Is the low-fat vs low-carb battle finally over?

It seems as if the world had split apart in two types of dieters: the ones claiming that cutting the fat out of the diet helps lose weight and the ones who believe that a diet low in carbohydrates is the key to losing weight. The winner was finally announced in a study conducted by the National Institutes of Health researchers.

The study included following 19 obese patients (10 men and 9 women) for several weeks in the laboratory, as they first were put on a weight-maintaining diet (50% carbs, 35% fat, and 15% protein), then on a 30% fewer-calorie diet: first cutting on carbs, then after a several-week break – cutting on fat.

The results of the experiment managed to finally resolve the conflict, as all of the patients lost more weight on a low-fat diet. Moreover, researchers have learnt that while being on a low-fat diet, patients’ metabolism has not changed at all, while on a low-carb diet it has slowed down, burning around 100 calories less (that is a normal reaction of the organism to preserve the energy).

The theory behind the low-carb diet is that cutting on carbohydrates helps people lower the insulin levels in blood, which in its turn helps burn more fat. While on a low-fat diet the fat-burning remains the same as usual. So why then did people lose more weight? Well, they got no fat from the diet to burn in the first place. As previously said, the metabolism does not change when on a low-fat diet, so patients kept burning fat as usual, while receiving no new fat to burn.

But how can this information help people on their weight loss program? The shortest answer – it won’t. Unfortunately, the conditions of the experiment are practically impossible to maintain in the real life. Furthermore, the amount of weight lost does not differ that much after all. What is important, state the researchers, is to cut down on calorie intake. A well-balanced diet that still includes fat and carbohydrates, but is lower in calories is probably the best option (just make sure you get enough protein).