High Fat vs. Low Fat

Low fat and low carb diets are the most popular weight loss tools in the last years. As much as fat was labelled evil in the nineties, the 2000s brought a discovery that it’s sugar that is the silent kiler. It was discovered the consuming fat can improve health and weight issues. Little long term tests exist but usually both methods show promising results. So is there a ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ way of eating? Are calories just calories or do the proportions of ingested macronutrients matter? And finally, is it wise to adapt an exclusion method for life? Let’s look at some facts.

High fat diets such as the latest ‘it’ diet – keto restrict carb intake to as low as below 20g a day. This is equal to 2 slices of bread or a tiny banana. Our bodies rely on carbs for energy. Deprived of them they produce ketones which break down fat tissue for energy. This fat burning state is called ketosis and the first few days or weeks of it can give flu like symptoms, fatigue and low mood. As mentioned before very little studies confirm long term effects of such diets but the healthy Inuit people are often given as an example. There are many additional factors though that contribute to the longevity of the Inuit. Genetics, climate,, physical work, and most of all lack of highly processed foods in their diets. This comparison is therefore somewhat faulty.

Research shows that since cancer cells feed off glucose , the ketogenic diet can be helpful in fighting the disease. This is a great opportunity for patients to at least consider. It’s quite important to stress that consuming huge amounts of fat is not a cure or magical potion like some sources imply.

Low fat diets are still considered ‘the right way’ by the who and governments. The general consensus is that diets high in fat, especially saturated are harmful and cause heart conditions and other diseases. This approach suggests we use carbs and protein for energy and only limited amounts of fat. Nobody questions the fact that fat especially the omegas, are essential to our good health and metabolism. But the WHO warns that overeating saturated fat especially in processed foods can cause cancer, heart attacks and other threatening conditions. The traditional anti cancer diets are similar to the Mediterranean diet rich in fresh fruit and vegetables and low fat. Also fitness people and bodybuilders choose Low fat high carb diets as they know carbs are the most efficient source of energy for building muscle. Keto fans proved that it’s not impossible to work out hard on low carb but most fit freaks are still defensive of carbohydrates.

In an experiment conducted by celebrity trainer Chris Powell two twins lost the same amount of weight on those two diets. The one on high fat (keto) was less energized and more sedentary. The conclusion is that both diets are effective and depending on your goals and preferences you can choose what’s best for you. First and foremost remember to avoid processed foods and refined sugar!  according to another pair of twins who conducted the same experiment – Alexander and Chris Van Tulleken:

If you want to lose weight it will be much easier if you avoid processed foods made with sugar and fat. These foods affect your brain in a completely different way from natural foods and it’s hard for anyone to resist eating too much.

And any diet that eliminates fat or sugar will be unpalatable, hard to sustain and probably be bad for your health, too.

A conclusion certainly backed by many including an article on cutting carbs for weightloss.

Whatever diet you follow – high fat or low fat, remember to exercise regularly and stay healthy.

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