Stanford: Biomarkers predict weight loss on either low carb or low fat diet (one of these will work best for you) – suggest personalized diets

Strictly following a diet – either healthy low-carb or healthy low-fat – was what mattered for short-term weight loss during the first six months. But people who maintained long-term weight loss for a year ate the same number of calories as those who regained weight or who did not lose weight during the second six months.

So what explains this difference?

According to the study, the bacteria living in your gut and the amounts of certain proteins your body makes can affect your ability to sustain weight loss. And some people, it turns out, shed more pounds on low-fat diets while others did better on low-carb diets.

Stanford Medicine researchers have identified several biomarkers that predict how successful an individual will be at losing weight and keeping it off long-term. These biomarkers include signatures from the gut microbiome, proteins made by the human body and levels of exhaled carbon dioxide. The researchers published their findings in Cell Reports Medicine Dec. 13.


The study showed that just cutting calories or exercising were not enough to sustain weight loss over a year. To try and understand why, the team turned their focus to biomarkers of metabolism.


Throughout the study, the researchers measured the ratio of inhaled oxygen to exhaled carbon dioxide, known as a respiratory quotient, which serves as a proxy for whether carbohydrates or fats are the body’s primary fuel. A lower ratio means the body burns more fat, while a higher ratio means it burns more carbohydrates. So, those who started the diet with a higher respiratory quotient lost more weight on a low-carb diet.

“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,” Perelman said.

In other words, if your body prefers carbs and you’re predominately eating fat, it will be much harder to metabolize and burn off those calories.


tracking amounts of certain gut microbe strains will be a way for people to determine which diets are best for weight loss.

We’re not there yet, so until then, according to the researchers, the focus should be on eating high-quality foods that are unprocessed and low in refined flours and sugar.

The research team identified specific nutrients that were correlated with weight loss during the first six months. Low-carb diets should be based on monounsaturated fats — such as those that come from avocados, rather than bacon — and high in vitamins K, C and E. These vitamins are in vegetables, nuts, olives, and avocados. Low-fat diets should be high in fiber, such as is found in whole grains and beans, and avoid added sugars.

“Your mindset should be on what you can include in your diet instead of what you should exclude,” Perelman said. “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.”

Source: Biomarkers predict weight loss, suggest personalized diets – Scope

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