There is a new health study involving healthy weight and obesity risk from the University of South Carolina that suggests the majority of people who maintain their optimum healthy body weight do not consume a low carbohydrate diet that many people use to lose weight.

The research team behind the study was led by Dr. A. T. Merchant, an associate professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the University of South Carolina. They used a 2004-2005 cross-sectional survey of 4,451 Canadians aged 18 years and older for the study about healthy weights and food consumption.

After studying the results of the survey they came to conclude that normals weights are associated with people that indicated higher carbs consumption. People consuming 290 to 310 g/day carbohydrates, or 47% to 64% of their daily calories from carbs, were the least likely people to be overweight or obese. Also, those in the study that consumed less carbohydrates were more likely to be obese or overweight.

Those that consumed the most carbohydrates also had lower intakes of fat calories and higher intakes of fiber. Compared to the those with the lowest carbohydrate intake, their weight and obesity risk was lower by 37% (if consuming 234 g/day) or 42% (those consuming 269 g/day).

Dr. A. T. Merchant, the lead scientist in the study, mentioned the popularity of low carb diets with the comment that any extreme diet is difficult to adhere to over the long term. When calories are slashed to next to nothing, people lose weight quickly but later have trouble. Those extreme diets many people turn to in order to lose weight quickly, are ineffective because they are not sustainable.

Most low-carb diets are lacking in the complex carbs that are rich in fiber, which helps aid digestion and makes people feel full. Diets that lack an abundance of those complex carbohydrates often lead dieters to feel hungry and less full.

Additionally the study found that physical activity played a bigger role than amount of carb consumption. The researchers determined that those with the lowest overweight and obesity risk were the most physically active, more so than those with the lowest or highest carbohydrate intake.

Every weight loss and healthy situation is unique but the take aways from the study are: don’t be afraid of carbohydrates and make sure you are physically active. Low carb diets are often touted as the best way to lose weight, but they are unsustainable and often leave dieters with a higher risk for being overweight.

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