Are Low-Fat Diets Really the Best Way to Lose Weight?
Doing research into the best diet to lose weight can become a nightmare. There is endless, conflicting information on the internet about which foods will burn fat, which diets will slim you down, etc.
What’s especially frustrating is that you’re interested in this topic because you want to improve your health. Faced with the challenge of sorting through all the junk science, some guys just give up.
Especially since the early 1990’s, low-fat diets have been touted as the be-all, end-all of healthy eating. Experts have claimed that this is the way to lose weight and get healthy. Most likely you’ve followed this kind of diet yourself - or you know someone who has.
But is this really the best way to lose weight? What does the science say? Get the facts so that you can prepare a weight loss plan that works for you and helps you achieve excellent results.
The Popularity of Low-Fat Diets
The low-fat diet’s surge in popularity came as a direct answer to the obesity epidemic. In the United States, the most potent example of the low-fat diet’s influence on pop culture is the Food Pyramid. You won’t find this on the USDA’s website anymore - it was revised several times before finally being discarded entirely for a different healthy eating model.
Critics have long attacked this old-school food pyramid for not distinguishing “between healthy foods like brown rice or fish and less healthy foods like white rice or sausage.” And in the years since it was first introduced, it has come to light that “the design was tweaked in order to please agricultural and meat lobbies, to which the USDA is responsible.”
What Does the Research Say?
The very concept of low-fat diets is called into question by the fact that there were large political interests pushing it. But what have researchers discovered about the benefits (or lack thereof) of eating a low fat diet?
In October 2015, a “systematic review and meta-analysis” of several diets was published in “The Lancet.” What did it find?
The researchers were looking for “the effectiveness of low fat diets for long term weight loss.” After reviewing the results of 53 others studies, all of which were conducted as randomized controlled trials, they found that “low-carbohydrate interventions led to significantly greater weight loss than did low-fat interventions.”
But it gets even worse for the low-fat fanboys.
The same researchers determined that “in weight loss trials, higher-fat weight loss interventions led to significantly greater weight than low-fat interventions.” How is it possible that higher-fat duet led to greater weight loss? Isn’t that counterintuitive?
Your Body Needs Fat
If you want to stay strong and healthy, you should forget about low-fat diets. Your body needs a balance of the three essential macronutrients - protein, fat, and carbs - to function at its peak. Don’t throw about one of those just because the so-called “experts” have been spouting false facts about low-fat diets.
Aim to limit your carbs to just the amount you need to stay energized throughout the day and for your workouts. Make sure you’re consuming enough fat and protein each day to fuel your body and build lean muscle.
This is easy if you eat plenty of lean animal protein. It’s rich in fat and protein, both of which are essential for recovering from each workout and growing strong muscles.
Don’t be sucked into low-fat or other fad diets. Instead, consider the facts supported by solid research. Then develop a meal plan that will help you reach your goals - whether those are to get strong, lose weight, or reach a new level of fitness.