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Eating more carbs at dinner may help with weight loss and cholesterol levels, a study finds

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April 08, 2011|By Jeannine Stein, Los Angeles Times
  • After six months the experimental group that ate more carbs at dinner saw more weight loss, body fat mass reduction and lower abdominal circumference than the control group.
After six months the experimental group that ate more carbs at dinner saw… (Ricardo DeAratanha / Los…)

Eating a low-calorie diet in which carbs have a heavier presence at dinner may offer a host of healthful benefits, a study finds.

Researchers randomly assigned 100 obese male and female Israeli police officers age 25 to 55 to one of two diets for six months: a standard low-calorie diet (this served as the control group), or a low-calorie diet that offered more carbs at dinner. Both diets contained about 1,300 to 1,500 calories per day.

Nutritional breakdowns were the same for both groups as well: 20% protein, 30% to 35% fat, and 45% to 50% carbohydrate. But those in the experimental diet ate more protein than carbs at breakfast and lunch and loaded up on carbs at dinner, while the control group scattered their carbs more evenly throughout the day.

After six months the experimental group that ate more carbs at dinner saw more weight loss, body fat mass reduction and lower abdominal circumference than the control group. The experimental group also had higher satiety levels during the day than did the control group. This, the authors wrote, may be due to the fact that the experimental group had a smaller decrease in leptin levels than did the control group.

Leptin is a hormone manufactured in the fat cells that tells the brain when the body is full. When leptin levels are very low the brain may sense that the body is starving and kick off feelings of hunger.

The carbs-at-dinner group also saw bigger improvements in glucose balance, insulin resistance, cholesterol levels and inflammation markers.

The study was published online recently in the journal Obesity.

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