Confused about all the hype about low carb diets? And what about the decades of information from mainstream nutrition experts (i.e. food pyramid) telling us to eat lots of carbs and very little fat (especially that villain saturated fat)?
Well folks, times are changing! More and more doctors, nutritionists and scientific research indicates that a low fat / low calorie diet is not the answer to all your health problems. And I am happy to stand up and say “Alleluia!”
Perfect Supplements is currently hosting a Healthy Habits Challenge, and for the diet section we chose to go low (moderate) carb instead of low fat or low calorie. (It might be too late to join the challenge for a chance to win $100, but you can still sign up to receive the free Healthy Habits Worksheet and exclusive support group information).
Seven Reasons Why We Choose Low Carb
1. Low Fat / Low Calorie Diets Don’t Work Because They Are Not Sustainable
Yes, I know nothing is true 100% of the time, and I am sure there are some people who actually can sustain weight loss with a low fat diet, but other than a few Weight Watchers’ leaders (who have the incentive of a job to sustain them), I have not personally met anyone who lost weight and kept it off with a low fat diet. Everyone, including me, can lose weight on a calorie restricted diet, and then gain it back as soon as normal eating resumes (and I maintain a healthy diet).
According to AuthorityNutrition.com, studies show that
Low carb diets are easier to stick to, probably because they don’t require you to restrict calories and be hungry all the time.”
I feel hungry on a low fat diet.
2. Low Fat Diets Cover Up Bad Taste With Tons of Sugar/Artificial Sweeteners & Flavor Enhancers (MSG)
Let’s face it, most low fat food just doesn’t taste very good. Chicken breast with vegetables and no butter … egg white omelettes and no bacon … toast with jam (no butter) … berries with zero fat yogurt (instead of real whipped cream) … skim milk (yuck!). I know you can add some creative spices to make this palatable, but really, who wants to eat this menu day in and day out? Healthy fats taste good and satisfying.
Did you know that dark chocolate can be enjoyed (in moderation) on a low carb diet? If I am craving chocolate, I want REAL (organic & Fair Trade) chocolate, not some “chocolate-flavored”, fat free, artificially sweetened, junk food.
3. Research Shows Low Carb Diets Are More Effective
The latest scientific research indicates that “low carb diets … reduce body fat more than calorie-restricted low-fat diets, even though the low-carb dieters are allowed to eat as much as they want.” AuthorityNutrition.com
And, in 2014, the Annals of Internal Medicine reported a study which showed
The low-carbohydrate diet was more effective for weight loss and cardiovascular risk factor reduction than the low-fat diet.” DrPerlmutter.com
Consuming healthy animal fats is the easiest way to obtain fat-soluble vitamins (vitamins A, D, E, and K) in our diet. Butter from pastured cows is an excellent source of fat-soluble vitamins.
In the 1930’s Dr. Weston A. Price searched the world for the healthiest people on the planet. He found various tribes on multiple continents consuming the traditional diet of their cultures, with no industrialized foods. Many of these traditional people consumed butter. The ones that did not enjoy butter went to great lengths to obtain animal foods high in fat-soluble vitamins such as fish, shell fish and organ meats.
You can read more about the benefits of healthy animal fats in Nourishing Traditions (my book review).
5. Low Carb Diets Are More Nutrient Dense
Following along with number four, which explains about the high concentration of vitamins found naturally in healthy fats; carbs, such as pasta, bread, crackers, and, of course, sweet treats and beverages, provide lots of calories, and very little nutritional value.
6. Wheat / Gluten Linked to Serious Health Issues
It seems like everyone is talking about the problems caused by consuming wheat and gluten. The Paleo Diet (no grains) was the most popular diet in 2014, and only seems to be growing in popularity. The books, Wheat Belly and Grain Brain are hitting best seller lists.
Doctors are researching the links between chronic illness and gluten consumption. Cutting carbs, particularly wheat and gluten, could potentially bring many happy side effects. For me, the long term benefits of cutting out gluten include reduced joint pain, elimination of head aches and clearer skin. When I consume gluten I also experience “foggy brain”, sleepiness and mild abdominal cramping.
To find out if you are sensitive to gluten, you need to completely eliminate it from your diet for 21 days. You could follow a doctor created detox and elimination diet like this one by Dr. Erica Lepore ND.
Some people are addicted to carbohydrates, particularly sugar. A low carb diet pretty much eliminates the foods that promote cravings and bingeing. If you want to learn more about carb and sugar addiction, here are a few resources:
- I found the book titled The Carbohydrate Addict’s Lifespan Program an interesting read.
- Prevention Magazine has an online quiz Are You Addicted to Sugar?
- www.PsychologyToday.com has an interesting article about How to Get Over Your Sugar Addiction
- And Sugar Addiction 101
What are your thoughts about low carb versus low fat?