For decades, Big Sugar and the Corn Syrup Industry worked hard to keep America focused on the intuitive idea that less fat in your diet would equate to less fat on your body. Unfortunately, the hidden trade off was that for almost anything advertised as low-fat, the “low-fat” translates to “loaded with sugar”.
Low-carb diets on the other hand, rely on the counter-intuitive idea that you can get thin by eating more fat.
With every new diet that comes out, there’s a sense of hope and excitement that with this latest diet, modern science has finally delivered to us the magic diet that will outperform all the diets that came before it. Currently, the Keto and Paleo Diets are hailed as the latest and greatest, but it helps to remember that these diets are really just spin-offs from the Atkins diet of the 1970s and low-carb diets themselves can be traced back to 1825.
Here’s an interesting thing I learned on the way to my yearly resolution – if you want to drop some pounds, the debate as to which diet will give you the best shot is over. When it comes to low-fat vs. low-carb, a recent Stanford study shows that neither one is any more effective than the other! That’s right, for all the focus diets place on the types of calories we consume, it’s really not the quality but the quantity.
The study took 609 participants aged between 18 and 50 with a roughly equal split of men and women and randomized them into a low-fat group and a low-carb group. They were then instructed to maintain their diets for a year and from the 80% who managed to stick with it, here are the results:
For all the faith I had placed in different diets at different times, what a shock to see the results between the low-fat dieters and the low-carb dieter nearly identical.
Diets will come and diets will go, but there are three axioms worth holding:
• There is no magic diet and there is no magic pill.
• Stay active and burn more calories than you consume.
• Avoid the processed foods and shop the outside perimiter of your grocery store.
Pro tip: Journaling with an app like Cronometer can do wonders in helping you track your calories burned vs. calories consumed.