Which One is Better: Low Carb or Low-Fat Diet?

Over the past 30 years, there has been a controversy about proper diet composition. Losing weight needs experimentation. If you give it to your best shot and it is not working, maybe it wasn’t the right shot for you.

When you decide to lose weight, it is very easy to be tempted by diets plans that promise for quick weight loss. Right now, weight loss is a trend that drives people crazy about low-carb and low-fat diets. Both diet plans promise quick weight loss and a lot of people have succeeded in shedding pounds by choosing these diet trends. But the question is which one is better- Low carb or low-fat diet and which one should you opt for when trying to shed some pounds?[1][2][3]

Low Carb Diet:

A low-carb diet restricts carbohydrates, which are found in sugary foods, bread and pasta. This diet is high in protein, healthy vegetables and fat.

A low-carb diet focuses on fewer carbohydrates intake and a higher proportion of fat intake. This is known as a low-carb, high-fat diet (LCHF).[4]

How Does Low Carb Work?

  • A low carb diet limits carbohydrates to burn fat instead of sugar for fuel. This contributes to high energy levels throughout the day, allowing you weight loss and stick to your weight maintenance goals.
  • Insulin level in the blood reduces when carb intake is decreased. High level of insulin facilitates fat storage, and a low level of insulin contributes to fat burning.
  • When people opt for low-carb, they lose significant amounts of water from their bodies. This details the rapid weight loss observed in the first week or two.[5][6]

Monitor Your Food Intake And Habits:

  1. Foods to Eat:

    Take this meal plan as a basic guideline, not something written on stone.

    Eat

    Meat, eggs, vegetables above ground, fish, healthy oils, fruit, nuts, fats, and some tubers and non-gluten grains.

    Don’t Eat

    Sugar, High fructose corn syrup (HFCS), trans fats, wheat, seed oils, and highly processed foods and low-fat products.

  2. Foods To Avoid:

    You should avoid these six food groups and nutrients listed below:

    • Sugar: Soft drinks, ice cream, fruit juices, candy, and products that contain added sugar.
    • Refined grains: Wheat, rice, bread, cereal, pasta, barley and rye,
    • Trans fats: Hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oils.
    • Diet and low-fat products: Cereals and Many dairy products are fat-reduced but contain added sugar.
    • Highly processed foods
    • Starchy vegetables

Who Should Not Follow A Strict Low Carb Diet?

People can start a low-carb diet safely but to be taken care of in these three conditions:

  • If you are a diabetes patient and taking medication, e.g. insulin
  • If you are high blood pressure patient and taking medication?
  • If you are currently breastfeeding?
  • If you’re not the one belonging to any of these groups and don’t have any other severe chronic medical conditions, you’re set to go!

What Drinks Are Shot For A Low-Carb Diet?

  • Water is perfect, and so is tea or coffee. Avoid the use of sweeteners.
  • A good amount of milk or cream is fine in coffee or tea (but avoid caffe latte!)
  • The occasional glass of wine is OK too.

Health Benefits For Low Carb Diet:

  • Lose weight: Low carb diet makes it easy to lose weight without hunger, and not stressing to calories count.
  • Reverse type II diabetes: Low-carb diets help to reduce or normalize blood sugar, and thus beneficial to reverse type 2 diabetes.
  • A healthy gut: It reduces symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome such a bloating, diarrhea, indigestion, cramps, gas, and pain.
  • Reduce sugar cravings: Low-carb diet can often reduce and may eliminate cravings for sweets.

Bonus Benefits of Low Carb Diet:

Some health benefits by a low carb diet can be life-changing. It can lower blood pressure and improve risk factors for heart disease, better skin, fewer migraines, better fertility, and more.[7][8]

The Downside of Low Carb Diet:

It is a highly restrictive diet, often cut out whole food groups. Not only do people run the risk of nutritional deficiencies, but more restrictive diets are difficult to maintain for the long term.

The American Heart Association cautions people from following the Atkins diet because it is very high in saturated fat and proteins, which can cause harm to the heart, bones and kidneys.[9]

Before You Start:

If the low-carb diet helps you to manage your weight and you don’t feel deprived of high-carb foods. Hurray!! it may be the right diet plan for you. It’s important to notice that some studies have shown low-carb diets may be overwhelming and challenging to stay on for a long period of time.

Before beginning any diet, check with your doctor to make sure the diet plan you are considering is safe for you.[10]

Low-Fat Diet:

A low-fat diet is a diet plan low in total fat, cholesterol and unhealthy fat. A low-fat diet helps to reduce calories intake and improves cholesterol levels.

This diet plan provides less than 30% of total calories from fat, whereas a very low-fat diet plan provides less than 10–15%.

Good or Bad Fat: Which One To Choose?

Good Fats: These are the unsaturated fats generally present in avocados, oily fish and nuts. It is believed that these fats are useful for us:

  • Polyunsaturated fats: Sunflower oil and corn oil.
  • Mono-unsaturated fats: Olive oil and rapeseed oil.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids: These are mainly present in oily fish such as pilchards, salmon, mackerel and fresh tuna. Omega-3 fatty acids are also found in nuts and seeds, especially linseeds.
  • Bad fats: These are saturated fats present in meat and dairy products. Bad fats also referred to as hydrogenated fats which help to increase the shelf life and taste of processed foods. Hydrogenated fats present in the form of trans fat found to be harmful to the body.
  • Trans fats: These are the vegetable oils which are processed to make them hard so that they are easy to use in food. They are mainly used in processed foods, and commercially made cakes, pastries and biscuits. Trans fats are usually bad for you and no place in a healthy diet.
  1. Foods to Eat in Low Fat Diet:

    • Whole grain food: Oats and higher fibre versions of pasta, bread and rice.
    • Lean meats: Skinless chicken and turkey
    • Whitefish
    • Reduced-fat dairy: Skimmed milk and low-fat cheese and yoghurt
    • Vegetables and fruits
    • Lentils
  2. Foods to Avoid in Low Fat Diet:

    Grains: Chips, regular crackers, butter-flavoured popcorn and baked goods.

    Dairy: Whole milk, 2% milk, and yoghurt and ice cream made with whole milk Half and half creamer, whipping cream, and half cream Cheese, sour cheese, and cheese cream

    Meats and Proteins:

    High-fat cuts of meat (T-bone steak, ribs, and regular hamburger)

    Fried meat, poultry (turkey and chicken) with skin and fish

    Vegetables and Fruits With Added Fat:

    Fried vegetables or vegetables in butter or high-fat sauces (cream or cheese sauces, Fried fruit or fruit served with cream or butter)

    Fats

    Butter, stick margarine and shortening

    Coconut, palm kernel oil, and palm oil[11][12][13]

Health Benefits of Low Fat Diet:

Reduction of less-healthy fats such as artificial trans fats and saturated fats, linked to a high risk of cardiac disease good for overall health. Nutrition experts recommend a diet that limits saturated fat over unsaturated and omega-3 fats. This reduction in saturated and artificial trans fats, such as lean protein, veggies, fruit and nuts, also help to reduce blood cholesterol and blood pressure levels.

The Downside of Low Fat Diet:

While this diet can help you to lose weight and lower cholesterol, it may result in lowering too much fat out of their diets. Dietary fat such as unsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids is a vital component of a healthy diet too. But consuming them too little may lead to health risks and even overeating[14]

The Right Choice: Low Carb or Low-Fat Diet?

Whether you follow low-fat or low-carb, you are going to lose the same amount of weight. As weight loss is all about to achieve a calorie deficit. For that, you have to keep an eye on your calorie-in and calorie-out. Recent research conducted at the Stanford University School of Medicine in California following any of the two diet plans will give you the same result.

  • To conduct this study, the researchers grouped around 600 adults who were overweight and following either a low carb or low-fat supervised diet. After a year, it was found that the people lost almost the same amount of weight whether following a low-carb or a low-fat diet
  • Participants were encouraged to not take processed foods like produce and meat prepared at home. Everybody advised limiting added sugar and refined flour.

The Bottom Line:

If you have a history of any eating disorder or suffering from the same, then consult your doctor before trying out any of these two diets plans. As it can cause harm to you. Diet is surely significant when your mission is to lose weight, but other things that are part of a crucial role and determining your progress would be the amount of exercise you perform, your stress level and quality of sleep.[15][3]

Summary

The era where obesity and weight have been a major concern among youth and society. Youth are more likely tempted to junk and unhealthy food items result in weight concern. A low-carb or low-fat diet, which one to choose and which one is better has been a sensational topic for debate. Several research studies conducted for the same has contradictory opinions like some studies say low carb diet preference over low-fat diet and some says opposite. It’s worth noting that you choose any of these two diet plans you are surely going to lose the same amount of weight if you stick to your diet plan. Whether the best choice is low fat, low carb or any other diet plan altogether, working closely and paying attention to all the guidelines, design and customization with a nutrition professional can help you to amplify results and boost your bottom line. A diet plan can only help you to deliver the desired result only when you are determined to follow them. Pay attention to your needs and wants before choosing any diet plan and stick to it to reach your weight loss and weight maintenance goals.

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