Losing Weight: Low Fat or Low Carb - Which Diet Works in Reality?

Losing Weight: Low Fat or Low Carb - Which Diet Works in Reality?

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Scientific comparison: Low Fat and Low Carb perform equally well

If you feel too fat, you often try a variety of methods to get rid of extra pounds. Some rely on a lot of exercise, others on a strictly followed diet. It is particularly common to avoid fat or carbohydrates if possible. But what works better: low carb or low fat? Researchers from the USA have now dealt with this question.

How can you lose weight successfully?

To get leaner faster, many people often rely on nutritional programs that, for example, rely on low fat or low carbohydrates. But which weight loss methods are really useful? Scientific studies have repeatedly shown that low-carb does better than low-fat. However, a current study from the USA does not confirm this. According to the researchers, both diets are equally good. Another decisive factor for weight loss is another factor: a healthy diet.

Everyone needs carbohydrates and fats

For health reasons, low-carb diets are usually not a good idea, some experts believe. After all, carbohydrates are an important part of a balanced diet.

The German Nutrition Society (DGE) wrote on its website: “Fats and carbohydrates play the most important role in meeting energy needs. A whole food mix should contain limited amounts of fat and more than 50% of your energy intake in the form of carbohydrates. ”

Nevertheless, some people rely on reduced carbohydrate intake because they want to lose weight. Others tend to swear by reducing their weight by consuming less fat. But not all of them lose weight.

"We've all heard stories about a friend who went on a diet that worked out great and then another friend tried the same diet and it didn't work at all," said Christopher Gardner of Stanford University Medical School ( USA) in a communication.

“This is because we are all very different and we are just beginning to understand the reasons for this diversity. Maybe we shouldn't ask which is the best diet, but which is the best diet for whom. ”

Together with his colleagues, the medical professor examined whether the low-carb or low-fat diet is more suitable for losing weight. The results have now been published in the specialist magazine "JAMA".

Influence of genetic factors examined

For their study, the researchers put 609 overweight women and men between the ages of 18 and 50 on a diet for one year, divided into two groups: half of the subjects ate low-fat, the other low-carbohydrate.

According to Gardner, around 20 percent of participants had dropped out of the study due to external circumstances at the end of this year.

Since earlier studies had shown that people lost weight very successfully if there were genes in their genetic makeup that responded to the particular diet, the scientists determined which variant of certain genetic makeup the participants had before starting the study.

It was also determined how well her body was able to regulate blood sugar levels and whether this affected the effects of carbohydrate or fat reduction.

Subjects reduced their fat and carbohydrate intake

In the first eight weeks of the study, participants were told to limit their daily carbohydrate or fat intake to just 20 grams - as much as about one and a half slices of whole grain bread or in a generous handful of nuts.

After the second month, the Gardner team instructed the groups to make incremental adjustments as needed and gradually add five to 15 grams of fat or carbohydrates to achieve a balance that they believed would be preserved for the rest of their lives could.

All participants were advised to follow a healthy diet.

At the end of the twelve months, people on a low-fat diet reported an average daily fat intake of 57 grams, and those with low carb intake consumed about 132 grams of carbohydrates a day.

Gardner rated this as positive, as the participants' average fat consumption before the start of the study was around 87 grams per day and the average carbohydrate intake was around 247 grams.

Do not buy finished product crap

According to Gardner, the study participants successfully lost weight because the low-fat and low-carbohydrate diet was a healthy form.

For example, it is important to distinguish the "good" from the "bad" carbohydrates.

“A lemonade is low in fat, but certainly not healthy. Lard can be low in carbohydrates, but an avocado would be healthier, ”the message said.

“We made sure to tell everyone, regardless of what diet they were on, to go on the market and not buy any finished product crap. We also advised them to eat in such a way that they did not feel hungry or disadvantaged - otherwise it would be difficult to maintain the diet in the long term, ”said Gardner.

"We wanted them to choose a low-fat or low-carb diet plan that they might be able to follow forever, rather than a diet that they would give up after the study."

Other experts have also pointed out in the past that nutrition is basically about following a type of permanent diet with fewer calories if you want to reduce your body weight and then keep it.

Think more about food

After the end of the 12-month investigation period, the participants in both groups had lost around 5.5 kilograms - in both groups and completely independently of their individual gene type and their insulin metabolism.

However, there were enormous differences between the individual subjects. While some participants lost up to 30 kg, others gained 15 or 20 kg.

"This study closes the door to some questions - but opens the door to others," said Gardner.

The authors hope to find something in further studies that will enable a personalized diet.

"We have a lot of data that we can now use in subsequent studies."

Perhaps the most important result of this study, according to Gardner, is that the basic weight loss strategy is similar with a low-fat or low-carb approach.

Eat less sugar, less refined flour, and as much vegetables as possible. Rely on whole foods.

"On both sides, we heard from people who had lost the most weight that we had helped them change their relationship with food and that they were now thinking more about what they were eating," said the study author. (ad)

Author and source information

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