Archive for the 'Choosing a diet' Category

Low Carb Diet vs Low Fat Diet – which is best to lose weight


To this day, scientists are at odds as to whether the low fat or the low carb weight loss strategy is the most effective for losing those extra pounds. On the 25th of January 2010 a study was published in the Archives of Internal Medicine that directly compare the low fat weight loss approach to the typical low carb diet.

One hundred and forty six obese or overweight outpatients from the Department of Veterans Affairs clinics in North Carolina were selected to participate in the study and randomly assigned to either a low carbohydrate diet group or a low fat diet group. The study was conducted over a period of almost a year (48 weeks).

The low carb diet was designed as a ketogenic diet and patients were instructed to consume less than 20g carbs daily. A ketogenic diet can be described as a high fat, adequate protein and low carbohydrate diet that forces the body to burn fat rather than glucose, which it normally manufactures from carbohydrates. The liver converts fats into fatty acids and ketone bodies, which then replaces the glucose as a source of energy. This dietary approach is very similar to the Atkins Diet, which also limits carbs to 20g per day during the Induction Phase.

The low fat diet designed for this study went all out to reduce fat and patients were prescribed Orlistat (120mg 3 times daily) together with a diet very low in fat content. Orlistat is the active ingredient found in Alli and Xenical. Xenical is most often prescribed by doctors for weight problems, while Alli is available over the counter. The low fat eating plan followed by participants was designed to result in a deficit in caloric intake to the tune of 500 to 1000 calories per day. Patients were also expected to ensure that less than 30% of the calories they consume come from fat.

The average weight loss achieved by patients following the low carb diet (without any diet pills or calorie restrictions) equaled the average weight loss for patients following the low fat regime. Keep in mind that the low fat group also had to take diet pills in addition to reducing their calorie intake. HDL and triglyceride cholesterol levels improved similarly for both diet groups. LDL cholesterol levels improved only for the low fat group, whereas the low carb diet had a greater beneficial impact on systolic and diastolic blood pressure. The low carb diet was also slightly more beneficial for glucose and insulin levels, but the differences were not large enough to be regarded as statistically relevant.

The conclusion drawn from this study by the scientists was that a low carbohydrate diet is as effective as orlistat in conjunction with a low fat diet for weight loss and improvement in blood sugar levels, but it is more effective in lowering blood pressure. It is suggested that a low carb diet may be a better weight loss strategy for obese clients with high blood pressure than the typically prescribed treatment of a low fat diet with orlistat.
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What are the Dangers and Problems of Rapid Weight Loss

Author: Donovan Baldwin

People searching for weight loss programs and diets today seem to be searching more for rapid weight loss than permanent, healthy weight loss. Unfortunately, it is a fact that quick diet weight loss programs are seldom without their dangers, and their results usually range from erratic to nonexistent.

I would advise anyone seeking to lose weight to substitute the term ‘healthy weight loss program’ for ‘rapid weight loss program’. I hope, the following short discussion will explain my position to some extent.

You, like so many others in today’s society, are concerned about losing weight. Like so many others, you are looking for some sort of rapid weight loss program or plan. Rapid weight loss, also often referred to as quick weight loss or fast weight loss, involves, as its name implies, losing weight in a short period of time. Claims of such programs often cite fantastic results in anywhere from two to seven days.

In the United States, approximately two-thirds of the adult population is overweight or obese, and hundreds of thousands of these Americans are understandably interested in rapidly losing that unwanted weight. Many simply wish to lose weight before an important event, like an upcoming vacation or a wedding, while others are willing to accept the fact that permanent, healthy weight loss is a lifetime commitment. Continue reading ‘What are the Dangers and Problems of Rapid Weight Loss’

Just when you think you know how to lose weight.


Whoever finds a single fool proof way to lose weight is guaranteed to become the richest person on earth. Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, a one-size-fits-all super diet will probably never be discovered. If it is not enough that our bodies are so different, there are many, many other factors at play including cultural differences, lifestyle differences, socio-economic differences and taste preferences. The list of factors that can impact on weight loss success just goes on and on.

It’s really no wonder then that we are bombarded with conflicting and confusing scientific reports. It is very difficult to conduct an experiment that considers all of these variables. As a result, we are left with many reputable and conflicting scientific reports, each claiming that yet another dietary approach is the be-all and end-all for losing weight. Whether it is the Atkins or the Mediterranean Diet, the Low Fat or Low GI diet, or even Weight Watchers; the list is never-ending. It is just too easy to become a bit cynical after a while. How refreshing then, to come across a scientific study that found that most well balanced popular diets work well, irrespective of whether it is high in protein, low in fat, low in carbohydrates or any combination of these!

This study, called the “Comparison of Weight-Loss Diets with Different Compositions of Fat, Protein, and Carbohydrates” was published on February 26, 2009 in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM). Its aim was to try and put an end to the age-old debate around the question “Which type of diet is most effective for weight loss”. The research team was of the opinion that many of the conflicting scientific reports on the weight loss topic published previously were based on populations too small to be representative, and that many studies did not track the progress of participants for a long enough period to provide sufficient information for assessment.
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How to choose the best diet

You’ve reached the point where you decided that you have had enough of not being able to enjoy your life as much as you should because of the “excess baggage” you are carrying around. The question then, with so many diets out there, is “How do I go about choosing the right diet for me?”  The eventual answer to that question will be worth millions, and truth be told, there will probably be as many answers as there are people, because we are all so different. Some of the considerations for choosing a diet are your lifestyle, your personality, your genetic make-up and your community. What follows is a list of some of the more important aspects to consider.

1. Does your diet suit your lifestyle? If you are working full day at an office, you simply do not have the time to go and search for exotic ingredients some of the celebrity diets require. Or you may not have much time available to spend in the kitchen weighing off portions or preparing food. Some of the diets may not fit your budget, while others can be easily accommodated. Do you have the time and the opportunity to attend required weigh in sessions? Make sure that whichever diet you choose, it is practical and easy to execute taking into account your lifestyle.

2. Avoid strict diets. Instead of going on a very strict diet, choose a diet that considers a healthy lifestyle and teaches you how to enjoy healthy, nutritious and appetizing food. One of the most important success factors for your diet is your mindset, so it is essential that your diet trigger positive associations in your mind. In short, you have to enjoy it. Often, when the diet is very strict, and you have made a mistake, it is very easy to feel like a complete failure and abandon the diet in its entirety. Choose a diet that allows you sufficient freedom of choice with regards to food types and regularity of meals to still enjoy your life, and that helps you to get back on track should you have made a mistake.
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