Which is Better, A Low Carb or Low Fat Diet?

Posted by Luisa de Luca on


Which diet is more effective, low carb or low fat? What makes one more desirable than the other? Is one of these diets easier to follow than the other? We are going to answer those questions here.

According to Kris Gunnars, BSc, at Authority Nutrition, “there are very few things in nutrition that are as rigorously proven to be effective as carb restricted diets for those who are:

- Overweight or obese.

- Type II diabetic.

- Have the metabolic syndrome.”

There have been randomized controlled trials1 done on this very question and the results have all been the same. When comparing the low carb diet with the low fat diet, low carb wins every time. When following a low carb diet, those who are overweight or obese, have Type II diabetes, or have a metabolic syndrome are far more successful and often not longer need their meds.

Here are seven reasons why low carb diets are more successful.

  1. Effortless Calorie Restriction: Those on a carb restricted diet are often allowed to eat until they feel full. The low fat dieters have to count their calorie intake and control their food portions. Even so, the low carb dieters tend to eat the same amounts of food or maybe even less. This is because the low carb diet is appetite reducing. There’s really no need to control portions as long as the carbs are kept to a minimum.

  2. More Weight Loss on a Low Carb Diet: Studies that have been done prove2 that more weight loss is realized on the low carb diet than on the low fat diet. In addition, more fat was lost around the body’s midsection than anywhere else. Fat that is located around the middle is highly associated with heart disease and diabetes. Not to mention that it is most unbecoming. Low carb diets, it’s been proven, seem to zero in on the belly fat.

  3. Low Fat Lowers Triglycerides: Blood levels of triglycerides are a major risk factor for heart disease and are directly correlated to the amount of simple carbohydrates in the diet. This information is noted in one of the studies reported by the National Institute of Health.3 Low carb diets are responsible for lowering triglycerides. Low fat diets do not improve the triglycerides, and often make their count worse.

  4. HDL Cholesterol is Increased with Low Carb Diets: HDL cholesterol is known as “the good cholesterol." Its job is to move the “bad cholesterol” (LDL cholesterol) away from the outer edges of the body and into the liver. The liver, in turn, reuses it or excretes it. At the same time, the HDL levels get raised. On low fat diets, the HDL is increased far less, or even decreased. Not the outcome we want.
    Kris Gunnars, BSc, explains that low carb diets should be much better for your heart and your overall health than the low fat diet that has become popular among mainstream diets.

  5. Pattern of LDL Cholesterol Improves: There are two forms of LDL. One consists of small, dense LDL molecules4 that look a lot like little BB pellets. They are hard, ball-like shapes. They oxidize easily and penetrate the walls of arteries. The other type of LDL are fluffy molecules5 that resemble cotton balls. They do not lodge in the arteries nor do they cause heart disease. To really simplify it, the small, hard LDLs are bad, but the cotton-like LDLs are good. The realization is that low carb diets don’t lead to an actual reduction in total LDL, they do turn the LDL molecules into the fluffy, benign type.

  6. Low Carb Diets Much Better for Diabetics: Less carbs leads to lower blood sugar levels for diabetics. This, in turn, lessens the need for insulin, or glucose lowering medications. In many cases, low carb diets leads to the cure for type II diabetes. According to Nutrition and Metabolism6, “Some doctors that routinely prescribe these diets in practice can often decrease insulin by  50% on the first day of the diet, then many patients can reduce or even stop taking medication (effectively cured) in a matter of weeks or months.”


The conclusion of all the studies all point to basically the same thing. Despite restricting entire food groups, low carb diets appear to be easier to stick with and easier to accomplish than low fat diets. In the end, more people actually make it to the end of the study.



  1. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1467-789X.2008.00518.x/abstract
  2. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12679447
  3. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11082210
  4. http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/95/1/69.abstract
  5. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8782636
  6. http://www.nutritionandmetabolism.com/content/5/1/10

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