You’ve probably heard that if you want to lose weight you just eat less or at least go low-fat or low-carb. But a study published by Journal of the American Medical Association says a lot more to that.

According to the study either low-glycemic index or very-low carbohydrate foods are more effective for weight loss than low-fat meals, even when calories are the same.

Spartan Diet NutsWhat does that mean? Quality of the food matters more.

Moreover the researchers learned that low glycemic-index foods (with complex carbs but not simple carbs, like sugar) are similarly beneficial to very low-carb diets, but without the inflammation that can be trigged by the low-carb diets.

Dr. David Ludwig of Boston Children’s Hospital and his collaborators did the study. “From a metabolic perspective, all calories are not alike,” said Ludwig. “The quality of the calories going in affects the quantity of the calories going out,” he added.

Here’s the course/summary of the study according to LA Times:

1. Ludwig and his colleagues recruited overweight and obese adults ages 18 to 40.

2. The 13 men and eight women followed a 12-week weight-loss regimen that helped them shed 10% to 15% of their body weight followed by a four-week weight-stabilization phase.

3. Each subject was fed three different diets for four weeks at a time: a traditional low-fat diet (60% carbohydrates, 20% fat and 20% protein), a low glycemic index diet (with 40% carbs, 40% fat and 20% protein) and a very low-carbohydrate diet a la Atkins (with 10% carbohydrates, 60% fat and 30% protein).

4. At the beginning of the study and at the end of each four-week stint, the subjects were hospitalized for three days to undergo a battery of tests. Scientists measured their resting energy expenditure using indirect calorimetry, which assesses gases in the breath to calculate calories burned.

5. They also looked at all the energy burned by the subject in a day using stable isotope analysis, which examines how rapidly isotopes leave the body over days and weeks.

6. The researchers also screened participants’ blood and urine to record insulin sensitivity and levels of cholesterol, key hormones and other substances that are linked to a risk for heart disease or metabolic problems.

7. For all three diets, the rate of calories burned at rest was lower than before weight loss. But over the course of a day, the subjects burned more than 300 additional calories on average when on the verylow-carbohydrate dietcompared with the low-fat diet.

8. Subjects burned 200 additional calories on the low glycemic index diet than on the low-fat diet

What can you take away from this? If you really want to lose weight, have a low-glycemic index diet instead of low-fat or low-carb one.

Now what kind of diet fits this description? Enter The Spartan Diet.

The Spartan Diet is neither low fat nor low carb. It contains high-quality, non-industrial foods without simple carbs or junk fats. It’s not much concerned on the quantity or volume of food, rather the quality. It packs nuts, avocados, wild-caught fish and other fresh ingredients into a set of diet that can make you lose weight while not sacrificing the minerals you need to build muscle.