Which is Better: Low-Fat versus Low-Carbohydrate Diets?
A decades-old question for scientists, nutritionists, and dieters alike: which diet brings more success? Low-fat or low-carb? The quick and dirty answer is neither. Let's look at the skinny on the drawbacks of replacing a macronutrient group in either a low-fat or low-carb diet:
Low-fat diets, while supposedly working to prevent heart disease, often include a wide range of processed foods and foods high in calories. A diet consisting of such foods typically has high levels of sodium and insufficient levels of essential minerals such as magnesium and potassium. Not a good way to heal your body and restore your health.
Low-carb diets may be too high in fat. Plus, eating low-carb often causes a reduction in "good" complex carbohydrates that deliver much-needed fiber. Low-carb diets sometimes rob their dieters of energy because the muscles use carbs for fuel. Therefore, low-carb diets may be difficult to stick with long-term which can lead to an almost immediate weight gain.
So, there are drawbacks to both diets. Here's why:
One of the primary indicators of actual weight loss is a calorie deficit. It takes 3,500 less calories than the body needs to lose a pound of fat. Weight loss occurring due to restriction of one macronutriet or another hardly matters if you're eating too many calories. It's important to remember that weight loss can only occur during a calorie deficit.
Which calories are better? The better calories are those that come from real, whole foods. For example, a 2,000 calories-per-day-diet can look extremely different depending on the structure of the foods, not the macronutrient make-up. Pineapples are low in fat and high in carbs, but so are some processed snack cakes. On the other hand, nuts and avocados are high in fat, but so are processed partially hydrogenated and refined oils. Even if a 2,000 calorie diet puts a person at a deficit, they will still have difficulty maintaining overall health if those 2,000 calories consist of processed snack cakes and oils.
The best option is to consume a balanced diet of whole foods that consist of lean proteins and fish, complex carbohydrates like whole grains, non-starchy veggies, and fruits as well as heart-healthy fats like almonds and olive oil. A diet of "good carbohydrates" and "healthy fats" from non-processed foods can help anyone attain their target weight while restoring their health and wellness.
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