Struggling hard to shed those extra kilos? If so, foods high in carbohydrates -- found in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes -- may help you reduce body weight and fat as well as improve insulin function, suggests a study challenging previous beliefs.
It is because these complex carbohydrates are naturally rich in fibre -- a nutrient found in plant foods that adds bulk to the diet without adding extra calories.
The study, led by US-non-profit Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, showed that a plant-based, high-carbohydrate diet can help with weight regulation and body composition and reduce the risk for Type-2 diabetes.
"Fad diets often lead people to fear carbohydrates. But the research continues to show that healthy carbohydrates -- from fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grains -- are the healthiest fuel for our bodies," said lead author Hana Kahleova, Director at the organisation.
In the study, published in the journal Nutrients, the team included nearly 100 participants for a 16-week randomised clinical trial and placed participants in either a plant-based, high-carbohydrate, low-fat diet group or asked them to maintain their current diet.
The plant-based diet group avoided all animal products and added oils and limited fat intake of 20-30 grams per day. There were no limits on calories or carbohydrate intake.
The control group maintained their current diets, which included meat and dairy products. Neither group altered their exercise routines.
The results demonstrated that total carbohydrate intake did not change in the control group, but increased significantly in the plant-based diet group, both as absolute intake and as a percentage of total calories.
At the end of the trial, body mass index, body weight, fat mass, visceral fat volume, and insulin resistance decreased significantly in the plant-based diet group. There were no significant changes in the control group, the researchers noted.