You've probably heard before that fat is bad for you. But you've probably also heard that carbs are, too. Maybe that's the reason why low-fat and low-carb diets are becoming so popular.
But which one really is the best weight loss solution? And which one is the healthier option? Let's compare the two diets to find out.
Some research suggests that people who cut fat lose more body fat than individuals who cut carbohydrates. A study by the National Institutes of Health said that people on low-fat diets experienced a bigger difference in the amount of fat they were eating and the fat that their bodies were burning.
While an excessive amount of fat in your diet may lead to health problems, consuming the right kind of fat is necessary for your body to function properly.
In fact, unsaturated fat helps aid healthy metabolic functioning, regulate vital organs, and maintaining good cholesterol levels. Fat also helps slow the rate at which sugar is absorbed into your bloodstream. The result is that you feel full longer and don't have as many sugar spikes.
Often, when people cut fat, they focus on cutting all kinds of fat – including the good stuff like olive oil, avocados and nuts.
A low-carb diet restricts your consumption of carbs such as sugars and starches (like pasta and bread) while replacing them with protein and fat.
While reducing unhealthy fat is clearly good for your overall health, the majority of recent studies say that a low-carb diet leads to more pounds shed. There are many reasons why:
Of course, there are also some problems to a low carb diet. If you don’t properly balance your meals with protein, vegetables and vegetable starches, you could drop your blood sugar too low. Eating too few carbs and unbalanced meals can cause fatigue, decrease your athletic and exercise performance, and potentially cause hypoglycemia.
What's The Bottom Line?
While the majority of studies fall on the side of low-carb diets when it comes to losing weight, there are a few things to consider.
For one, you may prefer a low-fat diet if you want to eat a variety of foods (but in moderation). An effective low-fat diet includes whole grains, proteins, fruits, vegetables, as well as lean meat and fish.
Because carbs are an important source of fuel for your workout, low-fat diets may work better for someone who is physically active. And a lot of people have a harder time giving up carbs than they do fats.
That being said, you’ll probably experience more results on a low-carb diet, both in terms of weight loss and overall health. Many people who go on paleo, candida, gluten-free or other low-carb diets report having more energy and feeling stronger. There are also a lot of low-carb options at restaurants now, making it easier to follow the diet while still socializing with friends and family.
Ultimately, whether you chose to cut fat or carbs, you should always aim to eat a variety of foods, with a majority of your diet being wholesome vegetables. Keep your protein portions about the size of your palm and try to eat one cup of vegetables with every meal. You may also try swapping sugary snacks with healthy fruits even when you’re not on a low-carb diet.
Not ready to cut out fat or carbs yet? Start incorporating these healthy foods into your diet to lose weight and lower your cholesterol.