Are you about to attempt a change in diet for the first time? There are so many to choose from out there, but perhaps the two most popular options are low-fat and low-carb. They’re both pretty straightforward: just eat less carbohydrates or eat less fats. Some people swear that carbs, which are considered the greatest enemy of dieters, actually helped them lose weight. While others claim that eating more fat has made them lose fat. So, whose advice should you follow? You can go with either, really.
In one recent study, researchers had 600 overweight and obese participants split into two groups to attempt these two diets. Those who took the low-fat route and those who tried the low-carb eating style all lost almost exactly the same amount of weight. Individual results varied, but the average weight loss was nearly identical.
Low-fat diets were once highly popular, compared to the current trend of high-fat diets or the ketogenic diet trend. The main complaints with a low-fat diet are that it doesn’t taste great and it’s less filling. Fats keep you fuller for longer, especially healthy fats. Plenty of them are some of our favourite sources of flavours too, such as cheese, nuts, fish, pork, eggs and milk. The theory behind the low-fat diet is that since fat contains nine calories per gram and carbohydrates contain four calories per gram, you can eat more by cutting back on fatty foods and eat more carbs instead.
Eating more carbs seems highly appealing. All that bread, rice and pasta? It still has some drawbacks though, especially if you’re eating highly-processed and refined sources of carbs, like white bread, soft drinks, pastries and sweets.
If you choose to try a low-carb diet, you’re likelier to lose weight faster, but it’s mostly water weight and there have been questions raised regarding long-term safety. Cutting back on carbs will result in your body taking from stores in your liver and muscle tissue. In the process, water is also mobilised, which accounts for rapid weight loss. The downside to this is, you can easily gain back the lost weight if you end your low-carb diet.
Carbs give us energy, specifically by boosting our blood sugar levels. An increase in blood sugar triggers the pancreas to produce more insulin, which will then rapidly decrease blood sugar and that leads to hunger. So, when you’re stuffing yourself with carbs, you’ll feel full faster, but it won’t last long.
The effectivity of a diet geared towards weight loss depends on a variety of factors
Furthermore, the most successful participants of the aforementioned low-carb vs. low-fat study credited their weight loss to their new relationship with food. They took greater steps in being more mindful with their choices, such as cooking at home more and opting for whole foods. Ultimately, not all diets work the same for everybody. It’s best to consult with a medical professional or a nutritionist if you are serious about going on some form of diet. It’s also important to keep both your expectations and goals realistic.