Dr. Suanne Phelan's study shows low-carb has changed the NWCR
In my recent review with Charles Platkin, he mentioned in one of his answers that the more low-carb dieters who can sign up to be a part of The National Weight Control Registry (NWCR) (like I did in July 2005), the better off those of us who support this lifestyle will be able to make a real difference in how people view this way of eating.
"[The NWCR] research on long-term weight control seems to support a low-calorie, low-fat diet," Platkin said in my interview with him. "But again, if more people like you who follow a low-carb lifestyle are able to register and become a part of the statistics, then that could change."
Well, according to my friend Regina Wilshire from the "Weight of the Evidence" blog, "It has changed" already according to a new study she pointed out to me.
The study came out in April 2006 "with little fanfare," Regina noted, and it was even published in the Journal of Obesity. I totally missed this study, but it contains some very important facts regarding what looks to be the changing of the guard from the good ole low-fat/low-calorie diet the NWCR has been hammering for years while showing an obvious bias against low-carb.
Lead researcher Dr. Suanne Phelan, Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry & Human Behavior at Brown Medical School as well as a Staff Psychologist at The Miriam Hospital in their Centers for Behavioral and Preventive Medicine Weight Control and Diabetes Research Center, wanted to know if the eating and exercise habits of people who have lost weight and kept it off has changed any in the past decade.
Looking at the data from 2,780 participants in The National Weight Control Registry from 1995 through 2003, Dr. Phelan noted that the participants had achieved an average weight loss of 33.1 kg and had maintained a 13.6 kg weight loss for almost six years prior to enrolling with the Registry.
Here are the key findings of the study:
- Daily percentage of calories from fat ROSE from 23.8% to 29.4%
- Saturated fat intake CLIMBED from 12.3g to 154.0g daily
- Calories from carbs DROPPED from 56.0% to 49.3%
- Low-carb dieters INCREASED from 5.9% to 17.1%
- Physical activity remained statistically constant
She also found that those who began gaining back some of their weight did so because they began consuming more calories, eating fast food again, raised their overall fat intake, and significantly decreased their exercise.
Dr. Phelan concluded that the "macronutrient [protein, fat, and carbohydrates] composition of the diet of NWCR members has shifted over the past decade" as more and more of them are eating less carbs than they used to.
Despite the good news, she added...
"Still, only a minority consumes a low-carbohydrate diet," she noted. "Despite changes in the diet over time, the variables associated with long-term maintenance of weight loss were the same: continued consumption of a low-calorie diet with moderate fat intake, limited fast food, and high levels of physical activity."
While earth-shattering changes have not taken place to radically alter the same dietary recommendations that have been based on The National Weight Control Registry just yet, this study by Dr. Phelan shows the tide may be turning in that direction as more and more long-term successful low-carbers continue to sign up to be a part of the Registry.
You can e-mail Dr. Suanne Phelan about her study at firstname.lastname@example.org.
So how do we get more people who are livin' la vida low-carb to sign up to become a part of the Registry? That's exactly what one of my readers wrote to me today in an e-mail.
"Why don't you encourage all your readers who have lost weight livin' la vida low carb to notify the registry about their success? I did so myself after reading that all the dieters registered there were eating a low-fat/low-calorie diet. I believe we could change the public's perception of just how well low-carb works if all the low-carbers who have attained their weight loss goals would simply register.
Actually, I have blogged about this before, but it is certainly worth repeating again. I could not agree more regarding the need for more people on the low-carb lifestyle to become a part of this pool of successful dieters. The best part is it is SUPER EASY to sign up.
If you have lost at least 30 pounds and kept that weight off for a minimum of one year, then all you have to do is click here to sign up with The National Weight Control Registry. Not everyone who applies to be a part of it will be accepted, but you won't know unless you try. The more of US who sign up and show the miracle of livin' la vida low-carb is STILL viable for sustained weight loss over the long-term, the better our argument on behalf of this incredible lifestyle change will become. SIGN UP TODAY!!!
6-20-06 UPDATE: I inquired with Dr. Suanne Phelan about updating the information about people involved with the NWCR since 2003 and here is what she wrote to me in an e-mail today.
We haven't yet examined 2003 to 2006 but will be sure to do so in the near
future. Thank you for your interest in the study.
I would be willing to bet the statistics for carb consumption continue to go down, fat consumption continues to go up and overall low-carbers also rises. Mark my words.