Unlocking the metabolic advantage
There’s been loads of scientific debate over the last couple of weeks – with the release of a video interview with researcher Kevin Hall.
The interview was on a recent study which purports to show that low carb diets don’t show the ‘advantage’ that they’re supposed to. What ‘advantage’? It’s called the metabolic advantage. The idea that a calorie is not a calorie. Eating calories from lots of carbs is functionally different to the body than eating calories from lots of fat.
The carbs stimulate insulin, the fat does not. Insulin changes how we regulate hunger (energy in) and how much our basal energy expenditure (energy out) changes. Insulin, when it’s up for a while, makes us more hungry and move around and fidget less (less energy out).
So a specific prediction is that low carb high fats diets are more useful for weight loss because you do not disrupt the body’s basal energy out so much. This is called the metabolic advantage.
Its a big deal because, if fully accepted by the scientific nutrition community, would change the way we think about public health. We wouldn’t tell people to eat less and move more (possibly the worst advice ever in the history of public health). We wouldn’t tell them this because this creates a metabolic disadvantage – the metabolic rate drops and you get more hungry – driving the body to regain any lost weight, plus some!
We’d advise them to restrict sugar and starch to the degree necessary to maintain stable blood sugar and to stop the over-secretion of insulin. That is, eat LCHF – carb restriction to be determined by what you need perennially to stay in shape. Some of us are less carb tolerant (more insuin resistant) than others.
So was the metabolic advantage really disproven and we should disregard LCHF? To find out read Dr David Ludwig’s response to the latest debate. It is one of the most important up to date reads around the issue since the “a calorie is not a calorie” debate.