Low fat or low carbohydrate? What is right for you?

It seems that the ‘magic bullet’ for weight loss keeps on changing, 40 years ago it was low fat and now it is the season for low carb.  So, how should you eat to achieve weight loss?

Well, firstly when we talk about ‘weight’ loss we actually mean ‘fat’ loss, which is a big difference.  Our weight is determined by muscle, water, bone, fat, etc, with the most variable part of our weight being water.  Monitoring the progress of a weight management regime on total weight alone (i.e. the ‘number’ you see on basic bathroom scales) without considering body composition is definitely going to be  misleading  and can be disheartening too.  Waist circumference is one way to measure changes in body fat, or if you have access to accurate body composition scales, then monitor the change in fat mass for a more accurate picture of your progress.

To achieve weight loss, the total energy consumed matters.  Comparing protein, carbohydrate, fats and alcohol, fat has the highest energy at 37kJ per gram- so you can see why ‘low fat’ diets became popular many many years ago.  It is easiest, therefore, if you’re trying to lower your energy intake to reduce the amounts of unhealthy fats in your diet. However we now know that extreme low fat diets do not equal easy weight loss and that moderate amounts of healthy fats are important.  Contrary to popular belief, carbohydrate doesn’t make people fat and the body prefers to store fat rather than turning excess carbohydrates into fat.  Eating too little carbohydrates have its consequences: hunger, lingering cravings leading to unnecessary snacking, low energy levels especially if exercising in high intensity, headache, lethargy, feeling deprived leading to bingeing.  We need carbohydrate, the key is choosing good quality carbohydrate at the right amount.

And this is where Helen and I can come in- Nutted Out Nutrition’s expert dietitians. We are experts in nutrition and skilled at tailoring your carbohydrate, fat and protein requirements specifically to your weight management needs. It doesn’t mater if you are looking to lose weight, run a marathon, bulk up for a competition, healthy weight gain or understanding more about how you can be healthy- we can help you!

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