Which is More Effective: The Low Carb or the Low Fat Diet?
Many people ask if the low carb diet is more effective than the low fat diet at losing weight. Others ask which is more effective at preventing heart disease. Still others want to know which is more effective at controlling their Type II diabetes. The answer to all these people is that the Low Carb diet is more effective than the Low Fat diet. The Low carb diet worked better for me than the low fat diet and has worked better for many others as well.
The Low Carb diet is more effective at controlling insulin, the fat storing hormone, than the low fat diet. It is the carbohydrates that you eat in your diet that convert to blood glucose which then requires insulin to counteract too much free floating blood sugar by storing it as fat.
If the question refers to “effective at controlling the “bad” cholesterol and subsequent fatty plaques in the arteries which lead to high blood pressure, stroke and heart disease,” then yes, the low carb diet does that too. Much better than the low fat diet.
If the question refers to “effective in reducing and/or preventing periodontal disease,” then the low carb diet is far more effective. Dental plaque is the mouth’s protective system for being constantly awash with sugar.
If the question refers to diabetes, then the low carb diet has been shown, in countless studies, to control Type II diabetes much more efficiently and without any medications simply because the low carb diet radically decreases the production of free floating blood sugar. There is evidence that the low carb diet also improves Type I diabetes. (What continues to puzzle me is why diabetics are put on a high carbohydrate, low fat and low protein diet when it is carbohydrate that creates increased blood sugar requiring insulin to correct it. Blood sugar corrects itself on a low carb diet with no need for corrective medications.)
If the question refers to the “reduction of cravings” then again, the low carb diet is more effective. Within one month of being on a low carb diet the physical agony of cravings will virtually disappear. That doesn’t happen on a low fat diet. In fact cravings appear to increase.
If the question refers to obesity, then the low carb diet is the clear winner in all the recent comparative studies of low fat versus low carb diets when it comes to weight loss. (The Stanford study, the Israeli study, the Masai study to name only a few.)
Losing weight is only the first step, maintaining weight loss is the long term goal. Which diet is the most effective in long term weight management? To date there are no studies of anything longer than one year so its hard to cite the research literature on this issue. Maintenance is extremely boring with no excitement associated with losing a pound or an inch. The critical issue involved in maintenance, in my own experience, appears to be a consistent approach with rare celebrations and falling off the diet. So many times the initial weight loss is the goal with no plans for the rest of ones life. Most people can’t maintain but there are the few who do not go back to former eating behaviors after achieving goal.
I can’t seem to find any clear research evidence that supports the low fat diet without a calorie reduced diet although I find a great deal of rhetoric and faulty conclusions based upon non-existent data. But that’s just my opinion.