If you’re like me and don’t want to weigh and measure food, there’s good news for you!
While it might seem like common sense to some of us, a new study published in the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA) says instead of becoming obsessive about the number of calories you’re consuming each day, focus on the quality of food you’re putting into your body.
Here’s a link to the study if you want to geek-out a bit more.
Simply put, the study found that those who avoided added sugar, refined grains and other highly-processed foods—all the while they did NOT worry about counting calories or limiting their portion sizes—were able to lose significant amounts of weight (and improve other health markers) over the course of a year.
What’s even more notable is that this strategy worked both for those who followed a low-fat diet, as well as those who followed a low-carb diet. It also seemed to hold true regardless of a person’s genetics, the researchers said.
The overall take-away message for us: Calories are NOT created equal, and the most important thing is to eliminate sugar and processed foods from our diets. After you do that, go ahead and indulge (in whole foods) without worrying about portion size all that much.
To come up with their results, the researchers looked at more than 600 people, who were split into two groups, half of whom followed a low-carb diet, while the other half followed a low-fat diet.
Both groups of people consumed minimally processed, more or less sugar-free, whole food diets for an entire year. Neither group counted their calories or macros. They were simply told what types of food to each, and to eat until they were mostly full.
After one year, the study found that people in both groups lost a substantial amount of weight. The low-carb group lost 13 lb. on average, while the low-fat group lost 11.7 lb. on average.
Further, both groups saw other health improvements, such as a decrease in body fat, as well as blood sugar and blood pressure levels.
In case that’s not enough evidence for you, the Endocrine Society released a scientific statement earlier this year that says basically any diet can work for weight and fat loss, be it low-fat, low-carb, Paleo, Whole 30, Vegan, vegetarian, Mediterranean etc… As long as you’re eating whole foods—foods that grow naturally in nature and aren’t processed—you’re pretty good to go.
It might really be THAT simple: Avoid sugar. Avoid processing. Cook at home. And my goodness, do you food prep!