Which Type of Diet is better for Weight Loss: Low Fat or Low Carb?

DietThere are many types of nutritional plans – low carb, low calorie, and low fat – aimed at helping people achieve weight loss. People can choose from Keto diets, Mediterranean diets, fasting diets, and more. Making a choice is tricky because we may not know which diet work best for us or if the diet will work at all. One common question is: which is better: a low fat diet or low carb diet?

Medical News Today reported on a study by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine in California which explored one aspect of this “best diet” question – whether low-fat or low-carb diets are more effective. The study suggests that losing weight is about your overall diet quality and not necessarily about the type of diet you follow or genetic considerations.

The study involved 609 participants who were divided into two diet groups-low-fat or low-carb. Before they began, the participants took a DNA test and insulin test to determine whether the body performs better on a low-carb or low-fat diet. Half the group followed a healthy low-carb diet while the other half followed a healthy low-fat diet for one year. The participants ate different but whole, unprocessed food and also regularly attended professional health sessions aimed at long-term weight loss strategies. After a year, people in both groups had lost about 13 pounds regardless of the type of diet they followed. Unexpectedly, their DNA and insulin test results seemed to have no impact on their ability to lose weight.

However, a study published in the journal Cell Metabolism in 2015 reported that a low fat diet worked better for weight loss than a low carb diet. For this study, 19 obese men and women spent two two-week periods confined in a laboratory eating meals were formulated by the research staff to precisely meet specific diet prescriptions. The participants were required to eat every last bite of food. The amount of fat the participants burned daily was measured using standard research techniques. To calculate net body fat loss, the researchers compared the amount of fat participants ate on each diet to the amount they burned in order.

The authors, however, pointed out that while a low-fat diet burns slightly more fat than a calorically equivalent low-carb diet under controlled conditions, the low-carb diet can lead to more weight loss if it is easier to follow. Their recommendation is that the best diet is the one which you can stick with.

Regardless of which diet option works for you, the bottom line is to focus on good carbs and healthy fats like omega-3 fatty acids for healthy weight loss. Eat more mindfully, cook at home more often, and focus on whole foods. And remember that regular exercise is also important to stay fit and maintain your weight at a healthy level.