Study: Low-Carb Diet Irrelevant For Weight Loss In The Future

Filed under: Study — @ December 5, 2006

Eight generations of caterpillars may prove low-carb is for naught

The opponents of livin’ la vida low-carb are at it again and this time they’ve gone out of their way to be just about as absurd in their opposition as I’ve ever seen them when it comes to interpreting scientific research data in a way that attempts to discredit the Atkins/low-carb lifestyle as a healthy long-term option for weight loss and improved health.

A recent study supposedly showing that future generations of caterpillars placed on a low-carb, high-protein diet eventually begin storing fat while the bodies of the ones put on a high-carb diet actually adapt to the increased carbohydrate intake is being used to try to discredit low-carb.

Dr. Behmer found “surprising” results of caterpillars on the Atkins diet

Dr. Spencer Behmer, assistant professor of Insect Physiology from the Department of Entomology at Texas A&M University, in collaboration with researchers from Oxford University in the UK, The University of Sydney in Australia, and The University of Auckland in New Zealand, wanted to see what role diet would have on future generations of caterpillars in an attempt to extrapolate information that may be applicable to human beings in the future. Read the PubMed synopsis of this study by clicking here.

They split 400 Plutella xylostella caterpillars into two groups:

1. High-protein/low-carb diet
2. High-carb/low-protein diet

Each of the two sets of 200 caterpillars were provided with 100 blocks of “artificial food” comprising the specified macronutrient level for their particular group. Each of the groups were monitored for how they adapted to their surroundings while eight generations (equivalent to 160 human years) of the caterpillars were observed eating the food that was available to them.

“While one set of caterpillars lived on a South Beach or Atkins diet, the other 200 binged on a high calorie carbohydrate diet, like living on potato chips and Coca-Cola,” Dr. Behmer explained.

Dr. Behmer and the other researchers fully expected the high-protein/low-carb diet group to lower their body fat and be skinny by the time the eighth generation of offspring had matured. Click here to find out what they found in the eighth generation of the caterpillars in the study and whether the researchers conclude whether it can apply to humans as well.


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