Is weight loss associated with Low-Carbohydrate and low-fat diet?
by Reuben Kinyanzwii
May 11, 2018
Does low intake of carbohydrate and fat diets reduce weight?
The endless array of diets that claim to help shed weight tend to fall into two categories, low carbohydrates, and low fats. Some companies also claim that genetics can help define which food is better for which people.
For us to understand the contribution of these diets to weight loss, there are a few facts we need to know.
Overweight Vs Obesity
Basic Metabolic Index (BMI), an indirect measure of body fat based on the relative weight and height of individuals, and is used to determine whether one is overweight or obese.
For young children and teenagers aged (2-20), BMI is interpreted relative to age and sex. However, adults 29 years and older, the standard weight status categories similar to all ages and gender is used.
A BMI between25-30 is termed overweight for people 18 years and older, whereas people with a BMI of 30 and above are classified as obese.
Hypertension and diabetes
According to the American Heart Association, hypertension affects one in three adults in the US. Medication taken for the control of hypertension has proven to induce a slight reduction in weight but does not promote weight loss.
In 2007, Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Trenton, N.J. as a diabetic drug that could reduce blood sugar levels and also aid in significant weight loss.
Insulin resistance and sensitivity
It has been widely believed that insulin tolerance and sensitivity affects the way people adhere and respond to diets. Insulin sensitivity is a body mechanism that determines the effects of insulin on the body. While losing weight can significantly improve or completely reverse insulin resistance, losing weight with insulin resistance may be difficult due to high insulin levels that result in storage of more of fats in the body.
Are low fat and low carbohydrate diet associated with insulin and genetics?
Taking all the above factors into consideration, a 12-month study by Stanford University sought to determine the relationship between low-fat diet and low-carbohydrates and weight loss on healthy adults in association with their genotype pattern or insulin secretion.
The research participants in this study were randomly allocated into two arms; the low fats and the low carbohydrates diet group. They also undertook a yearly instructional and follow up sessions in order to adhere to the prescribed diet.
Following the phenomenally well-designed study, the subjects changed their diets with respect to their assigned group. The findings were astounding, there was no marked difference in weight loss between the two diets, the average weight loss for the low carbohydrate was 13 pounds compared to 11.5 in the low-fat group.
Are outcomes for insulin sensitivity and genetic predisposition similar?
There was no significant association between weight loss and those who are insulin sensitive. It didn’t matter whether or not one secreted insulin. Also, genetic predisposition didn’t indicate those on a fat diet would do better in weight loss than those in carbohydrate diet.
Interestingly, looking at the individual performance for the different diets group, similar curvature range of response was noted for both diets, from lots of weight loss to little weight gain.
Processed food Vs home food.
Avoiding processed foods, to making meals at home and consuming more whole foods are some of the recommendations drawn from this study that could eventually lead to weight loss.
Given the study did not investigate the effectiveness of instructions to study participants, it is worth noting that future instructive support on diet could substantively aid in weight loss.
Could counting calories hold the key to weight loss?
Since this particular study did not investigate the unimportance of calories, it would be difficult to state the importance of added sugars to weight gain. Another possibility towards weight loss could be quantifying the number of calories one might need to consume for carbohydrate and fat diets.
Is fat diet superior to carbohydrate in shedding weight?
The superiority of fat diet over carbohydrate diet cannot be overstated. The converse is true because none can state the performance of these two diets at the individual level. Both diets may hold hidden benefits to those looking to shed a few pounds, though this study focused mostly on overweight and obese people.
Studies on Insulin secretion and genetics are less robust.
While there are numerous studies on the effects of insulin secretion and genetics on diet, this studies might not hold meaningful outcomes because they are less robust and weak in their design. It may be possible to discover in the future genes that make the difference in weight loss but this might efforts that could prove less fruitful.
Does instructive support on best diet contribute to weight loss?
Notably, participants in this study received significant instructional support on both diets, therefore findings from this study may not necessarily apply for those seeking to lose weight on their own at home. Moreover one should be careful to accept claims suggesting which test or diet is best for you.
Calorie watch is the best diet approach.
In the long run, successful diets are those that involve slow and steady changes and that which you stick to mostly may hold the key to losing weight. The simplest approach could be monitoring the intake of calories for processed foods and to ensure intake of not more than intended.
Good eating habits and eating disorders.
Counting calories is as important as maintaining a good eating habit. Sticking to a given portion of calories may not be sustainable and precise in losing weight, reading product labels, buying a food scale working out are equally significant. Eating disorders can also arise if counting calories become stressful leading to dangerous eating patterns and weight loss. Calories depend on how much the body needs.
CD, Gardner, Trepanowski JF, Del Gobbo LC, and et al. 2018. “Effect of Low-Fat vs Low-Carbohydrate Diet on 12-Month Weight Loss in Overweight Adults and the Association with Genotype Pattern or Insulin Secretion: The Dietfits Randomized Clinical Trial.” JAMA 319 (7): 667–79. http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jama.2018.0245.