Why low-carb is better than a low-fat diet?

We read and hear about new fad diets virtually every day, and many of us tend to be tempted to try out the latest “amazing” weight loss regimens immediately.

The truth is that one diet may be perfect for one person and yet completely unsuitable for another, so it is important that anyone who is interested in choosing the best diet and way of living for themselves to choose the one which has the best effect on their own individual organism, weight and wellbeing.

Even though everybody is different and every diet works differently for each individual, there are some general rules which can be applied to all people who want to eat healthy, lose weight and to retain a normal weight.

Possibly, one of these “general” rules about diets is that the low-carb diet can help a big percentage of people to lose weight and get into shape, especially people who suffer from type II diabetes, metabolic syndrome or are overweight or obese.

And even though nutritionists, doctors and dieticians will often prescribe people with these conditions to follow a low-fat diet, there is, in fact, scientific proof that the low-carb diet is more effective.

One of the most obvious reasons why the low-carb diet is more effective than the low-fat one is that the former doesn’t require calorie counting and restrictions, whilst the latter usually requires the person to eat exactly controlled portions. But even without having restrictions, it has been found that people who are low-carb dieters tend to consume the same or even fewer calories than the low-fat dieters, because the diet itself helps reduce and control the appetite.

Another reason why low-carb diets are considered more effective for resolving weight issues and health problems related to excess weight and obesity, is the fact that people who are on a low-carb diet tend to lose more weight than those who are on low-fat diets. This is especially true for people who are striving towards quicker weight loss, and specifically to reduce the deep, internal fat in their bodies and specifically in the abdominal area, which is associated with type II diabetes, metabolic syndrome and obesity.

Also, eating a low-carb diet causes the increase of the “good” HDL cholesterol, as well as the reduction of the triglycerides and bad cholesterol in the body, which is crucial for improving the health, and reducing the risk of heart attack, stroke and other problems resulting from the clogging of the blood vessels. Quite the contrary, low-fat diets have been found to have either no effect on the triglyceride levels in the blood or in some cases have found to lead to their increase.

Overall, the ratio between the good HDL cholesterol and the triglyceride levels is a reliable marker for heart disease, metabolic syndrome or insulin resistance of the body. So, the low-carb diets which increase the good cholesterol and reduce the production of triglycerides could be better for the overall improvement of the health, and reduction of the risk of developing a serious illness.

Another positive effect which the low-carb diet has on people, who suffer from type II diabetes and insulin resistance, is the fact that this diet immediately leads to the improvement of the glycemic levels in the bloodstream.

Carbohydrates are converted into simple sugars by the human metabolism, and these simple sugars are released into the bloodstream, but unfortunately people who suffer from type II diabetes and do not produce enough insulin have trouble coping with such high levels of blood sugar. So, when a person starts eating fewer carbs, the blood sugar levels also are reduced. In fact, there have been documented cases, when patients have been effectively cured or at least their condition has drastically improved after starting a low-carb diet – and all this just in a matter of weeks and months.

Another important reason why low-carb diets tend to be better and more effective than the low-fat diets, is the fact that the lower-carb diets are usually much easier to follow than the other ones, and thus more people tend to stay on the wagon for longer periods of time, leading to greater success with weight loss, and increased health benefits.

Since eating low-fat in general means eating high-carb and vice versa, it must be noted that carbs and especially processed ones have more concentrated calories in them. And as we all know, weight loss from any diet results from lower or limited calorie intake.

So, given all the benefits which we have taken into consideration, we can safely conclude that the low-carb diets are more effective than other diets, especially the low-fat ones. Also, in general, whichever diet you choose and stick to will work after time. It is an entirely different question about how healthy such a diet may be in the long run and as a way of living.

While the low-fat diet was propagated as the healthiest option a few decades ago, now the low-carb diet is considered as not only more effective for weight loss, but more beneficial for the health. The total exclusion of fat from the diet could have been a big mistake and not such a healthy choice as people used to believe, as the New York Times reported, and as Time magazine reported – the total avoidance of fat for decades is totally misguided, and that the “war on fat” was unrightfully led for years.

In fact, the latest studies actually show that higher-fat and higher-protein diets can be more beneficial for the wellbeing and overall health, and that the US Government recommendation for a healthy diet consisting of: 45-65% carbohydrates, 20-35% fat and 10-35% protein could not be that recommendable.


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19 thoughts on “Why low-carb is better than a low-fat diet?

  1. The “calories-in, calories-out” theory is perhaps the single most stubborn roadblock to the advancement of public health. It is simple to understand, easy to apply in daily life, and… fundamentally flawed.

  2. A recent report of Krauss et al. (AJCN, 2006) separates the effects of weight loss and carbohydrate restriction. They clearly confirm that carbohydrate restriction leads to an improvement in atherogenic lipid states in the absence of weight loss or in the presence of higher saturated fat. In distinction, low fat diets seem to require weight loss for effective improvement in atherogenic dyslipidemia.


  3. Diet and weight loss, as we use those terms, do they mean the same?
    Diet can mean “what I regularly eat” as in “a vegetarian diet”. But when someone says “I’m on a diet” they usually mean that they are (temporarily) changing what they eat with the goal of loosing weight.
    If health is their goal, the usual expressing is not “on a diet”, but “changing my diet”.

  4. If you you want to lose weight and be healthy your diet has to change and you have to exercise, and by exercise I don’t just mean walking the track. I’ve read dozens of these articles, all titled similarly but with different numbers, and they all neglect to inform that EVERYONE is on a diet.

    From from birth to death, you are on a diet. The difference is what it comprises. There is no question about the negative effects of trans fats and you should always go for unsaturated fats. Fats are a major problem and healthy diets should keep them at low, not miniscule, but low levels. Avoid pills, surgeries, if you can. Stop looking for excuses to keep bad habits.

  5. Everything in moderation is my motto. Avoid processed foods, try to keep it as close to how it was originally and don’t mess with it too much. But every once in a while just kick back, open a bag of chips, order a pizza, pick up a bucket of original recipe and wash it all down with a beer. Then next day, get your ass to the gym.

  6. Just please go easy on the artificial sweeteners. Tricking your body into thinking it’s getting extra calories is never a good idea. Our bodies can manage a little aspartame but in large quantities, this stuff is basically poison. If you’re eating & drinking the same stuff every day, it may be time to try something new for a while.

    1. The way I see it, artificial sweeteners tell your body that you’ve eaten something sweet and so your body releases insulin as it’s meant to do. Then since you have insulin floating around with no sugars to work its magic on, you end up eating things to get it out of your bloodstream. Let’s face it, you’re probably not grabbing an apple but whatever happens to be around. That’s one reason why diet drinks don’t work. I’ll drink one maybe if it’s the only option and I’m thirsty but otherwise they taste like shit and don’t offer me any tangible reward.

  7. Food is a tool, nothing more. It brings nutrition and health benefits if used correctly. It brings disease and pain if not used correctly. Traditional Chinese Medicine has been using food and herbs to “cure” various problems for centuries.

    Want to gain weight, eat this, don’t eat that. Want to lose weight, same concept, different foods. Arthritis, try these anti-inflammatory foods and beverages. Etc.

  8. Eat your veg. Don’t eat processed garbage on a regular basis. Avoid soft drinks. Use honey and brown sugar as sweeteners. Don’t skip meals. Make your own desserts. Eat with loved ones, at the table, not in front of the telly. Walk as much and as intensely as you can. Develop regular sleep patterns if possible.

    There. No flowery language. Nothing to sell.

  9. Fat, generally, is good; the problem is that modern, grain-fed meat is imbalanced with respect to Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, meaning that we don’t get the same benefit from animal fats as we would if eating more naturally-sourced meat.

    Regardless, though, diets high in natural animal fats and low in highly-processed carbs are just generally better for the human body; carbs are stored as fat, not fats, since the body metabolizes protein and fat before it metabolizes carbs.

    1. Actually the catabolism of sugars start in the mouth (by the enzyme amylase), which is way before proteins and fats. The catabolism of fats start in the stomach.

      Turning carbs into fat is basically the last resource the body takes, because the first move to get rid of high concentrations of sugar in the blood is to turn it into glycogen, for an easier recovery. If there is still a lot left then the turning to fats takes place.

      1. Amylase breaks down starches, not sugars. It is the digestion of starches that begins in the mouth. Fats cannot really be digested until they reach the small intestine and are exposed to bile acids, which emulsify them. Proteins begin digestion in the stomach.

      1. I certainly would if I could afford it. Right now we just find good deals on the best meat we can afford. I’m really interested in trying U.S. Wellness Meats when we can swing it, but a single income constraineth me!

      2. Hunting deer. Or buying a grass fed cow with a few other families. Put it in the freezer.

        The other way to get the balance of Omega 3 and 6’s back in balance is to stop using corn and soy oil and margarine for cooking. Start using butter or olive oil again. Avoid eating at restaurants a lot because they usually cook with omega 6 oils. Certain nuts are also high in omega 3’s.

  10. Grass fed beef and pork along with pastured eggs and raw dairy are the best options, but you can’t always get them. Fish can help boost the omega 3 content of your diet. Plant bases sources of omega 3s include chia and flax.

  11. Carbohydrates are much easier to burn down and be used than fats. Carbs are a fast way to get energy. Instead, fats are a form of storage and as much as they are necessary, too much can become a problem (glucose and other forms of sugar can be stored too).

    Even though I don’t disagree that fats in general are necessary within the normal amounts, the structure of saturated fats makes them harder to break down and get rid off and they offer basically the same advantages as unsaturated fats.

    Even if they don’t damage your brain or even help it, there are other organs that we have to take care of too.

    1. Unless you’re an athlete and your days consist of high intensity exercise, there’s really no need to fill up on carbs. And once you become keto-adapted it’s really not necessary at all.

      More time is required to break down fat (that’s not a bad thing), but your body can put it to use rather easily, since we had to adapt pathways to store and access fat during our evolution. That’s why you have so little space to store glycogen; glucose isn’t as important as is commonly thought.

    2. It’s wrong to say that SFAs are harder to burn. Their oxidation is a repetitive shuttle that re-uses the same enzymes, whereas sugars (and unsaturated fats) must go through a series of different reactions with different requirements. The body stores energy, where possible, as SFA because this is the most efficient fuel for cells with mitochondria (which is most of them).

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