Lots of runners get started running to drop a few pounds, and running is a great way to do that. According to Livestrong.com, "running is the best exercise you can do to burn the most calories."
To run with enough intensity to burn calories, though, a runner needs carbs. "Those who choose a fad diet that lowers carbohydrate intake make a major mistake," says well known Chicago-based running coach Hal Higdon on his website. "That's because most fad diets fail to provide enough energy for endurance activities. Stay away from the so-called "Zone," "Adkins," or "40-30-30" diets. Their emphasis on low carbohydrates is merely a short-term fix to losing weight."
In a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine Feb 26, 2009 (and another more recent study), researchers found that people lost the same amount of weight whether they decreased protein calories, fat calories, or carb calories.
Runners who want to lose weight, then, should lower their calorie consumption by an amount reasonable enough to allow them to sustain regular intense aerobic activity, but not carbs. Runner's World, whose website recommends for runners a diet composed of 50% of calories coming from carbs, 25% from fat, and 25% from protein, says the secret is to "match your eating plan to your running habits. You need to know exactly when to eat those carbohydrate-rich foods that will give you the energy you need to run well."
To learn more about the Runners World plan for runners to lose weight, click here.