Low-carb Weight loss | it has now become clear that carbohydrates are difficult to convert into fat and that a negative energy balance is leading when it comes to slimming. Yet there are those who say that a diet low-carb causes more fat loss than a diet high in carbohydrates in healthy people, even though the same amount of calories is consumed. Let’s take a closer look at this.
To rule is to look into the future
Short-term weight loss is greater with a diet low-carb compared to a diet high in carbohydrates. But how should we interpret this data? First of all, we must distinguish between weight loss and fat loss. When you lose body weight, this does not automatically mean that fat loss is part of this, as shown by various studies.
People who follow a diet low-carb do not lose more body fat, they lose more water.
Because you lower the carbohydrates, the amount of muscle glycogen also decreases. Each gram of muscle glycogen contains about 3-4 grams of water.
That means that you do lose a lot of body weight in the beginning, but that is water, not body fat.
This doesn’t automatically mean it’s “bad”. It is simply a consequence of. It is precisely that rapid drop in body weight at the start that can be a psychological stimulus for some people to persevere and get through the start-up phase, even if body weight is not the best indicator. However, it is important that they do not fool themselves into thinking that this is body fat.
What is not in the house, does not go up
We always say; “Whatever is food in the house, ends up being used up”. So anything that isn’t in the house can’t be eaten either. That is important to remember, because all studies on carbohydrates and a greater loss show a major flaw. The studies are all based on people who themselves had to report their eating habits and the associated energy intake and expenditure in a free environment. This is also one of the wrong reasons why people say ‘calories don’t count’.
In recent years, so many studies have been conducted into the validity of self-reports that it is now generally known that this is not the most suitable way to base study results on. People are simply very inaccurate and incorrect when it comes to estimating and tracking their energy intake and expenditure.
The people who lost more weight simply ate fewer calories overall, even though they didn’t know or realize it themselves. Yes, even if you get paid for it.
Short term vs. long-term
In addition to the substantive shortcomings of the studies, it is also important to consider the difference between the short term (shorter than 6 months) and long term (longer than 6 months). The fact that there is a difference in the short term does not automatically mean that this is also the case in the long term. However, this is very important because consistency is ultimately the key to success. That is a complex (psychological) issue, which is far from being answered, let alone solved (if that will happen at all).
If we look at studies with a diet low-carb compared to a diet high in carbohydrates that lasted longer than 6 months, we see that in the end no significant difference is demonstrable.
The people who were restricted on a low-carb diet at the start of the study (few carbs, but “as much” fats and proteins as you want) simply started adding more calories from fats and proteins over time. protein, in other words: they ate more calories again!
There are also people where a diet low in carbohydrates works in the beginning, but not in the long term, because they simply don’t last that way. This brings us to a point where it comes to a personal preference on a psychological level (a diet low in carbohydrates is a relatively easy template for calorie restriction in the short term, but perhaps not for the long term) in which you can also keep the diet full. .
The reason why a low-carb diet works has not so much to do with the low carbohydrate content, but the amount of protein. Low-carb does not cause more fat loss than high-carb when the same amount of calories is consumed, as long as the protein intake is the same in both cases.
Because you eat fewer carbohydrates, the percentage of proteins almost always increases.
This can lead to a feeling of fullness, among other things, so that people automatically eat fewer calories. A higher percentage of protein also ensures that less muscle mass is lost and the net result of fat loss is higher.
This does not mean that more is better and that you should eat unlimited protein. We are still dealing with a calorie budget and an optimal amount of protein that the body needs, no more than that.
Take home message
Low-carb does not cause more fat loss than high-carb when the same amount of calories is consumed and as long as the protein intake is the same in both cases. An excess of calories will make you gain weight, regardless of the source of those calories. That is not to say that a diet low in carbohydrates cannot work, on the contrary.
We have enough practice-oriented results where this works, but that is mainly a personal preference and situation-specific. On the other hand, we also have several hands-on results for which a low carbohydrate diet would definitely not have worked, even in the beginning!
low-carb weight loss: Final conclusion
Ultimately, the energy balance is and remains leading for weight loss. A diet low in carbohydrates is a relatively easy template for calorie restriction in the short term, but perhaps not for the long term in which you can also maintain the diet.
Discover and do what works for you physiologically, psychologically and in the short and long term!