Low-fat and low-carbohydrate diets are some of the decade's most popular diet plans, and many people successfully lose weight on these restrictive diets. If you want to lose weight but still eat "real" food, then following a low-fat or low-carb diet can help you shed those excess pounds.
Key Principles of Low Fat Diets
Low-fat diets are designed to help you lose weight by reducing the chances that your body will store fat after eating certain foods. The typical American diet contains a significant amount of fat, which can trigger a weight gain cycle. Eating a low-fat diet may involve switching to wholesome, nutritious and healthier foods and eliminating excess fat from each meal. Key principles of the low-fat diet include:
- Reducing daily fat grams to 20-25 grams per day
- Eliminating excess fat from the daily diet (i.e. butter, margarine, cooking oil)
- Eating small, balanced meals of lean protein and nutritious carbs throughout the day
- Eating a low-fat and nutritious breakfast each morning to increase metabolism
Key Principles of Low Carb Diets
Low-carb diets are one of the most popular diet trends of the decade and require eliminating many common foods such as white bread, pasta, rice, sugar and even alcohol. Low-carb diets are typically low in calories but contain a high ratio of protein and fat. Your daily diet might consist of eggs and meat for breakfast, lean chicken breast salad for lunch and grilled fish with steamed vegetables for dinner. Key principles of the low-carb diet include:
- Eliminating sugar and white flour from the daily diet
- Restricting carbs to very low levels each day
- Eating protein at every meal and snacking on high-protein foods to manage hunger
- Eating whole grains for breakfast to manage blood sugar levels
Choosing Between Low-Fat Diets and Low-Carb Diets
When you want to lose weight at a steady rate and keep it off for the long-term, making sure you pick a diet plan that you enjoy is a top priority. Low-fat diets can leave you feeling sluggish and tired because your body senses that it is not getting enough fuel. Not eating enough fat can also make you hungry and crave sweets; these are signs your body is low on fuel and needs energy. Low-carb diets give you a chance to eat lots of protein for energy, but you do have to eliminate lots of common foods including breads, pasta and sugar. If you enjoy dessert on a regular basis, the low-carb diet will be difficult to stick to.
Choosing between low-fat or low-carb diets depends largely on your individual tastes, preferences and eating habits. If you can see yourself eating small, balanced meals and restricting fat from the diet, then a low-fat diet may be your best option. If you prefer to eat lots of lean meat and can see yourself eliminating most carbs such as bread, rice, pasta and sugar from your diet, then a low-carb plan may be a good fit for you.