Health authorities have been recommending low-fat diets for several years. This recommendation is widely accepted in the food industry. This recommended low-fat diet contains less than 30% of daily calories from fat. Some recent studies have raised some questions about the validity of the guidelines of the low-fat diet. So in this article, we will review that do really low-fat diets work in a weight loss mechanism?
What Is A Low-Fat Diet?
If you’re deciding to choose a Low-fat diet to maintain or lose weight, you have to restrict the consumption of fat under 10% of daily calories. Low-Fat Diet tends to be low in proteins and high in carbs. A Low-fat diet is based on a plant-based diet and limits animal products like eggs, dairy products, and meat.
How Low-Fat Diets Are Good For Weight Loss?
Low-fat diets are often recommended for people who need to lose weight.
The main reason behind this recommendation is that fat provides a greater number of calories per gram compared to the other major nutrients, protein, and carbs.
Fat provides roughly 9 calories per gram, whereas protein and carbs provide only 4 calories per gram.
Studies show that people who reduce their calorie intake by eating less fat lose weight. Although the weight loss is small, on average, it is considered relevant for health.
But how effective is a low-fat diet compared to a low-carb diet?
Low-Fat Diet Vs Low-Carb Diet
Low-carb diets are usually high in both protein and fat. When food intake is closely monitored and controlled, low-fat diets seem equally as effective for weight loss as low-carb diets.
At least, these were the results of a small study in 19 obese adults who spent two weeks in a metabolic ward, which is a highly controlled lab environment. However, the study period was short and the environment didn’t reflect a real-life situation. Studies in free-living people generally agree that low-fat diets are not as effective as low-carb diets. The reason for this inconsistency is unclear, but the most likely explanation is that low-carb diets are usually associated with greater dietary quality.
They tend to focus on whole foods, such as vegetables, eggs, meat and fish. They also encourage skipping most junk foods, which are usually high in refined carbs or added sugar. Additionally, low-carb diets based on whole foods tend to be higher in both fiber and protein than low-fat diets.
A successful low-carb diet may promote weight loss in the following ways:
Lowers calorie intake: A high protein intake decreases calorie intake by suppressing appetite and increasing the number of calories burned.
Increases fullness: A high intake of certain types of fiber may reduce calorie intake by increasing fullness.
Fights cravings: Low-carb diets may suppress carb and sugar cravings.
The low-fat guidelines introduced in 1977 were not based on solid evidence. While recent studies have weakened their scientific foundation even further, the debate continues. One thing is clear. Eating less fat is not always the best way to lose weight. Low-carb diets tend to be more effective for most people.
The association of fat with heart disease is more controversial and complex. Overall, cutting your fat intake is not likely to reduce your risk of heart disease. Rather than worrying about your total fat intake, focus on improving the quality of your diet. Eating more whole foods and healthy fats is a good way to start.
While some fats are very healthy like Omega- 3 fats from fish, flaxseeds, and walnuts. Other healthy fats are monounsaturated fats that are found in extra virgin olive oil, olives, avocadoes, coconut oil, nuts, and seeds.
Limitations of Cutting Fats
There are some scientific limitations of cutting fats from your diet. According to research, dietary guidelines suggest that healthy adults should limit dietary fat to no more than 20 to 35% of daily calories. By using nutrition facts, you could easily calculate the number of fats you need in your daily diet.
Fats make our food tasty and ultimately the limitation of fat in our diet leads to the lack of variety too. This is why it is hard to stick to the Low- fat diet.