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Science Just Confirmed This Is The Best Method for Weight Loss

The answer will surprise you.
FACT CHECKED BY Olivia Tarantino

Trying to find the best way to lose weight can be an elusive goal to achieve. Between following trendy diets (remember the grapefruit diet?), sipping on chalky "weight loss" shakes instead of eating meals, and exercising like a frantic person, there seem to be a million and one ways that people are promised will help them lose some pounds. But unfortunately, most diets end up failing and people do not see their weight loss journey being successful long-term.

Thankfully, a new study was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition that highlights exactly what the best method for weight loss is, according to science. According to this study, you can lose weight by limiting heavily processed carbohydrates and focusing on options that contain nutrients like fiber, protein, and healthy fats. In other words, you don't have to eat less food—you just have to eat higher-quality food.

Quality vs. quantity

Woman reaching for junk sweet donut instead over fruits and vegetables

When people are trying to lose weight, intuitively, they try and eat fewer calories than what they burn. Attaining a calorie deficit has been the long withstanding recommendation for attainable weight loss for many years. But since the obesity rates continue to trend up, our traditional weight loss advice is clearly not working.

Understanding how the "calories-in-calories-out" model doesn't seem to be the best way to manage a healthy weight, a recently published study that was co-authored by experts from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health highlighted that people need to focus more on which foods they are eating instead of how much food they are eating if they want to see the results that they are hoping for.

Generally speaking, eating low-fiber, low-protein, highly refined carbohydrates (like corn flakes, candy, and white bread) stimulates a hormonal response that leads to more fat deposits in the body. Too, an increased feeling of hunger and a slower metabolism can be seen over the course of this process.

 The 21 Unhealthiest Carbs on the Planet

So, people do not appear to gain weight simply because they are eating too many calories. According to this study, people gain weight because they eat too many foods that cause certain hormones in the body to either become stimulated or inhibited, inevitably leading to the accumulation of too much fat, a change in hunger, and a slower metabolism. (Read more: 15 Warning Signs Your Metabolism Is Slower Than It Should Be.)

The best way to lose weight is to eat the right types of foods

Americans have been looking for the secret to weight loss for many years, and according to this new research, we may have found our magic bullet.

According to this study, if people limit heavily processed carbohydrates and focus on options that contain nutrients like fiber, protein, and healthy fats, they may see better weight loss outcomes vs. the traditional methods that have simply not worked in the past.

Eat this

fruit and vegetables

So, instead of eating a piece of white toast with jam for breakfast, opt for a whole grain variety topped with sliced avocado or nut butter. And instead of snacking on highly refined candy, tame your sweet tooth with some fresh berries.

Enjoying foods like meats, nuts, legumes, bran flakes, berries, apples, pears, and a wide variety of vegetables can help you maintain your blood sugar levels, and therefore, help you manage a healthy weight.

Not that

junk food

And while many refined grains can cause a blood sugar spike when eaten, not all refined grains are created equal. In fact, options like long-grain rice, easy-cook long-grain rice, white basmati rice, and white boiled pasta are considered to have a lower glycemic index, meaning that eating them causes a slower and smaller rise in blood sugars vs. other foods. Foods that should be limited include white bread, refined sugar, cakes, candies, soda, potato chips, crackers made with refined flour, and donuts.


Of course, focusing on lifestyle habits like prioritizing quality sleep, managing stress, and participating in physical activity are all important for living a healthy lifestyle too.

But when it comes to diet, prioritizing foods that do not result in a blood sugar spike after they are eaten may be the best method for weight loss after all.

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Lauren Manaker, MS, RDN, LD, CLEC, CPT
Lauren Manaker is an award-winning registered dietitian, book author, and recipe developer who has been in practice for almost 20 years. Read more about Lauren