Sunday, October 9, 2011

Low carb versus low fat diet: which is easier to follow? By Jerry Brainum

In recent years it has become clear that consuming a lower carbohydrate diet is superior for purposes of body fat loss compared to the often suggested high carb, low fat diet. Low carb diets usually have a higher protein component, and a higher protein intake is closely linked to satiety and accompanying less hunger.But most scientists still aren't convinced that low carb diets are superior. They repeat the mantra that "a calorie is a calorie is a calorie," and where that calorie is derived from is less consequential than precisely how many calories you consume versus how many you burn through physical activity. While it's hard to deny that calories aren't important when dieting, it's also true that a diet that will reduce appetite and cravings for high calorie foods will usually result in less total caloric intake.
    And that is precisely the key to the success of low carb diets. Whether it's from the increased ketone production during low carb (LC) diets, or the higher protein intake, the point is that a LC diet makes the odious task of dieting a bit less odious. A recent study compared the effects of a low fat, high carb diet to a LC diet head to head. The focus of the study was on the dieting effects of both types of eating on food cravings, preferences, and appetite. Thus, a group of obese human adults (not rats or mice) were randomly assigned to either a LC diet or a low-fat diet, What sets this study apart from others is that the study lasted for two years. Most studies last just a few weeks.
       The results showed that those in the LC group showed significantly less carvings for high carb and high sugar foods compared to those in the low fat group. Those in the LC group also reported being less hungry compared to their peers in the low fat group. The men in the study showed a higher level of decreased appetite compared to the women. I think that result may relate to a women's monthly hormonal cycles, which are known to potently stimulate appetite. Thus, this study shows one reason why in the long-term, LC diets are superior to low fat diets: they provide better appetite control due to less food cravings, making it easier to control caloric intake.

Martin CK, et al. Change in food cravings, food preference, and appetite during a low carbohydrate and low fat diet.Obesity; 2011.

©,2013 Jerry Brainum. Any reprinting in any type of media, including electronic and foreign is expressly prohibited.

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