Low Carb vs. Low Fat diets – Which is Best for Weight Loss?

We have all heard of the latest diet trend of eating a high fat and low carb diet or low fat, higher carb diet to see the best weight loss results. Spoiler alert! What if we told you, you don’t need to choose one for weight loss? What if you could eat your carbs and your fats and still lose weight? Would you believe it?

We are here to tell you that you can still lose weight while eating the foods you love. It’s all in moderation. It will not matter in the long run if you choose a high fat diet if you are still eating too many calories throughout the day. While there can be some positive side effects to eating a low carb diet, sometimes, it does not outweigh the good. Carbohydrates are in most, if not all, of your fruits and vegetables, so limiting those food groups also limits the nutrients your body needs from them. When you start to limit your carbohydrate intake it can have an effect on your mood, it can cause fatigue, and it can lead to constipation

Here is a way to think about your daily food consumption. Think about your daily food as a daily allowance. You have 2,000 calories (for example) to eat and you can fill that with fat rich foods, or high carb foods. Or, you could eat four Pop-tarts for the day, or fill your day with fruits, veggies, proteins, healthy fats and carbs and feel full and satisfied and still lose weight.

The internet is full of fad diets and the newest trends, but no one talks about moderation. There have been many studies done on weight loss. A group of researchers compared a group of people who ate a low carb diet and a low-fat diet and both diets yielded a result of weight loss. There were some minor pros and cons to each, but when looking at just weight loss, neither was significantly different. Which proves, that one diet does not fit all, and weight loss is highly individualized. Overall, having clean ingredients and 50% of your diet from plants is the successful way to start your weight loss journey.

Unfortunately, there’s no secret pill, or diet plan, and that’s not sexy so the internet doesn’t advertise that. Here is a quick way to plan out your meals and start having cleaner ingredients in your food and to add vegetables to your daily meals

Meal 1 example:

  • Start with a lean protein source
  • Add half a cup of your favorite carbs
  • Add ¼ cup of a fat
  • Fill the rest of the plate with fruits and veggies

Naz’s favorite meal example for breakfast:

  • One cup of Siggi’s vanilla yogurt (protein)
  • One cup of raspberries (carbs and fiber)
  • Peanut butter sandwich with fruits (protein and fiber)

More of a savory person in the morning?

  • Sauté some veggies (fiber/carbs)
  • Add one egg, and 3 egg whites (protein)
  • Add hard cheese, such as cheddar or swiss (proteins and fat)
  • Toast some whole wheat, or multigrain bread (carbs)
  • Mash up some warmed-up raspberries for a lower calorie jam alternative (fiber and carbs)

Written by: Kelsey Vitols, Dietetic Intern, Framingham State University

Reviewed by: Nazirber Maduro, RDN, CDN, CDCES

Nazirber Maduro is a bilingual registered dietitian and nutritionist who believes that healthy and delicious food should be enjoyed at any stage in life. She helps people transform the way they eat and find joy in food through the practice of food and lifestyle medicine.

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