You might have seen or heard recently about a study out of Tulane University supporting the benefits of low-carb diets over low-fat diets. The study found that after one year cutting down on carbs not only resulted in more dramatic weight loss, but also was more successful at reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease than a traditional low-fat diet.
There have been many studies done comparing different diets with low-carb diets over the years. Many of these studies do show that people lose more weight when following a low-carb diet. The majority of these studies though only follow subjects for a relatively short period of time, from 6 weeks only up to 12 months. One study published in 2010 in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that at the two-year mark, low-fat and low-carb dieters had lost the same amount—about 7 percent of their initial weight.
Think about it. Have you tried a low-carb diet or know someone who has? You or they lost weight, right? But did you keep it off or gain it back and then some?
For most people, their experience on a low-carb diet is that yes weight loss happens, and fairly quickly, – mostly due initially to water weight- but as soon as the diet gets too hard to stick with and carbs are reintroduced the weight slowly but surely creeps back on. For most people low-carb diets are not feasible to stick with long term. They are very restrictive and often are lacking in vital nutrients, such as B vitamins, potassium, calcium, and fiber.
We get our calories from three basic nutrients – carbs, protein, and fat. If you almost completely cut out one of those three sources of calories then you cut overall calories therefore resulting in weight loss, no matter what the source.
Another question to consider is: Is weight loss your only goal or are health and longevity important to you too? Some of the healthiest, longest living people in the world get a majority of their calories from carbs. Granted they are not the stripped down processed white pseudo-foods that many Americans eat, but instead are high-fiber, whole, unprocessed, real foods. There’s a big difference.
When it comes to losing weight and keeping it off there is no magic answer that will work for everyone. Learning as you go and gradually making small changes is the answer, not quick fixes or “diets”. What works is finding the healthiest, most sustainable way of eating, coping with stress and emotions, and being active – for you.
Extremes are not the answer. Why do we have to go from eating doughnuts, drinking sodas and eating cheeseburgers and fries to cutting carbs almost completely? Moderation and incorporating healthy habits day by day that you can stick with is what is more likely to work to not only get the weight off, but keep it off long term.