Low Carb Diet Compared with Low Fat Diet — Which is the Winner

  • Usman 

There’s an endless array of diets that you can try out to help you shed that extra weight you hate. But how can one choose from the infinite options there are available? Surely it’s overwhelming.

One process might have worked for your friend and you are confused about whether it will work for you or not. If you have just made up your mind to lose weight and cannot seem to shortlist which one is the best suitable for you, then we are here to help you out. 

Today’s talk is about two popular types of diets: low-fat diet and low carb diet. We are going to discuss what they are, what they do and how they are different from each other.

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Low-fat Diet

The basic definition of low-fat diets is that they are designed to reduce your fat intake especially when it comes to saturated trans-fats and cholesterol. So, how does this diet work? The low-fat diet is based on the following principles.

Of all the macronutrients, fat is the most energy-dense. Each gram of fat provides nearly twice as many calories as protein or carbs. Therefore, by reducing your fat intake you can drastically reduce the calories you consume.

Certain types of fat can harm your cholesterol levels and increase your risk of heart diseases. However, not all fats are bad. Some of them are good for you!

We shall now look into the main types of fats you will encounter and their effects on your overall health. The fat that is unhealthy for you includes trans-fat. These are typically found in hydrogenated vegetable oils which, are often found in abundance in processed foods and commercially made biscuits and pastries.

These have been found to raise bad cholesterol. Unhealthy fat also consists of saturated fats. These are commonly found in meat, dairy products, and some processed foods. Saturated fats have been found to raise good cholesterol as well as bad cholesterol.

Now, unsaturated fats are divided into three kinds. Polyunsaturated fats, being the first, is found in sunflower and corn oil. Monounsaturated fats are in olive oil and rapeseed oil, and omega 3 fatty acids are found in oily fish and some plant foods.

Unsaturated fats are healthy fats that have been linked to lower the bad cholesterol and increase the good cholesterol of your body. Therefore, these fats can be beneficial against heart diseases.

To answer if the low-fat diet is healthy, then you might be surprised. Not all low-fat diets are the same and in the last 30 years, the concept has evolved to allow healthy fats which, are essential for optimal health.

For example, our body requires some fats for healthy cell function. Omega 3 and Omega 6 are vital for healthy skin and hair. Moreover, vitamins A, D, E and K tends to be found in high-fat foods.

For you to follow a healthy low-fat diet, you must include healthy fats combined with health carbohydrates and protein food sources.

The main question that arises is if the low-fat diet is for you? Following a fat-restricted diet can bring some health benefits. It can help you reduce your caloric intake and contribute to a lower cholesterol level which, has been associated with heart diseases.

However, low-fat diets have some limitations. For example, extremely low-fat diets tend to taste bland and, therefore, may lead to an unsustainable diet. Low-fat diets might tend not to work for weight loss. Recent studies show that a lower-fat diet is rated worse than high-fat alternatives.

If you are completely new to low-fat products then, you might be going in for a scam. This is because low-fat products tend to contain artificial ingredients that cause more damage than the fat they look to replace. Hence, checking labels in-depth is key for this diet to go the right way.

Combined with the sound nutritional judgment, you will be benefiting from making some changes suggested in this diet.

Low Carb Diet

The low carb diet wasn’t as popular as it is nowadays. Certain myths about it that made people assume it was not good for one’s health or that it was hard to keep up with. But then again, you cannot expect instant results.

Anything needs to be given time, effort, and consistency. Most importantly, don’t start a low carb diet without medical supervision. People who are trying to lose weight or maintain it find this diet to be effective, as you refrain from starving yourself. This diet is recommended to people who are diabetics as well.

A lot of people who want to lose weight before some life-changing event but most of you don’t exactly know what it is. So let’s begin by giving you an overview.

Let’s begin by explaining what low carb is. It is referred to be a diet that is less than 70g of carbohydrates a day. It’s meant to limit your carb intake. Low carb diets call for a reduction in carbohydrates so, you would have to avoid foods such as bread, rice, and grains.

You must also avoid foods high in sugar. While on a low carb diet, you try to substitute these foods with foods that are high in protein, fiber, and fat. Now let’s look at how carbohydrates function in your body in general.

Foods such as bread, soft drinks, and potatoes contain starch and other carbohydrates, which are chains of glucose molecules that are easily broken down to be used by the body for energy.

These glucose molecules are the body’s favorite source of energy and spend time circulating in the blood until they are given entry into the cells by insulin. Insulin is a hormone secreted by the pancreas and functions like a key to allow glucose into the cells to be used for energy.

Now the more carbs we eat, the more glucose there is in the blood, and the more insulin is secreted to help glucose be used for energy by the cells. But if the body is unable to use all these glucose molecules, they get converted to triglycerides otherwise known as fat molecules that get stored in your muscle cells.

 Therefore, eating excess carbohydrates, especially in the form of sugar, can contribute to fat production in the body causing weight gain and other harmful effects in the body.

Now when it comes to low carb diets, reducing the amount of starch in the diet results in a decreased amount of glucose in the blood. This tells the pancreas that not a lot of insulin is needed, reducing blood sugar insulin levels as well.

The body is then forced to use its existing energy sources, such as its fat stored for energy production. These fat molecules can be converted into molecules such as ketone bodies, which are used for energy in the cells through a process known as dietary ketosis. So, essentially low carb diets cause you to burn fat sources instead of building fat stores.

It’s important to consider the benefits and the risks involved with low-carb diets. One significant benefit is that decreasing carb intake reduces blood sugar levels, decreases blood pressure, reduces the amount of fat and triglycerides in the blood as well as boost levels of HDL cholesterol (the good cholesterol).

 Studies show these effects proven effective in improving and preventing conditions such as metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and obesity.

Additionally, low-carb diets result in mainly fat loss from the belly area and around the liver which is known as visceral fat. This loss of visceral fat can be greatly beneficial as it’s the type of fat that can lead to inflammation and disease.

However, there are also some risks that low carb diets can cause. Low carbohydrate intake forces the body to switch to using ketone bodies as a source of energy instead of glucose.

High ketone levels can lead to ketogenic acidosis where your blood increases in acidity and can lead to symptoms such as headaches and fatigue.

Low fat diet versus Low carb diet — which is better?

Picking the ideal way to lose weight has now become a proper job because of today’s obesity problem. So to wonder if a low carb diet is right for everyone, or is their merit to a low-fat diet, is only sane!

Which is why we are going to talk about a few pieces of research (out of a ton) that will help you get a better grip at the two.

Researches indicate that individualized genotype-based weight loss techniques or baseline insulin secretion can favor people trying to lose weight more than standardized diets. Three genes essential to fat and carb metabolism are referred to by genotype patterns.

Around 600 obese individuals have been tracked in a recent randomized clinical trial for weight loss variations. 40 percent of the participants had the genotype that was receptive to low-fat while the other 30 percent of the participants were reactive to low-carb genotype. In a year, the two groups of genotypes had reduced 5-6 kilograms.

There was no substantial difference in weight loss between low-fat and a low-carb diet. Diet impacts on positive weight loss were not predicted by unique genotype variations and insulin secretion.

study conducted looked at 132 individuals with severe obesity who were assigned to adopt a low-carb diet or a low-fat diet. They found that the low-carb diet group lost, on average, 5.9kgs whereas, the low-fat group lost approximately 1.9kgs. This concluded that the low-carb diet can be more of an effective short-term weight loss strategy. 

Another study was done on 53 healthy and obese females who were randomly assigned to low-fat or low-carb diets. The females in the low-carb diet lost significant amounts of weight. Not only that, but there were also reductions in their blood triglycerides which means that there were improvements in their cardiovascular health. 

Whichever diet you choose to follow, the key to be successful with your weight loss is to follow a healthy diet strategy, and work with whatever helps you in the long term.

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Muhammad Usman

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