Low-Fat vs. Low-Carb Diet for Weight Loss

Nutritionists and dieticians alike have long debated whether cutting fat or cutting carbs from your diet will be more effective in losing weight. For decades, public sentiment has swayed one way or the other. Low-fat diets were more popular in the 1980s and ‘90s, while low-carb diets have risen in popularity in recent years. Should you snack on the mango smoothie or the handful of almonds? The whole grain bagel or the cheese plate?

Scientists from the National Institutes of Health sought to settle this debate once and for all. They found that foregoing gats is more effective than cutting carbohydrates in reducing body fat by conducting a rather unique and detailed experiment.

19 obese adults checked into an impatient unit at the NIH clinical center for two week increments. For the first five days of each visit, volunteers were provided a diet of 2,740 calories that was 50 percent carbohydrates, 35 percent fat, and 15 percent protein. For the following six days, they were given either a low-fat or a low-carb diet and asked to exercise one hour on the treadmill. The volunteers were then put into metabolic chambers, sealed, climate-controlled rooms hooked up to recording and analyzing devices for five days.

Researchers concluded that calorie per calorie, low-fat diets beat out low-carb diets. On average, participants lost 463 grams on the low-fat diet vs. 245 grams on the low-carb diet.

It is important to note, however, that all weight loss begins by reducing calories. In a statement provided by the NIH, dietician from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical center Lona Sandon said,

Reducing calories, no matter the source, [whether] carbs or fats, is most important for weight loss overall. If you decrease fat to create a calorie deficit, the body will use stored carbs for energy until those stores are used. Then it will take from fat stores. If you reduce carbs for a calorie deficit, the body will use up the stored carb energy and then tap into fat sources. But that does not mean people should not pay attention to the type of calories they are getting. Quality calories from nutrient-rich foods are still the best.”

The consumer takeaway is simple: the most important part of dieting is not the kind of diet you choose when it comes to low-fat or low-carb, it’s whether you can stick to it.

Read more here- “Low Fat Diet or Low Carb Diet: Which is The Better Weight Loss Diet? You’ll Be Surprised” (Christian de Looper, Tech Times)


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Mackenzie is a Marketing Fellow and a rising junior at Villanova University. She is planning to co-major in Marketing and Finance and minor in Business Entrepreneurship. As a part of her studies, she has created and presented a comprehensive marketing plan to professionals from The Vanguard Group featuring Vanguard's exchange-traded funds.



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