Low Carb Vs. Low Fat: Which Is Better For Weight Loss?

Posted by Dave Tomar on November 05, 2014

Low Carb Vs. Low Fat: Which Is Better For Weight Loss?

In the battle against belly bulge, many of us are obsessed with the idea of cutting down on fat in our diets. Certainly, it’s never a bad idea to limit your intake of the bad fat that you find in fast food, sugary snacks and other prepackaged junk. However, current research suggests that fat reduction may not be the straightest path to weight loss. 

According to an article in Health Day, your diet may be far better served by a reduction in carbs. Research published in the Annals of Internal Medicine showed that adults contending with obesity showed far more weight loss progress by cutting carbs than fat during a recent clinical trial. The findings may be extremely valuable to those who are seeking a safe and healthy way to cut unwanted weight.

The Study

Researchers at the Tulane University School of Public Health in New Orleans compared the results for two groups of overweight adults. One group of dieters was instructed to cut down on fat intake while the other cut down on the consumption of carbohydrates. Participants in both groups benefited from counseling with a dietitian. 

Those in the low-fat group were instructed to consume no more than 30% of their daily calories from fat while members of the low-carb group were restricted to a limit of 40 grams of carbohydrates a day.  Members of both groups experienced some level of difficulty in keeping with their respective dietary restrictions. At the conclusion of the one-year study, 82% of low-fat participants remained committed to their diets whereas the same was true for 79% of low-carb participants.

The Findings

According to researchers, those who were assigned to the carb-cutting group saw weight loss that was, on average, eight pounds greater than that of their fat-cutting counterparts. Members of the former group also saw a greater reduction in overall body fat mass. These findings were consistent with the outcomes that many see when attempting any of the highly trendy low-carb diets currently in circulation.

What differentiates these findings, however, is that those in the low-carb group also fared better in a number of heart health categories than did their low-fat counterparts. According to the research, participants who reduced their intake of carbs also saw improvements in their levels of ‘good’ HDL cholesterol and triglycerides. Measures of both types of blood fat may have a strong correlation to one’s long-term health outlook. 

The Implications

Nutritionists and health professionals have expressed concern over the rising uptake of low-carb diets, driven by the concern that the resulting weight loss might not be inherently heart healthy. However, the findings of the present study suggest that a low-carb weight loss strategy could actually carry more benefits to heart health than a low-fat diet.

Researchers offered a few possible explanations for this finding, noting that the overall more effective loss of weight could account for the better cholesterol and blood fat figures. Researchers also suggest that many participants may have offset the danger of insufficient dietary fibers by replacing bad sources of fiber (white bread, pasta, white potatoes, etc.) with good ones (fruits, vegetables, whole grains, etc.).

Though the study’s findings may offer some hope to dieters, researchers concede that the one-year study is inconclusive on the subject of long-term health prospects. This is why you are advised to consult a physician or nutritionist before you undertake any type of dietary plan on your own.


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