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Low-Carb Diet Beats Low-Fat Diet

August 05, 2008 | 65,203 views
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low carb, low fat dietA low-carb diet and a Mediterranean-style diet both helped people lose more weight than a traditional low-fat diet in one of the longest and largest studies to compare the various weight-loss techniques.

The low-carb diet also improved cholesterol more than the other two, even though some critics had predicted the opposite result.

The two-year study was done in a controlled environment -- an isolated nuclear research facility in Israel, where participants received their lunch at a cafeteria (and did not have easy access to fast-food outlets). Each of the 322 participants was assigned to one of three meal plans:

1. The low-fat diet, which restricted calories and cholesterol and focused on low-fat grains, vegetables and fruits as options.
2. The Mediterranean diet, which emphasized poultry, fish, olive oil and nuts.
3. The low-carb diet, which set limits for carbohydrates and urged dieters to choose vegetarian sources of fat and protein.

Although all three approaches achieved weight loss and improved cholesterol, the Mediterranean diet, and especially the low-carb diet, had the most beneficial effects.
 

Dr. Mercola's Comments:

It has been nearly six years since Gary Taubes wrote the landmark article What if it’s All Been a Big Fat Lie?. This piece was one of the first to hit the mainstream presses (The New York Times) and speak the truth: that fat is not an evil villain that must be banished from the food supply.

Yet public health officials (including such closed-minded agencies as The American Heart Association, which STILL recommends a restrictive low-fat diet) did such a bang-up job of spreading the “fat is bad” mentality, that the myth is still widely pervasive, especially in the United States.

I suspect many of you reading this have experienced it firsthand, either from your own trials or those of your friends and family. Countless people cutting out butter, full-fat dairy products, meat and eggs from their diet, only to continue gaining weight and having health problems. But old habits do die hard, and often even THIS is not enough to make someone think twice.

And you can thank your behind-the-times health agencies (and their fat-bashing propaganda) for that.

The Skinny on Fat

Plain and simple; “Eating fat will not make you fat”.

There, I said it. And I suggest you say it too, out loud, right now.

“Eating fat will not make you fat.”
 
Eating excessive carbs and sugar, though, now that is virtually guaranteed to pack on the pounds (the slight exception being those who are carb nutritional types, which I’ll get to later). Why?

Your cells need fuel to function, and they can get their fuel in the form of sugar or fat. But here’s the kicker, your body must burn all of the available sugar first before it turns to burning fat. So let’s say you eat a big plate of pasta (which turns into sugar in your body) along with a small amount of olive oil and meatballs (fat and protein).

Your body must first burn off all of that pasta, and whatever can’t be burned off will eventually be stored as fat. The fat you just ate, meanwhile, also goes into your fat stores.

The more carbs and sugar that you eat, the more your cells become accustomed to burning sugar as their fuel. After awhile, they will begin to crave it and prefer it to fat.

“Most people become very adapted at burning sugar; your body continues to want to "keep playing" sugar, to burn more sugar, even when you are not eating,” points out Dr. Ron Rosedale. “When you're sleeping at night, your body then prefers to burn sugar and it gets that sugar by breaking down proteins in your body, which means lean body mass, which includes muscle and bone.”

“People get fat not so much because they eat fat, but because they have forgotten how to burn it, and because of poor hormonal communication,” he continues.

How Carbs and Sugar Mess With Your Hormones

Let’s say you, like many Americans, eat loads of sugar, bread, baked goods, crackers, cookies and countless other carbs. You body doesn’t know how to handle all of that sugar, so it continues turning it into fat to get it out of your bloodstream.

For awhile, you’ll keep gaining weight, and this is actually in response to your cells keeping you alive by turning the excess sugar into fat. Eventually, though, even your fat stores can get filled up. This is why people who become obese almost always end up with diabetes; there’s no place left to store the excess sugar as fat, so it remains in your bloodstream, driving your insulin levels up and causing leptin resistance.

Ultimately, this leads to a variety of problems with your body not knowing how to burn fat properly, and your appetite-regulating hormone leptin getting completely out whack.

The solution? Eat less carbs and sugar, and more healthy fats.

This way, your body can easily burn the sugar that you do eat and continues to be adept at burning fat as well. You’ll stay leaner and healthier, and you’ll feel fuller too.

How Much Fat is Good for You?

This all depends on you. We all need some fat, but some of us need upwards of 50 percent of our diet in the form of fat, while others need as little as 10 percent. The distinction depends on your nutritional type, and if you’re interested in losing weight or staying healthy, I highly recommend you find out yours.

When you begin to include more fat in your diet, meanwhile, be sure you are focusing on healthy fats like olive oil, animal-based fats (grass-fed meats, omega-3, and raw dairy products), nuts and seeds, coconut oil, and avocados. Fats from highly refined sources, like vegetable oils and trans fats, should be avoided.

One of the best benefits of learning your nutritional type is that you don’t have to worry about counting calories or fat grams. Instead you focus on eating the right proportion of carbs, fats and protein for your body. It’s a much more natural, intuitive way of eating, and you’ll know when you’ve found the right ratio for you because you’ll feel simply wonderful.

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