Sunday, April 5, 2015

Low Carb Or Low Fat?

Picture by USDA from Flickr
Which diet is more effective at losing weight? Low carb or low fat? There is so much written recently on losing weight so how do you sift through all that information presented?

Well, let me sum up a gold standard study done recently for you. This is probably a one of its kind of study done in a controlled environment where all subjects lived in a metabolic ward for six days during the study which allowed the researchers to strictly control their diets.

There was no exercise done during the study but all the subjects participated in both parts of the dietary trials after a cooling off period between the diets. The 19 subjects were young, obese but healthy men and women who followed a 30 per cent carb/ 49 per cent fat or 72 per cent carb/ 7 percent fat diet.

On their normal diets, the subjects consumed about 2720 calories a day. During this study, this dropped to 1920 calories. This is identical for each participant regardless of whether they were on the low carb or low fat diet.

The results were split. The low carb diet yielded greater weight loss, but the low fat diet yielded greater loss of body fat, which is considered the more important outcome.

If you like analysing numbers, the low carb eaters lost 4.8 pounds, including 8.32 ounces of body fat while the low fat eaters lost 2.86 pounds but lost 13.9 ounces of body fat. To sum up, the low carb eaters lost 46 per cent more body weight, but the low fat eaters lost 67 per cent more body fat.

As with previous studies, this study confirms that low carb diets show rapid results. This may be due to large amounts of water lost from the body when carbohydrates are limited. This loss may not represent a true change in body tissue. If not maintained, this low carb weight loss advantage generally disappears after six to twelve months.

The researchers reported that their data suggest that the greater fat imbalance is likely to persist with the low fat diet leading to more long term body fat loss than the low carb diet.

Most weight loss and metabolism researchers suggest that the goal of a weight loss program should be to maximise body fat levels while minimising muscle loss. Why you will probably ask? Body fat (especially belly fat) releases hormones and enzymes that lead to negative health consequences. Muscles on the other hand releases health enhancing hormones. And exercise excels at this.

More reason for you to lose that beer belly.


Hall KD, Bemis T, Brychta RJ rt al (2015). Is A Calorie A Calorie? Metabolic Fat Balance Following Selective Isocaloric Restriction Of Dietary Carbohydrate Vs Fat In Obese Adults. Abstact from 2015 Endocrine's Society 95th Annual Meeting and Expo. Poster Board THR-553. Session THR 549-580. Thursday March 5, 2015.

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