Dr. Day is a cardiologist/electrophysiologist at the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute in Salt Lake City, Utah. He graduated from Johns Hopkins Medical School and completed his residency and fellowships in cardiology and electrophysiology at Stanford University. He is the former president of the Heart Rhythm Society and currently serves as the president of the Utah chapter of the American College of Cardiology.
Low Carb or Low Fat: Which is Best?
Should you go low carb or low fat for weight loss? I’m guessing you would pick low carbs. However, if I had asked you this same question 20 years ago, the answer would likely have been different. Would you believe me if I told you that it probably doesn’t matter based on a big new study from Stanford University?
The Best Low Carb vs. Low Fat Study
In this new study, Stanford researchers recruited 609 adults who were willing to eat either low carb or or low fat for a year based on the “flip of a coin.” A year later, the low-fat group lost about 13 pounds and the low-carb group also lost about 13 pounds.
When they looked at glucose and insulin metabolism, they also saw no meaningful difference. Where things really got interesting was when they looked at the genes of everyone in this study. Even if your genes predicted you would do better eating low fat or low carb, the study results showed that it just didn’t matter.
The 3 Success Factors to Losing Weight
Interestingly, when these Stanford researchers analyzed those who lost the most weight in the study, they found three factors.
1. Those losing the most weight avoided sugar.
2. Those losing the most weight avoided flour.
3. Those losing the most weigh ate a lot of vegetables.
Number one on this list, avoiding sugar, should come as a surprise to no one. Almost everyone loses weight if they can give up the sugar addiction.
Likewise, number three, eating a lot of vegetables, is another no brainer. If you fill up on vegetables you’ll lose weight and feel so much healthier.
Number two, avoiding flour, however may come as a surprise to many. The reason for this is that when a grain is pulverized to a dust-like form, the body absorbs it so fast that it raises blood glucose almost as much as eating straight sugar. Thus, to keep your metabolism in check, if you choose to eat grains only eat intact grains.
What does this study tell us?
Even though it may seem counter intuitive, this study fits nicely with what we know about diets and nutrition. The bottom line is that low carb or low fat can be healthy provided you avoid sugar, including flour, processed foods, and eat a ton of vegetables. Basically, you need to find what works for you and then stick with it.
Disclaimer Policy: This website is intended to give general information and does not provide medical advice. This website does not create a doctor-patient relationship between you and Dr. John Day. If you have a medical problem, immediately contact your healthcare provider. Information on this website is not intended to diagnose or treat any condition. Dr. John Day is not responsible for any losses, damages or claims that may result from your medical decisions.