Low-Carb vs Low-Fat Diets for Weight Loss

One of the hottest fitness topics today has been the curious case of low carb diets Hinging on the idea that restricting carbs can prove beneficial primarily through insulin modulation, the low carb craze grew even more popular as its weight loss potential was enthralled by nutrition experts and struggling dieters alike

Unfortunately, much of the current research don’t exactly have stellar praise for the low-carb agenda, struggling to outperform any other diet as long as protein and calories are matched Not to be rifled by the evidence, low-carb advocates disagree with much of the said research, citing issues like the studies were too short, there were not enough subjects, and/or conflicts of interest Along with existence of PRO-low-carb studies, which themselves have a fair share of conflicts, the low-carb narrative continues to truck along Fortunately for us, science is persistent A new study coming out of Stanford University and from the lab of Dr

Christopher Gardner and his colleagues might finally put the brakes on the low-carb hype This randomized clinical trial bolsters an impressive 609 participants Setting it apart even more is that the intervention was 12 months long with an impressive 79 percent participant retention rate And not to settle for knocking out two of the three issues of past studies, the research was also funded by the US National Institutes of Health AND the Nutrition Science Initiative, aka NuSI NuSI was co-founded by nutrition expert and prominent low-carb advocate, Gary Taubes

The mission of the study: Pitting low-fat versus low-carb diets Which one is better for weight loss? Out of the 609 subjects, 305 were randomized to the low-fat diet group and 304 were randomized into low-carbs Additionally, all subjects were stratified into different genotype groups The hypothesis is that each individual might perform better on a specific diet that their genotype favored Subjects were also given oral glucose tolerance tests to see if insulin production levels have any association to the effects of either diet

The subjects at hand were both men and women, on average roughly 40 years old, and classified as obese on the BMI scale (33) Throughout the entire 12-month intervention, 22 instructional sessions led by registered dietitians were given for each group The goal was to educate the participants on eating habits such as eating whole foods instead of processed food and mindful vs mindless eating As for the diet, each group were told to limit either fat or carb intake to 20 grams or fewer per day for the first 2 months Afterwards, they had the opportunity to add more carbs or fat but only up to the point where they felt that they can sustain the diet indefinitely

Participants were also given random 24-hour dietary multi-pass recalls, a program that is essentially myfitnesspal on steroids They also had blood lipid profiles and respiratory exchange ratio changes measured, which can indicate changes in energy metabolism favoring fat or carbs By the end of the study, the low-fat group on average consumed 57 grams of fat per day and the low-carb group went up to 132 grams of carbs per day And finally, the results: The little things first: As mentioned earlier, 79% of the participants, or 481, completed the entire intervention There we no significant differences in calorie intake between both groups

No significant differences in protein intake but low-carb did consume a slight 12 grams more per day No significant differences in fiber intake but low-fat did tend to consume slightly more due to the diet’s high-carb nature No differences in physical activity Low-carb group did see greater changes favoring a healthier cholesterol profile by roughly 5% Plus, no significant effects based on genotype patterns nor insulin level production

And finally, At the end of the 12-month program, the low-carb group lost 132 pounds (6kg) and the low-fat group lost 117 pounds For a 12-month span, the difference is not considered statistically significant nor clinically relevant And there we have it

After a rigorous 12 months, this study shows that there’s simply no practical advantage to either diet when it comes to weight loss But what’s fascinating about this study to me is the absence of counting calories That’s not to say that calories aren’t important Based on the participants’ reports, they were still achieving a calorie deficit of around 4 to 500 calories, inaccuracies not withheld But the fact that they didn’t count AND achieved a deficit ties the importance of the other factors in this study: creating a sustainable approach by having participants choose their OWN level of carb/fat restriction, and counseling them to make better food decisions and eating habits

Granted, to some, the final tally of 132 grams of carbs in the low-carb group wouldn’t exactly be considered a low-carb diet, but it’s still significantly lower than where the participants started In an interview with Examinecom, Dr Christopher Gardner, the lead author, explained the rationale of this approach The goal was to find the lowest level of carb or fat intake participants could achieve without feeling hungry

If hunger was an issue with lower intakes, that can lead to people jumping off the diet and revert back to old eating habits The goal was to create new eating patterns that were sustainable without thinking of it as a “diet” ADHERENCE was the goal and something so often ignored when it comes to dieting that needs the utmost attention I fully agree with the rationale of this study Stick with the plan that allows YOU to feel full, satisfied, and consume fewer calories

If that means fewer carbs, then great If that means less fat, then awesome as well As long as the foundation of eating more whole foods and less processed junk is in order, which Dr Gardner also suggests, then everything else, and everyONE else, is simply noise Except protein

Get your protein If you want a more in-depth look at this study, check out Examinecom’s amazing analysis and breakdown of it in the link below I also wanted to thank them for allowing me the permission to use their work to support this video You can also check out the study itself in the link below

Also, let me know your thoughts on this study and the whole low-carb/low-fat debate in general What’s your take on the matter? Feel free to also check out some of my merch and my patreon if you want to further support study breakdowns like this or all the other content you might enjoy on my channel I know this was a longer video, but as always, thank you so much for watching and get your protein!

Free Email Updates
Get the latest content first.
We respect your privacy.

low carb snacks

low carb diet drink

low carb recipes with chicken