Any diet can be associated with weight loss; the question is will it leave you metabolically better or worse. There is still controversy about low fat versus low carbohydrate diets. After reviewing the literature and comments and conclusions of researchers, there is evidence to suggest that weight loss for the first 6 months is better in men and women on low carbohydrate diets than low fat diets. All conclude that there are no long-term studies on safety or efficacy of either low fat or low carbohydrate diets.
Having been an avid reader on diet and nutrition since medical school, I continually find the literature conflicting and confusing, however after years of clinical practice and reading the details and debates, a nutrient rich, hypoallergenic, diet of whole, unprocessed foods is healthiest. The studies demonstrate that in the short-term, low calorie, low carbohydrate diets outperform low fat diets in terms of weight and fat loss as well as lowering triglycerides, improving blood sugar control and insulin sensitivity and lowering C reactive protein, a biomarker of inflammation. These benefits are statistically significant, even when consuming the same amount of calories. The source of the calories has a metabolic effect.
There was better appetite suppression on low carbohydrate diets thought to be due to higher levels of the ketone-hydroxybutyrate and the low glycemic nature that may prevent transient dips in blood sugar. The increase in insulin sensitivity is thought to be due to monounsaturated fats found in olive oil and nuts. These are metabolic advantages.
Compared with a low-fat diet, a low-carbohydrate diet program had better participant retention and greater weight loss. This type of diet is considered an appropriate approach to reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes and can reduce inflammation, which is responsible for 75% of the degenerative diseases of aging. LDL levels were higher in the low carbohydrate group, however you can make this less problematic by reducing inflammation and oxidation and increasing particle size with the anti-inflammatory fats and anti-oxidant rich fruits and vegetables and dietary supplements.
The maintenance phase is key. Eating a Mediterranean style diet high in fiber and monounsaturated fats, lots of vegetables in a rainbow of colors, lean protein in the form of fish and poultry, and some low-glycemic fruit has been shown to be a very healthy long-term strategy. Combine this with balancing your protein, carbohydrates and fats, controlling portion sizes and getting an exercise prescription for health, weight loss and more, is a winning formula for long term weight management. There will be more to come on weight maintenance so continue to follow my blogs and subscribe to my newsletter and share this with family and friends.
Here’s to Your Health! Stay tuned for some new weight loss solutions and improving your metabolism to age gracefully and healthfully.