Home Low Carbohydrate diets Lower carb, higher fat diet, promotes deep abdominal fat loss

Lower carb, higher fat diet, promotes deep abdominal fat loss


A quick cut and paste today. This study from the Endocrine Society. Two groups of ate a reduced calorie diet, both with 18% calories from protein. One had 43 percent calories from carbohydrates and 39 percent calories from fat, the other “standard”  diet contained 55 percent of calories from carbohydrates and 27 percent from fat. Those on the higher fat, lower carbohydrate diet lost more fat, and more deep abdominal fat, even if their weight did not change. Interesting as this means that a lower carb diet appeared to increase or maintain lean mass, better than the low fat diet – even though they both contained the same amount of protein.

Cut Down on “Carbs” to Reduce Body Fat, Study Authors Say

Newswise — A modest reduction in consumption of carbohydrate foods may promote loss of deep belly fat, even with little or no change in weight, a new study finds. Presentation of the study results will be Sunday at The Endocrine Society’s 93rd Annual Meeting in Boston.

When paired with weight loss, consumption of a moderately reduced carbohydrate diet can help achieve a reduction of total body fat, according to principal author Barbara Gower, PhD, a professor of nutrition sciences at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

These changes could help reduce the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, stroke and coronary artery disease,” Gower said, noting that excess visceral, or intra-abdominal, fat raises the risk of these diseases.

Gower and her colleagues conducted the study, with funding from the National Institutes of Health, in 69 overweight but healthy men and women. Subjects received food for two consecutive eight-week periods: first a weight maintenance intervention, and then a weight loss intervention, which cut the number of calories that each person ate by 1,000 each day.

Subjects received either a standard lower-fat diet or a diet with a modest reduction in carbohydrates, or “carbs,” but slightly higher in fat than the standard diet. The moderately carb-restricted diet contained foods that had a relatively low glycemic index, a measure of the extent to which the food raises blood glucose levels. This diet consisted of 43 percent calories from carbohydrates and 39 percent calories from fat, whereas the standard diet contained 55 percent of calories from carbohydrates and 27 percent from fat. Protein made up the other 18 percent of each diet.

At the beginning and end of each study phase, the researchers measured the subjects’ fat deep inside the abdomen and their total body fat using computed tomography (CT) and dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) scans.

After the weight maintenance phase, subjects who consumed the moderately carb-restricted diet had 11 percent less deep abdominal fat than those who ate the standard diet. However, when the researchers analyzed results by race, they found it was exclusive to whites. Whites have more deep abdominal fat than Blacks even when matched for body weight or percent body fat, and may benefit from loss of this metabolically harmful depot, Gower said.

During the weight loss phase, subjects on both diets lost weight. However, the moderately carb-restricted diet promoted a 4 percent greater loss of total body fat, Gower said. “For individuals willing to go on a weight-loss diet, a modest reduction in carbohydrate-containing foods may help them preferentially lose fat, rather than lean tissue,” she said. “The moderately reduced carbohydrate diet allows a variety of foods to meet personal preferences.”


  1. Thanks for the summary. We need more of these swell-designed studies to show that there is indeed more to the whole body composition thing than number of calories consumed and time on the treadmill.

  2. I would really like to ask you about protein fat carb ratio. I am new in paleo and have many book The paleo solution, The paleo diet, Everyday paleo and also from Makr Sisson. I am bit confused cause Loren Cordain advised in his book to eat many fruits and less fat and Sarah in her book suggest to stay away from fruit because it cause insuline spike and weight gain too. Please what is you suggestion about fruit and carb. I do not want to loose any weight just be healthy

    • Here’s where I would start;
      Approx a plam size of protein per meal (3-4 meals a day) that for most women is 100 – 140 grams before cooking
      Add a lot – as in 2 cups full of non starch coloure, include mushrooms, and green veggies and bulbs (leeks and onion) So you get at least 6 cups veggies a day.
      Add some starch, the more apple shaped you are the less you need in my view. But some is good – about 1/2 cup – 1 cup per meal.
      Fruit – 1 – 2 pieces day is good for most – stick to the highly coloured like berries for anti-oxidants

      Fat- again it depends, I add a little – like olive oil on my dressing or cook with some. I personally dont like a lot of added fat. Some people do better on more fat, less starch. See how you feel.

      • Thank you so much for this. My problem is that as a former vegan it is hard for me to eat meat 3 times a day, I m glad if I can eat 2 times a meat and some eggs. With veggies I do not have any problem I eat even more than 6 cups may be 10 cups or so. I am lean just want to keep my insuline level down that why I am afraid to eat lots of fruits(before I ate a lot like 3 bananas, apples, berries, but had big craving for sweet all day) so I might do beter with sweet potato and only with berries like you have advised. With fat I add more fat than protein so may be 50% of fat 25%of protein and rest of carb.So do you suggest to eat even more protein and less fat?

        • I would just start with the amount of protein you are comfortable with, non meat protein like eggs and seafood are great, you dont have to eat meat at every meal. The reason why I tell people to eat protein at each meal is becaseu it has a big effect on satiety, stops you getting hungry so fast.

          Eating a few servings of root vegetables and fruit per day should not be a problem for someone who is lean and healthy, and active. Ask your doctor for blood sugar and insulin tests if you are worried. Eating paleo meals is unlikely to increase your blood sugar and insulin in an unhealthy way. It’s the processed carbs (from grains) and the sugars that do that.

          • Thank you so much yes I have learned but my body is much more less hungry when I eat protein. I am doing great with eggs and fish just wonder if I can eat 3 eggs everyday,(Rob Wollf does not suggest to eat daily eggs). My blood sugar is ok. I have tested many times even when I was pregnant I had it ok. What do you think about food combining rules? I have been doing for year and have no bloating now when I mix protein and fat or starch I have little bloeating, may be it will gets better. Also I food combining advice to eat fruit on empty stomach while paleo to eat with meal not to spike insuline. What do you think about that?

          • If you have blood sugar and insulin problems, eating fruit on it’s own is not a good idea, in my experience. I Like to eat fruit about 1/2 – 1 hour after my eggs at breakfast.
            But fruit affects my blood sugar which is why I always have protein prior. I dont really go along with the food combining theory – although anecdoatally some people find they get less gut issues following the rules. I don’t see any evidence from a biochemistry point of view why we cant digest different foods at the same time.

            If you can at fruit on it’s own without problems, like blood sugar elevating to much and triggering hunger an hour or so later, you are probably fine to do that.

  3. Probably I do have the same problem as you when I eat it on empty stomach I constant hungry and eat more and more fruit. So I found myself eating like persimmon then 40 minutes later bananas then later aplles. But last month I eat eggs for breakfast some greens and other veggies and I fine till lunch, even when I had avocado spinach and 1/2-1cup blueberries I am gettin hungry hour and half later. I try to limit my fruit only few times a week. I appreciate your help and advice a lot. You know it is totally different for me as a high raw former vegan

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