Low carb vs. Low-fat diets
There are plenty of stories surrounding these two types of diet, many people look to a low-fat diet to lose weight and help burn fat. Others opt for a low-carb diet to balance sugar levels in the blood, reduce hunger and increase fat loss. Therefore, you may wonder which is deemed to be effective for weight loss. Fats and carbohydrates represent macronutrients like protein, which is essential for proper brain development, nerve, hormone, and circulation function as well as healthy skin. If you are following a low carb low-fat diet it is important to choose lean protein which will help to increase satiety and make sure your body gets enough calories. While low-fat, and low-carb may work for weight loss in the short term they are essentially deprivation diets and could have short and long-term negative health impacts. Rather than focusing on specific diets, the World Health Organization recommends eating more plant-based foods, whole grains, and lean protein sources. Although they’re both meant to help you lose weight low carb and a low-fat diet are structured differently.
Low carb diet is often termed ketogenic, meaning that they significantly restrict carb intake to induce ketosis, a metabolic state in which your body uses fat for energy instead of carbs. This diet restricts foods like sugar-sweetened beverages, baked goods, candies, and sweets. Simultaneously, you’re meant to increase your consumption of protein and fat from wholesome sources like fish, meat, eggs, nuts, high-fat dairy, unprocessed oils, and non-starchy vegetables.
A low-fat diet involves restricting fat intake to less than 30% of total daily calories. High-fat foods and full-fat dairy are typically limited or banned. Instead, you are meant to eat naturally low-fat foods like vegetables, fruits, whole grains, egg whites, legumes, and skinless poultry.
In general, complex carbohydrates are digested more slowly and they have less effect on blood sugar than refined carbohydrates do. They also provide fiber. Refined carbohydrates such as sugar or white flour are often added to processed foods. Reducing the intake of carbohydrates has been linked extensively with weight loss. Although using a low-carb and a low-fat diet resulted in similar weight changes, dieticians say that finding a diet that you can stick to may be the most important factor for successful weight management.
Most studies indicate that low-carb diets are more beneficial for fat loss. It also shows that those who followed a low-carb, low-calorie diet experienced a greater reduction in total fat mass and belly fat than those who followed a low-fat diet. Also low carb, high protein diets decrease the feeling of hunger and improve mood compared with low-fat diets, potentially making them easier to maintain long term. Protein and fat have also been shown to affect several hormones that control hunger and appetite.
Low fat and low carb diet may affect other aspects of health in different ways;
- Low carb is more effective at improving the level of good cholesterol and decreasing triglycerides levels than low-fat diets.
- Both diets reduce short-term blood pressure levels.
- A low-carb diet decreases the effects of insulin in the blood.
- A low-carb diet is also associated with the reduction of triglycerides in the blood.
While more studies need to be done regarding the long-term effect of these two diets, studies have shown that low-carb diets can be as effective for weight loss as low-fat diets and may offer several additional benefits. Whether you choose a low-carb or low-fat diet, keep in mind that sticking to an eating pattern over the long run is one of the most critical factors for success with both weight loss and overall health.