Low-Carb vs. Low-Fat Diets: Both Work for Weight Loss

low-carb vs. low-fat

There are tons of different diet programs to choose from, and they all promise significant weight loss results. In fact, a large section of our website is dedicated solely to determining which weight loss programs are the most effective. For the past few years, however, there’s been a very specific debate regarding low-carb vs. low-fat diets. Which diets achieve weight loss faster? Which ones make it easier to keep the weight off? Which ones involve eating more nutritious foods?

It might now be time to put the debate to rest, as two new studies show that low-carb diets tend to help people lose slightly more weight over time. However, one of the studies in particular reenforces what is probably the best piece of dieting advice: many different diets can be effective, but only if you stick to them. Low-fat or low-carb will make no difference without commitment.

Low-Carb Diets Are Often More Effective

According to a new study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, carbs have more of an effect on body weight than fat itself. Tulane University researchers conducted a year-long study including both African-Americans and Caucasians whose ages ranged from the early 20s to the mid-70s.

The participants were then split into two groups: those who would get about 28 percent of their daily calories from carbs and those whose daily calories would consist of about 40 to 45 percent carbs. Those who ate more carbs were instead on a low-fat diet, which allowed them to get no more than 30 percent of their daily calories from fat. When the study was over, the low-fat group lost about 4 pounds, while the low-carb group lost 12.

Researchers were not expecting such a large difference, but they did point to several other studies that have proven diets lower in carbs and higher in healthy fats can actually be beneficial in a number of ways. In fact, the low-carb group had better triglyceride levels, good cholesterol levels, and were even able to burn more calories every day.

Either Diet Can Work Though

While the difference of eight pounds is significant, it’s not exactly enough to recommend that every single person adopt a low-carb diet when they’re trying to lose weight. In fact, when it comes to low-carb vs. low-fat programs, there might not be any difference at all. According to another new study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association, both types of diets often end up having the exact same results. The study involved a meta-analysis of 50 clinical trials and 7,300 overweight participants. After six months, it was found that low-carb dieters averaged a loss of 19.2 pounds, while low-fat dieters averaged a 17.6-pound loss.

After a year passed, however, both groups gained back a portion of the weight. All participants averaged a loss of 16 pounds regardless of which diet they used. It’s crucial to note that this study only examined weight loss – it’s not currently known if the test subjects differed in things like blood sugar or cholesterol after dieting.

Low-Carb vs. Low-Fat Diets: The Bottom Line

Simply put, low-carb and low-fat diets can both get results. This is good news because it allows people to potentially choose between diets that will not involve drastic changes in their existing eating habits. At the same time, a dieter must be paying attention to other health concerns such as blood sugar and cholesterol in order to ensure that their diet is not actually doing harm to their body while losing weight. This is why it’s always best to diet under doctor supervision.

Lastly, never forget that any dieting effort is pointless without exercise. Regardless of one’s diet, this fact will never change: physical activity is the key to losing weight.

16 Responses to Low-Carb vs. Low-Fat Diets: Both Work for Weight Loss

  1. Mark Miller says:

    These are some really great points that a lot of people could benefit from understanding. Losing or gaining weight is simply calories in versus calories out. Individuals who are more active and perform endurance activities may need more carbohydrates in their diet, but either way everyone should aim to eat a mix of quality proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. Thanks for the article.
    Mark Miller recently posted..8 Experts Recommend Their 3 Gadgets Every Man NeedsMy Profile

  2. Scott W says:

    Really great tips for weight loss in general. Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in fad diets, and specific plans. Stick to what works with you, eat lots of veggies, and drink plenty of water. Cheers!
    Scott W recently posted..Choose The Best Foam Roller For You!My Profile

  3. Great article! We will be linking to this particularly great post on our site. Keep up the good writing.

  4. Ilona Miller says:

    I think the things you covered through the post are quiet impressive, good job and great efforts. I found it very interesting and enjoyed reading all of it…keep it up, lovely job..I will surely share this information on my facebook and other social sites…

  5. Recently I’ve been hearing a lot of high fat diets providing the benefit of burning fat instead of energy. Eat fat get thin. I don’t know that I even want to try it unless they are types of fats that are delicious to eat. Maybe if yogurt counted or something. From my experience low calorie diets work the best. Reducing the intake and increasing the amount of exercise. Gets the trick done.
    Adam Joshua Clarke recently posted..Adam’s Linking StrategyMy Profile

  6. Phu Nguyen says:

    Great share for weight Loss . Fortunate to hear your share. Thank you
    Phu Nguyen recently posted..My Opinions of the Rehband 7mm Knee SleeveMy Profile

  7. Arati says:

    One of my friends did Low-Carb weight loss diet. I noticed her loosing almost 5 kilo grams in a month.
    Arati recently posted..12 Secret Home Remedies To lose Weight FastMy Profile

  8. great post . thank you for sharing.

  9. Brooke Hill says:

    amazing tips for a natural weight loss, thanks for sharing!

  10. Debra says:

    Thanks for sharing!!! Overweight is not good. We need to have a reasonable diet: eat lots of veggies, and drink plenty of water. And exercise everyday
    Debra recently posted..How to Get Rid of Pool AlgaeMy Profile

  11. Terry says:

    As an aging man, you really have to mange your testosterone and estrogen levels as well. I still prefer just a balanced diet.
    Terry recently posted..What Causes High Estrogen LevelsMy Profile

  12. Sarah says:

    As a mom I’ve found it hard to shed those extra few pounds. I think I’ll try the low-card diet.
    Sarah recently posted..Phil & Teds Promenade Stroller ReviewMy Profile

  13. Rick N says:

    I’ve found the paleo diet worked best for me – high in fat and protein – low in carbs – especially sugar!

    It only too about 15 days of paleo + not drinking to see a serious reduction in weight and swelling all over.
    Rick N recently posted..Best Knee Ice Wraps Review and Buying GuideMy Profile

  14. JamesJ says:

    I’ve tried many diets and what always seems to work for me are the low carb diets – high protein. Most importantly, however, my best weight loss always comes from not drinking alcohol!

    I don’t drink a lot but I do drink a few glasses of wine with dinner 3-4 nights a week. When I give up drinking all together for a month or more I usually see significant weight loss.
    JamesJ recently posted..Air Deep Fryer vs Deep Fryer: Which Is Best?My Profile

  15. Nancy Bryant says:

    Interesting post! Most diets focus on calorie-counting and eating as much no fat/no carb diet. It’s good a research was done about this. Thanks for the share!
    Nancy Bryant recently posted..Fitness Watch – All You Need to KnowMy Profile

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