All weight loss diets essentially work the same way; they reduce your calorie intake. By reducing your calorie intake below maintenance, you force your body to use fat for fuel. Supplements like Oxyshred then regulate your metabolism and suppress cravings, complimenting your diet.
As your body burns fat for energy, your scale weight decreases. It doesn’t matter whether you are considering going Paleo, following the Zone diet, or give fasting a try – this is how all weight loss diets.
However, within the wide world of diets, there are essentially two sub-divisions, low-carb diets and low-fat diets. Again, both types of diet create a calorific diet, but they are also sufficiently that one approach may suit you better than the other.
THE CASE FOR LOW-CARB DIETS
Low carb diets limit your consumption of high-carb foods such as bread, rice, pasta, potatoes, and processed food; that’s how they create their calorie deficit. Carb limits vary from diet to diet, and can be as low as virtually zero, or go up to around 100 grams of carbs per day. Lowering your carb intake may offer several advantages.
HIGH IN PROTEIN
Most low carb diets are also higher in protein. Protein has a high thermal effect, meaning it boosts your metabolism more than the other food groups. This boost is small, and will not produce a big increase in weight loss, but in a game where every kilo counts, any additional fat burning is welcome.
Protein is also highly satiating, and as hunger can derail even the strongest willpower, this is very welcome.
Eating more protein and fewer carbs tend to keep your blood glucose levels stable and relatively low. This reduces insulin production. These factors all add up to more stable energy levels, reduced likelihood of fat storage, and a better environment for fat burning.
HIGH IN HEALTHY FATS
Most low carb diets are, by necessity, higher in fat. Like protein, fat is very satiating and can prevent hunger. Many sources of fat are very healthy. Coconut oil, avocados, butter, olive oil, ghee, are loaded with beneficial nutrients that are often missing from low-fat diets.
HIGH NON-STARCHY VEGETABLE INTAKE
Just because you are eating fewer carbs, doesn’t mean you can’t eat vegetables. In fact, the opposite is usually the case – you’ll have to eat a lot of veggies to replace those grains that you are no longer eating. Non-starchy vegetables are very healthy, contain lots of filling fiber, and are loaded with vitamins and minerals to keep you healthy.
REDUCED COMPETITION FOR FUEL
Your body likes to burn carbs and store fat. Excess carbs are quickly and easily converted into fat for later use. By eliminating or reducing your carb intake, you reduce any competition for fuel, which means your body is more likely to burn fat for energy. This is, even more, the case as your muscle glycogen and blood glucose levels fall into decline.
AND NOW THE BAD NEWS…
However, it’s not all good news; low carb diets can also leave you feeling tired and without the energy to exercise. Many people feel unwell if they don’t eat carbs, suffering from what is often called the low carb flu. This can produce a range of symptoms including mood swings, lethargy, brain fog, insomnia, nausea, weakness, and fatigue.
THE CASE FOR LOW-FAT DIETS
Low-fat diets are the conservative approach to weight loss. If you go to your doctor or a nutritionist for weight loss advice, most will steer you toward a low-fat eating plan. Low-fat dieting is so mainstream that you can buy hundreds of low-fat products in your local supermarket. Low-fat diets offer several advantages.
A SMALL REDUCTION IN FAT MEANS A BIG CALORIE SAVING
Fat contains nine calories per gram, so cutting just 50 grams of fat from your diet per day can save you enough calories over a week to produce just under half a kilo of fat/weight loss. Such a small reduction in total food intake means you are unlikely to feel too much hunger.
HIGH IN CARBS
Carbs are your body’s preferred source of energy during physical activity i.e. exercise. If you train hard, long, or often, have a manual labor-type job, or are otherwise very active, eating plenty of carbs should ensure you have the energy you need to keep going.
HIGH IN FIBRE
High carb foods like pasta, bread, rice, etc. are invariably high in fiber. Fiber is part of the carbohydrate group but is indigestible. It’s very good for your digestive system, and also helps you to feel fuller for longer.
REDUCED COMPETITION FOR FUEL
Like the low carb diet, reducing your fat intake also reduces the competition for fuel in your body. With less dietary fat available, your body is more likely to burn carbs and stored body fat for energy.
AND NOW THE BAD NEWS…
On the downside, low-fat diets, which are naturally high in carbs, are less appropriate for people who are predominately sedentary. While calories are king for weight loss, eating a lot of carbs during periods of inactivity could inhibit fat burning. Once your muscles and liver are fully carbed-up, any excess is likely to be converted to fat and stored as such. Also, low-fat diets may be low in the nutrients commonly found in healthy fats such as essential fatty acids and vitamins A, D, E, and K.
SO, WHICH ONE IS RIGHT FOR YOU?
As a general rule, the more active you are, the greater your need is for carbs. If you hit the gym on a daily basis or do a lot of endurance training, low fat but higher carb diet will ensure your muscles have the energy they need to power you through your workouts.
In contrast, if you have a predominately sedentary lifestyle, where you exercise 4-5 hours a week but then spend the majority of the reaming time sat down, you don’t really need a lot of carbs. A high carb snack just before your workout should provide you with the energy you need.
It’s also important to understand that some people are very much “carb types” who don’t function well on low carb diets, whereas other people are “protein types” who don’t need carbs as much. This genetic predisposition helps explain why some people do well on one type of diet, but less well on others.
Armed with this information, you should be able to decide whether low carb or low-fat diet is right for you. Still unsure? Try each one for a month, assess your progress, and then decide.