For the first phase of the study, they examined 234 overweight and obese adults, who were fed a weight-loss diet that helped 164 of them drop 10 to 12 percent of their body weight within 10 weeks.
During the second phase, those participants, who were tracked for an additional five months, were required to follow one of three diets: one made up of 20 percent carbs, the second made up of 40 percent carbs and the third made up of 60 percent carbs. The protein remained at 20 percent for each diet, and the calorie intake was controlled to help the subjects maintain their previous weight loss.
After analyzing the results, they found those on the low-carb diet burned about 250 more calories a day than those on the high-carb diet.
“If this difference persists — and we saw no drop-off during the 20 weeks of our study — the effect would translate into about a 20-pound weight loss after three years, with no change in calorie intake,” Cara Ebbeling said in a statement.
Those with the highest insulin secretion in the low-carb group had even more dramatic results. They burned about 400 calories more per day than the high-carb group. Furthermore, the low-carb dieters had significantly lower levels of ghrelin, which is known as the hunger hormone.
“Our observations challenge the belief that all calories are the same to the body,” Ebbeling said. “Our study did not measure hunger and satiety, but other studies suggest that low-carb diets also decrease hunger, which could help with weight loss in the long term.”
Want to learn more about the findings? Take a look at the full assessment here.