Cut down on carbs to reduce body fat

Washington: Struggling to shed the flab? Here`s an advice — cut down on carbohydrates to reduce body fat, say researchers.

A new study by the University of Alabama has found that a modest reduction in consumption of carbohydrate foods may promote loss of deep belly fat, even with little or no change in weight.

When paired with weight loss, consumption of a moderately reduced carbohydrate diet can help achieve a reduction of total body fat, says lead author Barbara Gower.

"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.

For their study, the researchers recruited 69 subjects– all overweight but healthy men and women who received food for two consecutive eight-week periods, and then a weight loss intervention, which cut the number of calories that each ate by 1,000 each day.

The 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 per cent of each diet.

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. The moderately reduced carbohydrate diet allows a variety of foods to meet personal preferences," she said.