In one study, which lasted six months, the low-carb diet seemed to win hands down. The people on it lost nearly 13 pounds (6 kg); the low-fat dieters shed just 4 pounds (2 kg). But the second study lasted six months longer, revealing a truth about low-carb diets: The results don’t last. This study too found that the low-carb dieters lost more weight in the first six months, but in the second half of the year, the weight came roaring back. By the end of a year, there was no significant difference in weight loss between the two groups. This weight “snapback” may be one reason that extremely low-carb diets have fallen out of favor.
Take the Good, Leave the Bad
The good news? Many of the weight-loss advantages of low-carb diets may have nothing at all to do with restricting carbohydrates. The main benefit may be due to the extra protein—and you can add protein to your diet even if you don’t drastically cut carbs. Protein-rich foods can really help with weight control. One reason may be that protein stimulates the body to burn slightly more calories than carbohydrates or fats do.