories and Manage Weight, According to Study

By Dave Asprey
Reviewed by Theresa Greenwell for Scientific Accuracy on 04/05/2024

Go Low-Carb to Burn More Calories and Manage Weight, According to Study

  • Low-carb diets help people burn more calories and maintain weight loss, according to a study by Boston Children’s Hospital and Framingham State University.
  • The study followed 164 adults over a period of 20 weeks. On average, the low-carb group torched 250 more calories than the high-carb group.
  • This news doesn’t surprise me. I was obese and weighed 300 pounds. As I write in “The Bulletproof Diet,” I finally lost the weight when I switched to a high-fat, low-carb lifestyle.

I used to weigh 300 pounds. I was obese, frustrated and depressed. I spent years trying every diet under the sun, but I just couldn’t lose the weight—until I changed the way I thought about nutrition.

Asupports what I’ve been saying for years: When you eat fewer carbohydrates, your body kicks into a new state of performance.

Here’s what the study found and what this might mean for you.

Low-carb diets torch more calories, study says

Measuring waistline

Researchers at the Boston Children’s Hospital and Framingham State University followed 164 adults over a period of 20 weeks. The participants were split into three groups to follow controlled diets: high-, moderate- and low-carb.

Here is what the researchers found at the end of the trial:

  • On average, the low-carb group burned 250 more calories than the high-carb group.
  • The low-carb group reported higher levels of physical activity.
  • Levels of ghrelin (the hunger hormone) and leptin (the hormone that signals when you’re full) were lower in the low-carb group.

So, the participants who limited their carb intake burned more calories at rest, moved more, and felt less hunger.

Sounds familiar. That’s exactly like what I say in “The Bulletproof Diet.”

Important takeaways about low-carb diets

Measuring insulin levels

The authors note that low-carb diets may be especially helpful for obese people, especially those who have high insulin sensitivity.

When you eat foods that have a high glycemic load — like refined grains and sugars — your insulin levels spike. That spike contributes to cravings and weight gain.[1]

Wonky insulin levels are bad news. They can increase your risk of obesity, diabetes, and insulin resistance. Low-carb diets help stabilize your blood sugar by keeping bad sugars out of your system. And when you replace those refined carbs with healthy fats, you feel full and satisfied. Learn more about how to reverse insulin resistance without medication.

Related: A Low-Carb Diet Helps Shed Body Fat, Even if the Scale Doesn’t Change

Are low-carb diets safe?

Grilled chicken and fresh vegetable salad

Picture a typical 30-year-old man. He’s about 5’8” tall and weighs about 220 pounds. According to the study authors, the effects of the low carb diet were so significant that that man would lose about 22 pounds over three years without changing his calorie intake or activity levels.

That was my experience when I wrote “The Bulletproof Diet.” At one point, I was eating between 4,000 and 4,500 calories per day — and I still had a six-pack. How? My diet primarily consisted of high-quality fats and protein, and cyclically low carbs. I didn’t exercise during that time. I didn’t need to: My body was finally able to operate like a fine-tuned machine. (Results not necessarily typical. Weight loss will vary from person to person.)

You might have seen a report that people who follow low-carb diets have a higher risk of death. That’s BS.

You can read my full response here, but that study is based on self-reported data from people in the late 1980s, and it doesn’t reflect the fact that not all carbs and proteins are the same (or even good for you). As the BMJ study notes, the quality of your diet determines how effectively your body burns calories.[2]

The big deal here is that your body changes when you get rid of foods that make you weak. Refined carbohydrates, processed junk, and dozens of donuts might taste good, but they spike your blood sugar, mess with your metabolic hormones, and make you feel hungry in an hour.

Live a longer, better life with this diet

Man riding bike in sunlight

If you’re like me, you might be wondering, “Okay, a low-carb diet is the way to go. What next?”

I created the Bulletproof Diet because it helped me melt fat, eliminate garbage foods, and understand how to help my body operate at peak performance. If you haven’t already, download the Bulletproof Diet Roadmap for free to learn how to manage weight, reawaken your brain and body and gain muscle with minimal exercise.

Check out this guide to learn more about cyclical keto, the sustainable style of eating you’ll enjoy on the Bulletproof Diet. And if you really want to kick your fat burning into high gear, you’ll want to check out this guide to intermittent fasting.

This latest study supports what I’ve been saying for ages: Get rid of junk carbs.

Your waistline will thank you.

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