Weight Loss: Is A Low Fat Or Low Carb Diet Best?

If you are thinking about weight loss, should you do a low fat or a low carb diet? That is what’s on the minds of millions of people who are trying to shed some pounds for health reasons or just to be happier with their bodies.

Depending on where you stand on the weight loss issue, chances are you are trying to live a healthier life. However, things can be very confusing with hundreds of different theories and experts chiming in with the latest and greatest diet suggestions. In general, it’s all about reducing fat and calorie intake, when it comes to weight loss.

But how do you know if one is better than the other? A new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association this week seems to indicate that cutting your carbohydrate or fat intake can significantly increase weight loss results, according to CNN.

When a person decides to go on a diet, the first thought is to either reduce fat or carbohydrate intake. We all know that too much fat, well, makes us fat and carbs turn into sugar, which in turn also make us fat. So, what should we do when it comes to going on a diet?

This new weight loss study looked at previous studies on the matter, which included 7,286 overweight and obese adults. The subjects followed a wide array of diets including the low-carb Atkins, South Beach or Zone diets, the balanced “Biggest Loser,” diet, Jenny Craig, Nutrisystem, Volumetrics or Weight Watchers diets, and the low-fat Ornish or Rosemary Conley diets. Participants were required to report their body weight or body mass index before and after the diets.

After six-months, the individuals on low carb and low fat diets lost similar amounts of weight, around 18-pounds. Comparatively, those on name brand diets saw a lower amount of weight loss.

According to study author Bradley Johnston, assistant professor of clinical epidemiology at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, in addition to watching what they eat, those who got involved in exercise and behavioral support (such as group support, counseling or seeking a registered dietitian) saw a bigger weight loss.

The study also suggests that after a year in the weight loss program, the individuals observed stopped losing pounds and some even gained some back. On average, the weight loss was 16-pounds.

Linda Van Horn of the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago argues that eliminating fat or carbs from a diet can have unwanted consequences, since you are doing without foods that “actually have a host of nutrients to them,” she said. Those on low-fat diets generally miss out on adequate levels of fiber, potassium, Vitamin C, and other phytochemicals, which are critical to good health.

With the recent focus on obesity in the U.S., more studies about weight loss are bound to come out in the coming years. The important thing to keep in mind is that a combination of diet and exercise will go a long way in shedding those unwanted pounds and living a healthier life. Always consult your physician before starting a new diet.

[Image via Shutterstock]