When It Comes to Slimming Down, Low-Fat Diets May Beat Low-Carb Diets



If you are over the low-fat diet versus low-carb diet debate, join the club. It seems, when it comes to weight loss, the two realms of eating are constantly battling for the winning spot. And a new study published in Cell Metabolism shows low-fat diets might be on the winning end for now, TIME reports. According to TIME, researchers studied the effect of a low-carb diet versus a low-fat diet when it comes to weight loss and found that when folks went on a low-fat diet they burned more fat than when they were on a low-carb diet.

Here’s the deal: Researchers wanted to test the popular theory that adopting a low-carb diet decreases levels of insulin, a hormone that regulates fat tissue, and that drop in insulin ups your body’s fat-burning abilities more than, say, a low-fat diet would. To put the theory to the test, they put 19 obese volunteers on two diets during two separate two-week stays at a metabolic ward where they could regulate everything they ate and see exactly how effectively their bodies were burning calories and fat using special equipment.

Both diets cut the participants’ total number of calories by 30 percent, but one cut those calories in carbohydrates, keeping their levels of fat and protein the same, while the other cut those calories in fat, keeping their levels of carbohydrates and protein the same. Participants shed pounds on both diets but they lost more weight on the low-carb diet, which the researchers say can be attributed to water weight. But here’s the thing: They lost more fat on the low-fat diet. Turns out, participants burned half as much fat on a low-carb diet as they did on a low-fat diet.

The takeaway? As the lead researcher told TIME, “the takeaway for me is that the theory about metabolism that has previously been used to recommend low-carbohydrate diets probably doesn’t hold water. In fact, if anything, the reduced fat diet seemed to offer a slight metabolic advantage.” Until next round.

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