Low fat diet – is it the best choice?

November 12, 2012

Low fat diet – is it the best choice?

Since the 1970’s and the introduction of the Atkins Diet that advocated a diet low in carbohydrates and high in fats the medical profession has debated the pros and cons of low carb and low fat diets. Most medical practitioners promote a low fat diet as it is considered beneficial to heart health rather than a low carb diet where high levels of supposedly dangerous fat are consumed. Many dieticians also believe that a diet high in healthy carbohydrates is beneficial to overall health.

Which is best for weight loss?

For those of us who wish to lose weight and have no other considerations choosing a low fat diet or a low carb diet is nothing more than a matter of personal choice. A recent study involving 300 overweight volunteers found that the overall weight loss of each individual was around 7% of their starting body weight regardless of whether they followed the low carb or low fat diet option (these equated to approximately 15 pounds of weight loss over a two year period). It appeared, from the study that the main source of calorie intake was of no consequence to the final weight loss result.

Low fat diet is best for heart health?

Medical practitioners of every persuasion generally recommend a low fat diet to those individuals who need to lose weight – however, it is possible that this very same diet is in fact injurious to health. Consuming foods that are high in carbohydrate content and either fat free or low fat may actually cause dangerous swings in blood sugar levels and metabolic malfunction – which, at worst, may cause both diabetes and cardiac disease. This school of thought maintains that a low fat diet is, in fact, bad for heart health.

Which low carb diet?

Surprisingly there are two different low carbohydrate diets – the well-known Atkins diet and a similar plan that includes more vegetable choices.

Atkins

The Atkins diet severely restricts the intake of all carbohydrates – even those in fruit and vegetables – and promotes an eating plan that includes meat, cheese, eggs, and processed foods with low carbohydrate content.

This weight loss plan does, generally, achieve rapid weight loss – certainly in the early stages of the diet. However many participants in the Atkins diet find it difficult to stay on the eating plan and that their weight loss plateaus once the first 25 pounds have been lost. The inclusion of processed meat products on the Atkins diet is also cause for concern since, when consumed in large quantities, these products are implicated in the development of some cancers.

Low carb plus fresh vegetables

Research seems to show that the best weight loss method is a low carbohydrate diet that includes fresh vegetables, leafy green vegetables, lean protein choices such as poultry and fish and healthy monounsaturated fats. Eliminating processed foods – not just carbohydrates – and excess sugar from the diet is known to be beneficial to both weight loss and good health. Choosing low carbs means that excess sugars are flushed from the blood stream reducing the levels of those triglycerides that are converted to fat in the body.

Whilst both low fat diets and low carb diets are useful weight loss tools – however, recent studies do seem to indicate that a diet low in fat may not be as healthy as many people think. It seems that the best diet for both weight loss and good health is one that is low in carbohydrate content and rich in fresh fruit and vegetables.

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