You may have heard about the benefits of a low-carb, high-fat diet, but been dubious about its effectiveness. That might be because it wasn’t clear how the methodology works.
It has long been thought that a high-fat diet leads to adverse side effects, like higher blood pressure and cholesterol levels. However, more recent studies have concluded that carbs are really the prime culprit of weight gain and poor health, not fat.
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Journalist Nina Teicholz wrote a book on the subject, The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat and Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet, after nine years of extensive research. What she discovered was that the low-fat diet was never properly tested when it was first recommended by doctors and nutritionists. So essentially, we’ve been blindly abiding by this dieting rule that has never actually been proven to work.
On the other hand, low-carb, high-fat diets have been rigorously tested in clinical trials, and the benefits seem to prove themselves over and over again. Here are some of the most significant ones.
1. It’s better for weight loss
One particular study looked at what happened when 30 overweight adolescents went on a low-carb diet versus a low-fat diet. The results showed that on average, the low-carb dieters lost twice the amount of weight as the low-fat dieters.
2. Women in particular will see results
A randomized trial studied 53 healthy, but obese, women who either went on a low-carb or low-fat diet for six months. Not only did the women on the low-carb diet lose more than twice the amount of weight, they saw a significant reduction in blood triglycerides — one of the main causes of heart disease.
3. You won’t be as hungry
One of the hardest things about going on a diet is always feeling hungry. However, a low-carb, high-fat diet keeps you feeling full because you’re getting more protein and other nutrients your body needs without all the calories. Thus, you’re less likely to cheat on this sort of diet.
4. You’ll lose weight faster
When you cut out carbs and eat mainly fat and protein, you’ll likely see dramatic weight loss in the first week because your body is dropping all its excess water. This is because you’re lowering your insulin levels, which causes your kidneys to rid themselves of excess sodium, which makes you retain water.
5. Stubborn stomach fat will melt away
One of the most dangerous types of fat is visceral fat, which settles around the organs in the stomach. This can cause metabolic dysfunction and lead to health issues like Type 2 diabetes. Low-carb, high-fat diets target this fat, and thus, a higher percentage of fat lost on it comes from this particular area.
6. Risk of heart disease goes way down
It was mentioned above that women saw a reduction in blood triglycerides on a low-carb, high-fat diet, but this is also true for men. When your triglyceride levels go down, so does your risk of heart disease.
7. It increases good cholesterol
Good cholesterol, or HDL, are the lipoproteins that help bring bad cholesterol away from the body and to the liver where it’s either reused or excreted. A high-fat diet increases HDL numbers, thereby lowering the amount of bad cholesterol in the body.
8. It lowers blood pressure
Low-carb, high-fat diets have been proven to lower blood pressure significantly, which in turn lowers the risk of stroke, heart disease and kidney failure.