The question has challenged dietary science for decades - is low fat or low carb better for weight loss, and which is healthier? Many people are confused about the best way to pursue a healthy weight loss program, and often resort to fad diets, diet pills and weight loss surgery.
A study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine analyzes two groups of weight loss participants, both placed on reduced calorie diets consisting of either low fat or low carbohydrate foods over a period of 2 years. Researchers determined that the type of food consumed is irrelevant to the amount of weight lost, but is much more important to overall health.
Weight Loss Controlled by Calories and Meal Timing, Not Food Type
In this study, people consuming the same amount of calories lost the same amount of weight, regardless of food source. Participants lost 7% of their body weight, or about 15 pounds over the 2 year time frame. The results are not surprising. Weight loss is fueled by many factors, including total calories, amount of physical activity, psychological mindset and the timing of meals.
One important fact that did emerge was that a low carb diet was healthier than the traditional low fat fare. Both groups of dieters benefitted from improved HDL cholesterol levels, with the low carb group achieving a 23% improvement compared with 11% for the low fat dieters. Additionally, blood pressure was reduced in the low carb group.
Traditional Low Fat Diet is Detrimental to Health
Weight loss is critical to the health of three-fourths of the adult population who are either overweight or obese, as it dramatically lowers risk of heart disease, diabetes, stroke and cancer. Equally important is how the weight is lost. Dropping pounds too quickly is dangerous due to the risk of toxic overload as fat cells are purged.
While the source of calories may not be a critical factor in weight loss, reducing carbohydrates has a significant impact on your health. Medical science has supported the low fat mantra for more than a half century based on flawed evidence indicating that fat is the source of cholesterol and causes arterial plaque and heart disease. Research has documented that just the opposite is true.
Cut Carbs for Healthy Weight Loss
Carbohydrates, especially from refined starches, baked goods and any food using wheat as an ingredient, causes dangerous fluctuations in blood sugar and excessive levels of triglycerides (blood fats). Triglycerides that are not cleared from the blood are a factor in the development of coronary plaque, as they're escorted out of circulation for storage as body fat. Reduce or eliminate junk food carbs and sugars to lower your future risk of heart disease.
There are many factors to consider when making the decision to affect a lifestyle change which will lead to healthy weight loss. Reduced calories from a well balanced diet are essential, as well as regular physical activity and the proper motivational factors. The decision to lose weight is an important first step, but be certain to adopt a low carbohydrate diet which will allow you to achieve your goal with optimal health.