Regardless of which camp they fall into, low fat or low carb evangelists seem to be everywhere. The one decries the higher caloric content of fat; the other gives a spiel about elevated insulin and how sugar is to blame for the Western obesity crisis.
Neither of those opinions are totally untrue. Fat IS the most calorie dense macronutrient, and high amounts of sugar, hidden or otherwise, will not compliment an individual’s diet if they’re on the sedentary side of the activity spectrum.
But any evidence-based practitioner will tell you that reductionist opinions like these – “low [insert macronutrient here] diets are THE best method for fat loss!” – aren’t justified by the data.
A major new randomized clinical trial (RCT) on low-fat vs. low-carb diets — “Effect of Low-Fat vs. Low-Carbohydrate Diet on 12-Month Weight Loss in Overweight Adults and the Association with Genotype Pattern or Insulin Secretion: The DIETFITS Randomized Clinical Trial” — has, in Examine.com’s words, cleared three of the biggest hurdles seen in weight loss studies:
- Recruiting a large number of participants.
- Retaining and tracking them over a long period of time.
- Carefully monitoring compliance with the assigned diet.
And their conclusion?
“For weight loss, neither low-fat nor low-carb is superior (as long as there’s no difference in caloric intake or protein intake).”
This joins a huge body of evidence with the same results.
Please, guys. STOP listening to evangelists trying to point out single foods/food groups as the angels or devils of human nutrition. Science just does not convince us of any of these claims.
Follow the unsexy but proven rules of thumb.
- Create a manageable calorie deficit.
- Eat your protein.
- Eat your veggies.
- Eat smart carbs around exercise, and enough healthy fats.
- Lift heavy shit and get out of breath a few times a week.
- Rinse and repeat.