New Stanford study finds weight loss secrets that many have been longing

A new stanford study might have changed weight loss forever! (Image via unsplash/Fuu J)
A new Stanford study might have changed weight loss forever. (Image via Unsplash/Fuu J)

In the aftermath of a year-long study, scientists and researchers may have found some compelling information that might change how you view weight loss.

According to a Stanford study, several behaviors and biomarkers contributing to both long-term and short-term weight loss have been identified. So, what are these new revelations? We'll break everything down in this piece.

Stanford Study Reveals New Weight Loss Secrets

As per the study that was conducted, it was concluded that following a diet, either a healthy low-fat diet, or a healthy low-carb diet, was the key to short-term weight loss during the first six months.

However, people who successfully lost that weight and maintained it consumed the same amount of calories as those who gained back their fat and those who did not lose any weight at all. So, what's the difference between these groups?

Well, it all comes down to bacteria. The bacteria living in the gut and the protein in the body determine your ability to sustain weight loss. That means while some people saw results with a low-fat diet, others got lucky with a low-carb option.

Medical researchers at Stanford have identified several biomarkers, from the gut microbiome, to the amount of protein in the body, and even the amount of carbon dioxide exhaled. All these factors are said to have a crucial role in one's ability to sustain weight loss, especially in the long run.

Michael Snyder, Ph.D., professor and chair of genetics and co-senior author of the paper said:

“Weight loss is enigmatic and complicated, but we can predict from the outset with microbiome and metabolic biomarkers who will lose the most weight and who will keep it off.”

Losing weight has no correlation with willpower. Researchers tracked 609 participants, who logged all their meals over the course of a year, and ate either a low-carb or low-fat diet, made up almost entirely of whole foods, i.e., foods that have not been processed.

As per the data provided, the research team came to the conclusion that cutting back on calories or exercising harder wasn't enough to lose weight and keep it off. To further understand that, they turned to their biomarkers. Dalia Perelman, research dietician and co-lead author of the paper said:

“We found specific microbiome ecologies and amounts of proteins and enzymes at the beginning of the study period — before people started following the diet — that indicated whether they would be successful at losing weight and keeping it off”

Researchers studied the ratio of oxygen inhaled to the carbon dioxide exhaled, as carbon dioxide is meant to be an indicator of the fat burnt by the body. A higher ratio means more carbs are burnt. Therefore, those who had a higher respiratory ratio lost more weight on the low-carb diet.

Perelman said,

“There are people who can be eating very few calories but still sustain their weight because of how their bodies metabolize fuels. It is not for lack of will: It is just how their bodies work.”

Put simply, it all comes down to what your body prefers. Xiao Li, a co-lead author of the paper, added:

“If you are following a diet that worked for someone you know, and it is not working for you, it might be that that specific diet is not as suited for you.”

While these developments are a huge step in the right direction, we're not quite there yet. However, there's a belief that this predictive information could lead to further personalization of diets.

Eventually, people will be able to customize their diets down to every last calorie, which will aid them in their weight loss journey. Until then, it would be wise to cut out junk and add more whole foods to our diet. Perelman had something similar to say:

“Your mindset should be on what you can include in your diet instead of what you should exclude. Figure out how to eat more fiber, whether it is from beans, whole grains, nuts, or vegetables, instead of thinking you shouldn’t eat ice cream. Learn to cook and rely less on processed foods. If you pay attention to the quality of food in your diet, then you can forget about counting calories.”

While this is potentially game-changing information, it doesn't paint an entirely new picture. The focus of health and overall well-being should always be to prioritize eating higher quality food, rather than losing sleep over the quantity of food you consume.

Poll : Do you follow a low-fat diet or low-carb diet?

Low-fat diet

Low-carb diet

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Edited by Bhargav
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