Low Fat or Low Carbs When Looking to Trim Down?

Ross Quade | Health | 3 Sep, 2015 | No Comments

Weight-loss diets are a dime a dozen in a society that’s always trying to find the fastest and most efficient way to shed a few pounds. Two of the most popular methods of losing weight are to either cut down fat or cut down carbohydrates. Even if weight-loss is not on your radar, you may be considering a low-fat or low-carb diet to be healthier. However, the question is, which one should you choose? There are downsides and upsides to any diet, and so it is important to know them before continuing with a diet that works for your lifestyle. Here is an overview of both low-fat and low-carb diets so that you can make the right determination.


Low-Down on Low-Carb

There is no straightforward one answer that defines what low-carb or low fat is, however, there are some overall guidelines. Today’s Dietitian, a magazine for today’s nutrition professionals, states that a low-carb diet usually consist of limiting carbs to 30 to 100 grams every day. Other publications like the American Journal of Epidemiology states that eating low-carb means keeping your daily calories to less than 45 percent from carbs.


Low-Down on Low-Fat

A study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine sites low-fat diets as keeping your calories to less than 30 percent from fat. This is equal to less than 67 grams of fat consumed on a daily basis if eating 2,000 calories a day. It’s very important though to keep in mind that it does matter what kind of fats you are consuming. It’s always best to choose foods that have naturally occurring fats in them while avoiding artificially created fats. Stick with food that contains monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats and stay away from foods that contain trans and saturated fats.


Which Diet is Better for Losing Weight?

This question may be harder to answer than expected. There are some studies out there that have determined low-carb diets to be better for weight-loss while there are others that site low-fat diets as better for trimming the waist. A study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology in 2012 found that both low-fat and low-carb diets leads to significant amount of weight loss if you can stick to the diet plan. At the end of the day, whichever diet you can stick to in the long-term that allows you to lower your overall calorie intake will be the best option for you to lose weight.


What Do Recent Studies Say?

There are some recent studies that suggest that calorie-to-calorie, lowering your carbohydrate intake works better than trimming the fat out of your diet. A trial using a small group of obese adults found that those who ate a low-carb diet lost more weight within a year than those who used a low-fat diet. On top of this, they were found to have more improvement to their triglyceride and cholesterol levels. Overall, on average those using a low-carb diet ended up losing eight more pounds and more fat mass than those sticking to the low-fat diet. Dr. Tian Hu, who is a researcher at Tulane University in New Orleans, stated that this could be because the lower levels of triglyceride increase the effectiveness of a low-carb diet.


Which One is Easier to Stick to?

It seems that people who follow a low-carb diet have a harder time sticking to it. In the study previously cited, the low-carb group was not supposed to consume any more than 40 grams of carbs each day. This is only equivalent to two slices of bread. However, towards the end of their study they were eating an average of 127 grams of carbs each day. Nevertheless, by switching out low-quality carbs for high-quality ones you can negate this problem. This means eating more vegetables, beans, whole grains, and fruit as your source of complex carbs instead of white bread and rice.


The Fiber Consideration

One of the most important things to get enough of when on a weight-loss diet is fiber. Eating enough fiber is proven to aid in weight loss, as it keeps you full for a longer period of time. On top of this, eating plenty of fiber has been shown to lower your risk of heart disease. Diets that restrict carbohydrates can make it difficult to consume enough fiber. Though, by replacing refined carbs such as pasta and white bread with foods that are rich in fiber, you can negate this.


Which Diet Reduces Risk of Disease?

Both low-carb and low-fat diets help weight-loss for those who are overweight, which means that they also aid in decreasing the risk of disease. That being said, low-carbohydrate diets can lower the risk of disease more than low-fat ones. One study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology discovered that low-carbohydrate diets decreased cholesterol levels more than those diets that were low fat. On top of this, low-carb diets have been found to benefit people that have diabetes more than a low fat one, as it helps in the control of blood sugar levels.


So Which Diet Should You Choose?

After weighing the benefits and setbacks of both types of diets, the bottom line is that it is up to personal preference as to which one you choose. The best diet to stick to is one that you can stay with for the long term. If your main goal is to lose weight, eating a diet rich in fiber, as well as high in protein is extremely important no matter the diet you choose. This will keep you satiated and make it much easier to lower the calories you consume. On top of this, it is best to supplement your diet with a regular workout regimen. However, keep in mind that if you workout, eating a low-carb diet may cause a decrease in athletic performance and cause fatigue. Whatever path you choose; make sure to maintain a well-balanced diet.


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