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Weight Loss

Our evidence-based analysis on weight loss features 290 unique references to scientific papers.

Research analysis led by .
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Examine.com Team
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Summary of Weight Loss

Primary Information, Benefits, Effects, and Important Facts

Scientific Information on Weight Loss

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Frequently Asked Questions about Weight Loss

Low-fat vs low-carb? Major study concludes: it doesn’t matter for weight loss
A year-long randomized clinical trial (DIETFITS) has found that a low-fat diet and a low-carb diet produced similar weight loss and improvements in metabolic health markers. Furthermore, insulin production and tested genes had no impact on predicting weight loss success or failure. Thus, evidence to date indicates you should choose your diet based on personal preferences, health goals, and sustainability.
Can hypothyroidism lead to fat gain?
Yes, a less active thyroid will reduce metabolic rate and can cause some weight gain. It is not a lot of weight gain though, and a subactive thyroid is not an excuse for obesity (if hypothyroidic, please see a doctor for medication; it burns fat)
Does aspartame increase appetite?
How do I stay out of "starvation mode?"
Marasmus is a disease of caloric restriction, but you most likely don't have it. Your metabolic rate can definitely slow down during weight loss, but it will never slow to the point where it causes you to gain weight; in this sense, starvation mode is a myth.
Measuring body fat percentage: It's an accuracy thing
Comparing DEXA versus Bod Pod for people with different BMI.
Is my “slow metabolism” stalling my weight loss?
Does eating at night make it more likely to gain weight?
While the evidence is mixed, depending on who was studied and what the diets were, there does not seem to be a major inherent weight-gain effect when eating late at night. Individual results may vary, and other factors such as circadian rhythms should be considered as well.
The lowdown on intermittent fasting
We analyze the research on intermittent fasting and how it impacts your health.
Does diet soda inhibit fat loss?
It does not inhibit fat loss at all, and may actually suppress appetite that could help fat loss (although it does not induce fat loss per se either). Diet soda, in regards to body fat, is a carbonated inert beverage
Do you need to detox?
While your body does accumulate toxicants, cleanses (detox diets) aren’t supported by toxicological mechanisms or trial evidence, and they can occasionally be dangerous. Your liver, lungs, kidneys, and other organs work nonstop to “detoxify” you; a diet rich in protein, vegetables, and fruits will provide them with the nutrients they need to function optimally.
How do I get a six-pack?
You eat less food to reduce body fat. There will be abdominal muscles under the fat, and adding some muscle to this area (resistance training) can make them appear more aesthetic; fat loss is the main predictor, however
Will my breasts shrink with weight loss?
How does protein affect weight loss?
What should you eat for weight loss?
When it comes to figuring out what to eat for weight loss, the most important factor is eating less. When you consume less calories than you spend you will lose weight and the diet that helps you lose weight best will be the one that allows you to consume less calories without causing much distress or lethargy. The key is to pick a diet that you can adhere to.
Will lifting weights convert my fat into muscle?
How do I lose fat around my belly?
Does high-protein intake help when dieting?
We analyze a study which suggests that a higher protein-intake while dieting can help you lose more fat.
Whey vs soy protein: which is better when losing weight?
Whey protein stimulates muscle protein synthesis rates more than soy protein, but supplementing with ~25 grams per day of either has similar effects on body composition over two weeks of dieting.
How important is sleep?
Sleep is incredibly important, and can be considered crucial alongside diet and exercise. Proper sleep habits help sustain many biological processes, and bad sleep can cause these processes to be suboptimal or even malfunction.
I have lost significant weight and now have loose skin. How can I tighten up my skin?
Is it really that bad to skip breakfast?
5 little-known facts about protein
Can you survive if you eat only protein? Can you survive without eating protein? How does your body keep functioning when you fast? Do high-protein diets actually promote weight loss, or do they only help you retain muscle when you eat below maintenance? Find the answers to those questions, and more, in the article below.

Human Effect Matrix

The Human Effect Matrix looks at human studies (it excludes animal and in vitro studies) to tell you what supplements affect weight loss
Grade Level of Evidence
Robust research conducted with repeated double-blind clinical trials
Multiple studies where at least two are double-blind and placebo controlled
Single double-blind study or multiple cohort studies
Uncontrolled or observational studies only
Level of Evidence
? The amount of high quality evidence. The more evidence, the more we can trust the results.
Outcome Magnitude of effect
? The direction and size of the supplement's impact on each outcome. Some supplements can have an increasing effect, others have a decreasing effect, and others have no effect.
Consistency of research results
? Scientific research does not always agree. HIGH or VERY HIGH means that most of the scientific research agrees.
Notes
grade-c Minor - See study
The weight loss that occurs during prolonged strenuous exercise (in these examples, skiing) are attenuated with BCAA supplementation relative to carbohydrate. This is likely indicative of lean mass and/or hydration, and is not necessarily an anti-fat loss effect

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