Staying in shape is no mean job as people often find that they quickly regain the weight that they had shed after a rigorous regime of dieting or exercise. Eating a diet low on carbohydrates may, however, help them maintain weight loss, new research has found.
This is because eating fewer carbohydrates increases the number of calories burned, said the study published in the journal BMJ.
For the study, the researchers from Boston Children's Hospital in the US enrolled 234 overweight adults aged between 18 and 65 to an initial weight-loss diet for about 10 weeks.
Of these, 164 achieved the goal of losing 10 to 14 per cent of body weight.
The participants were then randomised to follow high, moderate or low-carbohydrate diets for an additional 20 weeks with carbs comprising 60, 40 and 20 per cent of total calories, respectively.
The results showed that over the 20 weeks, calories burned was significantly greater on the low-carbohydrate diet versus the high-carbohydrate diet.
At the same average body weight, participants who consumed the low-carb diet burned about 250 kilocalories a day more than those on the high-carb diet.
"If this difference persists - and we saw no drop-off during the 20 weeks of our study - the effect would translate into about a 20-pound weight loss after three years, with no change in calorie intake," said Cara Ebbeling from Boston Children's Hospital.