Low carb diet study paper finally out

Kevin Hall’s long awaited paper on what I dubbed “the land sub” experiment, where subjects were sequestered for two months, is finally in print (see here). This was the study funded by Gary Taube’s organization Nusi. The idea was to do a fully controlled study comparing low carb to a standard high carb diet to test the hypothesis that high carbs lead to weight gain through increased insulin. See here for a summary of the hypothesis. The experiment showed very little effect and refutes the carbohydrate-insulin model of weight gain. Kevin was so frustrated with dealing with Nusi that he opted out of any follow up study. Taubes did not support the conclusions of the paper and claimed that the diet used (which Nusi approved) wasn’t high enough in carbs. This is essentially positing that the carb effect is purely nonlinear – it only shows up if you are just eating white bread and rice all day. Even if this were true it would still mean that carbs could not explain the increase in average body weight over the past three decades since there is a wide range of carb consumption over the general population. It is not as if only the super carb lovers were getting obese. There were some weird effects that warrant further study. One is that study participants seemed to burn 500 more Calories outside of a metabolic chamber compared to inside. This was why the participants lost weight on the lead-in stabilizing diet. These missing Calories far swamped any effect of macronutrient composition.

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2 thoughts on “Low carb diet study paper finally out

  1. “Taubes did not support the conclusions of the paper and claimed that the diet used (which Nusi approved) wasn’t high enough in carbs.”

    I was not aware that Taubes had commented on this study. Would love to see your source.

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  2. @sean I do not know if Taubes has come out with an official retort. That comment was based on information I obtained from personal conversations with Kevin during the course of writing the paper. Tubes has a New York Times commentary criticizing Kevin’s previous study http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/30/opinion/diet-advice-that-ignores-hunger.html?_r=0 where he somewhat backtracks on his previous skepticism for the influence of carbs on hunger, which he expressed to me directly when he visited NIH after his first book.

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