Low Fat vs. Low Carb: Which is Better for Weight Loss

I’m a woman and I have to admit that I am obsessed with my weight and so are all of my female friends. Collectively, I think we’ve tried every diet that has ever been publicised from the Atkins diet to the latest keto and paleo trend! I believe that the question on the mind of every weight conscious person is “what is the best way to lose weight?” If you want to know the answer, keep reading.

According to a study documented in the Annals of Internal Medicine the traditional low fat diet is not as effective for weight loss as originally thought. The study claims that a low carbohydrate diet is better and it also reduces the risk of heart disease. In the study, a group of obese adults were told to either reduce their intake of saturated fats such as butter, whole milk and meat or high carbohydrate food such as processed foods, sugary cereals and white bread. There were no calorie restrictions but both groups ended up cutting out between 500 and 700 calories a day.

The groups were monitored a year later, and it was found that the low-fat group lost an average of 1.8 kg and the low-carb group lost an average of 5.4 kg. It was also found that the low-carb group had lost more body fat, their cholesterol levels were better, and they had more lean muscle mass. The low-carb group had replaced processed sugary foods with red meat, cheese and unsaturated fats such as nuts and fish. Both groups combined their diets with exercise. Participants on the low fat diet combined less than 40g of carbohydrates a day, and participants on the low-fat diet consumed less than 30% of fat a day.

So how should people wanting to lose weight proceed with their diet? Should they reduce their consumption of refined carbohydrates and stop focusing on the amount of fat they eat? Let’s take a look at how we can solve this conundrum?

The Answer

Although the study was small, it was meticulously carried out, randomized and participants ate every 24 hours. Researchers claim that 80% of participants carried out the diet for the full year; however, there are always more pieces to the puzzle.

Shortly after the results for the study were released, another randomized six month diet trial found no difference in weight loss between participants on a low-fat diet in comparison to participants on a low-carb diet. Therefore, the authors for the Journal of the American Medical Association state that the most effective diet is the one that you stick to.

The problem with dieters is that they fail to understand the concept of living a healthy lifestyle. The diet industry makes billions of dollars per year because people are looking for a quick fix to their weight loss goals. Obesity isn’t a disease it’s a choice, no one can force you to stuff 20 honey buns down your throat in one night! If you are overweight it’s because you chose to eat the wrong foods, you exercise for three days and don’t see immediate results and decide that it’s not working. If you pay attention to the trends in the diet, health and fitness industry you will find that a new diet, diet pill or piece of exercise equipment will be advertised at the beginning of the year. This is because they know that people will make New Year’s resolutions for their weight loss goals, go out and buy what they see advertised but give up in the first month. The bottom line is that if you want to lose weight and keep it off you are going to have to live a disciplined lifestyle, and this is where the majority of people fail. Let’s see what the experts have to say about diet and exercise.

How to lose weight and keep it off

You can try all of the fad diets that come out year after year but the only way to lose weight and to keep it off is to combine your healthy diet with exercise. Here are some recommendations.

Diet

As a dieter you are well aware of the fact that there are thousands of diet plans, everyone and anyone thinks they have the answer to the best way to eat. However, the U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends the pyramid plan as a baseline for healthy eating. The nutrition pyramid is a structured plan for healthy eating and a balanced diet. It recommends that you consume a minimum of 3 oz of grains, low fat dairy products including cheese, milk and yogurt, five pieces of fruit and vegetables per day and low fat proteins. The diet recommends limiting your intake of oils laden with Trans and saturated fats. Protein sources may include low fat peanuts, almonds, dry beans and beef.

Fitness

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention adults should aim to get a minimum of 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate to intense aerobic activity each week. Such exercise can include bike riding, jogging or walking. If your exercise routine is more intense, you are only required to exercise for 1 hour and 15 minutes each week. Intense exercise can include running or playing a high intensity sport such as basketball. You should also perform a form of strength training exercise at least twice a week such as weight lifting, push-ups and sit-ups.

Final thought

As I mentioned earlier, the key to permanent weight loss is a disciplined lifestyle, without discipline you will fail. You need to have the will power to reject everything that you know is bad for you and exercise even when you don’t feel like it. Psychologists say it takes 30 days to form a habit, why not set up a healthy eating plan and an exercise regime and stick to it for 30 days. Those 30 days will be hard, but once you pass that milestone, healthy eating and exercise will become a way of life for you.

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