Is A Low-Fat Better Diet Than Low-Carb and Does It Really Matter?

Low-Fat vs Low-Carb. The Diet War Rages On.

A new study out of the University of East Anglia found that when people eat less fat they lose weight.

The researchers reviewed 33 randomized, controlled trials that took place in North America, Europe, and New Zealand.  There were over 73,000 participants in the controlled study including men, women, and children with a variety of health histories.

For at least six months, the researchers compared the waist circumference of those who cut back on fat in their diet with those who did not change their eating habits.  The results showed that the participants that ate less fat lost weight, and reduced both their Body Mass Index (BMI) and waist circumference.

A diet lower in fat can reduce waist size. Flickr photo by lululemon athletica

Researchers noted that none of the participants were trying to lose weight, and that the weight came off quickly and wasn’t regained for at least seven years.

Dr. Lee Hooper from the University of Norwich Medical School said that, “The weight reduction we found when people ate less fat was remarkably consistent – we saw it in almost every trial.  Those who cut down on fat lost more weight.”

Besides losing weight, the bonus of a diet that is lower in fats – particularly saturated – is reduced LDL cholesterol and a decreased risk for heart disease.  But, beware of manufactured low-fat and fat-free foods. More often than not extra sugar and sodium have been added to make up for the flavor that disappeared with the fat.

What Does The Study Tell Us That’s New?

The debate over which is better, a low-fat or low-carb diet, isn’t new. But it is still alive and well.  Most recently the focus has been on carb-reduction diets like Paleo, Atkins, and South Beach which are believed to be more effective in weight loss. The low-fat study from East Anglia may shift the attention back to fats.

Deciphering all of the research and deciding how to apply it to your own life can be daunting.  They key is to remember that there is one thing that is consistent:  If you consume more calories than you burn as energy, you gain weight.  If you burn off more calories than you eat, you lose weight.  It’s simple math.

Following a Mediterranean style diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein with minimal amounts of fat, sugar and sodium is the best for our overall health and weight management.

Following a Mediterranean diet is believed to increase longevity, and reduce the risk of disease.  The following infographic from Mediterranean-Diet.com shows which foods we should be eating more of.

Mediterranean Diet


Fats or Carbs. Which is Worse?

The real question is whether or not the fats vs carb debate is relevant? Arguing over which is greatest evil tells us we should be limiting both. The best way to do that is by eating whole foods that are naturally low in fats and carbs as show on the infographic above.

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