Low-carb diets rich in plant-based fats and proteins have been associated with less long-term weight gain, according to a recent study.

A recent study found that eating whole grains and plant-based proteins and lipids may assist to prevent long-term weight gain.

When compared against diets high in meat and refined carbohydrates, researchers at Harvard University in the US discovered that this kind of low-carbohydrate, or low-carb, diet was superior for long-term weight maintenance.

Although low-carb diets have already been linked to positive short-term weight improvements, little research has examined how these diets affect our weight over the long run, according to researchers.

According to the US-based Mayo Clinic, a diet low in carbs emphasises meals strong in protein and fat rather than grains and starchy foods.

“To carb or not to carb? is not the only question our research addresses.” Lead author of the study Binkai Liu, a research assistant in Harvard’s nutrition department, stated in a statement.

“It dissects the low-carbohydrate diet and provides a nuanced look at how the composition of these diets can affect health over years, not just weeks or months.”

The results were released in the journal JAMA Network Open last week.

More than 120,000 people participated in the three studies conducted between 1986 and 2018 in total. Participants updated their diets and lifestyles through self-reporting.

More than 120,000 people participated in the three studies conducted between 1986 and 2018 in total. Every four years, participants gave self-reported updates on their weight and diets.

The time frame for doing the data analysis was November 2022–April 2023.

The researchers examined five different low-carb diets, with some emphasising more fat and protein from plant sources and others focusing more on animal sources.

The study concluded that their results imply that a low-carb diet’s quality “may play a critical role in modulating long-term weight change”.

“High-quality protein, fat, and carbohydrates from whole grains and other plant-based foods were associated with less weight gain,” the researchers reported in relation to the diets.

The fact that the data was self-reported was one of their study’s shortcomings. This indicates that errors in measuring were “inevitable”. Because the study was observational, biases or confounding variables might possibly exist.

The research was restricted to predominantly white healthcare personnel, perhaps impeding the capacity to extrapolate the results to a broader populace.

Plant-based diets have been related to lower body mass index (BMI) in several studies. Also, a study that was published in the European Heart Journal last year suggested that eating a plant-based diet may lower the risk of cardiovascular disease.

The study’s principal author and Harvard associate professor Qi Sun stated, “The important lesson here is that not all low-carb diets are created equal when it comes to managing weight in the long run.”

“Our findings suggest that public health initiatives should continue to promote dietary patterns that emphasise healthful foods like whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products and could shake up our understanding of popular low-carbohydrate diets.”

Topics #grains and starchy foods #JAMA Network #Long-Term Weight Gain #Low-Carb Diets #plant-based #Recent Study