Scientific Research on Carbohydrate Concentration

Concentrating Carbs in a Single Meal Works

A recent (April 7, 2011) peer-reviewed journal article describes a new clinical study which has confirmed that concentrating one’s carbs in a single meal does have major health benefits. A team of scientists from the Institute of Biochemistry and Food Science of The Hebrew University of Jerusalem recruited 78 police officers with body mass indices greater than 30 (i.e., they were obese); these volunteers were randomly divided into two groups. Each group was asked to eat a low calorie diet (1300-1500 calories daily). But one of the groups was required to consume almost all of their day’s carbohydrates at dinner, whereas the other group ate carbohydrates throughout the day. The scientists then monitored these two groups over the next 180 days. (The article can be found at here.)

The Israeli scientists reported that the group concentrating its carb intake at dinner achieved better results in a number of respects: Reductions in body weight, abdominal circumference, and fat mass were greater. Those who concentrated their carbs had lower hunger scores and greater reductions in a number of key risk factors, including fasting glucose, average daily insulin level, insulin resistance, total and LDL-cholesterol, C-reactive protein (CRP), tumor necrosis factor-alpha and interleukin-6. And the carb-concentrated group achieved greater increases in HDL cholesterol and in adiponectin, a health-protective hormone produced in fat tissue.

The authors suggest that this strategy of carb concentration would likely also be beneficial for non-obese individuals afflicted with insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome.

Readers of the Heller’s Carbohydrate Addicts Diet, first published in 1991, will see, on page 43 of the Signet paperback, that the Hellers also did an (unpublished) experiment of this kind examining the impact of dietary carbohydrate distribution on diet effectiveness. They reported that when the carbohydrates were “confined to one meal”, the experience of hunger and the degree of weight loss were both improved, in carbohydrate addicts and non-addicts alike. They found that increased frequency of daily carb-rich meals correlated with greater hunger and cravings, and lesser weight loss. Conversely, less hunger and fewer cravings as well as significantly greater weight loss resulted from consuming only one carbohydrate-rich meal per day. They believed that the cause was:

  1. Lowered insulin production and/or release.
  2. An increase in receptor sites (due to the decrease in insulin), with an accompanying increase in the rate at which insulin is removed from the blood.