Low Carb vs Low Fat for Weight Loss and Health; Studies, Testimonials - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 12-06-2013, 07:23 PM
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A thread where studies and testimonials of the various diet schemes are discussed in a friendly manner. Which one is better for weight loss and health, and why? Except in the studies where meat is used in the diet, it's to be assumed the low carb diet is veg*n friendly.

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Originally Posted by Kamizushi View Post

'I don't think that's a very good argument. The evidence of a low carb diet to promote weight loss is much stronger than veganism and that goes completely against what we are trying to advocate.

I guess if you really want to lose weight you may went to combine the two with a diet made of mostly fruits, greens and beans.'

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I'm confused, we're trying to advocate for veganism but the fact that the evidence of a low carb diet goes against this? As you said in your second paragraph, a low carb diet can be vegan. You can have low carb breakfasts, such as nuts and faux meats as referenced here.
http://veganbodybuilding.com/?page=article_ed_003

An average vegan diet can be high carb or high fat, but usually not high protein unless faux meat is involved by the USDA macro nutrient ratios of 45-65% carb, 20-35% fat, and 10-35% protein. The evidence of a high carb, low fat, moderate protein vegan diet for weight loss is documented just as well as the low carb diets, if not better with the addition of lower incidences and reversal of chronic disease. It seems to be proteins satiety effect that leads to a naturally occurring lower caloric intake. The bulk of high fiber, low calorie vegan foods have more or less the same effect, but with the stomach being full. Many ways to go about losing weight, veganism is no obstacle.

*When I say low or high, I mean falling outside the macro nutrient recommendations.
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Originally Posted by Kamizushi View Post

The question of whether low-fat or low-carb diets are better for loosing weight has been systematically studied several times and low-fat was never the winner. Here're links to every reviews I have found on Pubmed on the matter.


Meta-studies of which the result for low-carb was favorable compared to low fat: 
Effects of Low-Carbohydrate vs Low-Fat Dietson Weight Loss and Cardiovascular Risk Factors
Systematic review of randomized controlled trials of low-carbohydrate vs. low-fat/low-calorie diets in the management of obesity and its comorbidities.
Weight Loss with a Low-Carbohydrate, Mediterranean, or Low-Fat Diet


Meta-studies that couldn't demonstrate a difference between low-fat and low-carb:

 



Low-Fat Versus Low-Carbohydrate Weight Reduction Diets
Long-term effects of a very-low-carbohydrate weight loss diet compared with an isocaloric low-fat diet after 12 mo
Effects of low carbohydrate diets on weight and glycemic control among type 2 diabetes individuals: a systemic review of RCT greater than 12 weeks.​ (note: I couldn't find the full text)


Meta-studies of which the result for low-fat was favorable compared to low-carb: 
I couldn't find any.


Of course, both diets are favorable compared to the Standard American Diet but that's not a big contest.

When I get some time, I'll respond to these studies. Thanks for posting.
Edit:quoted to the best of my ability.
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#2 Old 12-06-2013, 10:14 PM
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The problem with the vast majority of studies on "low-fat" diets is the same, namely, the participants never really consume a low-fat diet. In the low-fat vs low-carb studies, its really looking at moderate fat intake vs high fat intake.

But.....the focus on fat intake is silly to begin with. The focus should be on consuming whole foods, a plant-based whole foods diet will tend to be low fat but one shouldn't take the low fat intake, in itself, to be a virtue. None of the studies cited look at whole foods based diets, just "low-fat" diets....and they fail even at that.
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#3 Old 12-07-2013, 05:27 AM
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@logic

The studies I have sited are all meta-studies but if you go to there source, the majority of studies compare the same quantity of fat calories cut back to the same quantity of carbs calories.

 

But if you are convinced that focusing on whole food is better at making people lose weight than low fat or low carbs, you are more than welcome to support what you are saying with pair-reviewed material.

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#4 Old 12-07-2013, 11:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kamizushi View Post

The studies I have sited are all meta-studies but if you go to there source, the majority of studies compare the same quantity of fat calories cut back to the same quantity of carbs calories.
When the individual studies are largely flawed, meta-studies aren't going to yield useful information. The studies you cited don't look at truly low-fat diets, instead the participants had moderate fat intake.
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Originally Posted by Kamizushi View Post

But if you are convinced that focusing on whole food is better at making people lose weight than low fat or low carbs, you are more than welcome to support what you are saying with pair-reviewed material.
There are hundreds of studies demonstrating the benefits, including lower BMI, of consuming fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts. A small sample:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3205742/
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22248995
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3257681/

Low-carb and low-fat are diet gimmicks, on the other hand diets rich in whole grains, legumes, fruits, vegetables and nuts are known to promote health...including a normal BMI.
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#5 Old 12-08-2013, 05:46 AM
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Quote:

This study investigates the effect of whole grains on postprandial glycemia and says nothing about weight gain or loss.

Quote:

Originally Posted by logic View Post
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22248995

 

This studies(here's the full text) talks about eating fruits and veggies and says nothing about if they must be whole not about whole foods in general.

 

Quote:

This study explicitaly talks about the consumption of nuts in any forms, not necessarily whole. While some of the reasons given why they do not promote weight gain as much as their energy content implies it could suggest that only whole nuts matter, it doesn't even come close to comparing a whole food based diet to a low fat or a low carbs one.

 

 

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Originally Posted by logic View Post

Low-carb and low-fat are diet gimmicks
 

You have yet to substenciate this claim.

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#6 Old 12-08-2013, 06:01 AM
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Originally Posted by logic View Post


More efficient in what sense? If all the diet gimmicks were actually effective.....the majority of Americans wouldn't be overweight

The studies I have cited do investigate the long term effect a sustained low carb diet or a sustained low fat diet and they support that loss of weight is maintained in both cases. Furthermore, if the implications that you are making worked, they would apply equally to whole foods. I have yet to hear any argument from you why you think whole food is better than anything else except for special pleading, appeals to nature and appeals to tradition. 

 

Furthermore, even your usual appeal to nature argument, if it has ever logically worked, still wouldn't work in this context. For most of human history, starvation was a much more common cause of death than obesity, such that if the logic of our appeals to nature worked(which they don't) the conclusion would be that humans should be much better at taking out the maximum amount of calories from whole food as opposed to processed food, and hence should promote weight gain.

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#7 Old 12-08-2013, 08:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kamizushi View Post

This study investigates the effect of whole grains on postprandial glycemia and says nothing about weight gain or loss.
Which has an obvious relationship with weight issues, but this is just one of many studies:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15531671

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kamizushi View Post

This studies(here's the full text) talks about eating fruits and veggies and says nothing about if they must be whole not about whole foods in general.
Fruits and vegetables are whole foods and as such a study on them isn't going to explicitly mention "whole foods".

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kamizushi View Post

This study explicitaly talks about the consumption of nuts in any forms, not necessarily whole.
Again, nuts are a whole food so there is not any "other form". Nuts are typically consumed roasted or as nut butters, both of which are whole foods as nothing has been removed in both cases. Peanut oil, on the other hand, is not a whole food....but a study like this isn't going to classify peanut oil consumption as nut consumption.
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Originally Posted by Kamizushi View Post

it doesn't even come close to comparing a whole food based diet to a low fat or a low carbs one.

You have yet to substenciate this claim.
I didn't cite these studies to compare a plant-based whole foods diet to low-fat or low-carb diets, I cited them as evidence that whole grains, legumes, fruits, vegetables and nuts are associated with positive weight management. The studies I cited is just a very small sample of the research, after all, what I'm suggesting is mainstream science.....not claims from diet gurus.

The people promoting low-fat and low-carb diets need to substantiate their claims, so far the long-term studies on these diets do not demonstrate that they are effective ways to management weight long-term.
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#8 Old 12-08-2013, 09:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kamizushi View Post

The studies I have cited do investigate the long term effect a sustained low carb diet or a sustained low fat diet and they support that loss of weight is maintained in both cases.
The studies you cited were not long-term, long-term isn't 12~24 months...its decades. And the weight loss demonstrated even in these short-term studies isn't impressive. Can you cite a study that shows either of these diets to be effective for long-term weight management?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kamizushi View Post

Furthermore, even your usual appeal to nature argument, if it has ever logically worked, still wouldn't work in this context. For most of human history, starvation was a much more common cause of death than obesity, such that if the logic of our appeals to nature worked(which they don't) the conclusion would be that humans should be much better at taking out the maximum amount of calories from whole food as opposed to processed food, and hence should promote weight gain.
Sorry you lost me here.....what appeals to nature are you referring to?

I haven't said much for "the argument" for whole-foods based diets because, well, its mainstream science. For example,if one opens a Nutrition 101 textbook, they'll find it promotes a whole-foods style diet for health and weight management. But I can explain "the argument" if you'd like.
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#9 Old 12-08-2013, 10:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by logic View Post

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15531671

Again, no comparison to low-fat or low carbs whatsoever.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by logic View Post



Fruits and vegetables are whole foods and as such a study on them isn't going to explicitly mention "whole foods".
Again, nuts are a whole food so there is not any "other form". Nuts are typically consumed roasted or as nut butters, both of which are whole foods as nothing has been removed in both cases. Peanut oil, on the other hand, is not a whole food....but a study like this isn't going to classify peanut oil consumption as nut consumption.
 
Here's how the study you yourself cited explain what they meant by nut consumption:
"In Western countries nuts are consumed as snacks, desserts or part of a meal, and are eaten whole (fresh or roasted), in spreads (peanut butter, almond paste), as oils or hidden in commercial products, mixed dishes, sauces, pastries, ice creams and baked goods."
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by logic View Post

I didn't cite these studies to compare a plant-based whole foods diet to low-fat or low-carb diets, I cited them as evidence that whole grains, legumes, fruits, vegetables and nuts are associated with positive weight management. 
What is not a point under contention.
 
 
Quote:
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The studies I cited is just a very small sample of the research, after all, what I'm suggesting is mainstream science.....not claims from diet gurus.
The studies I cited come from from same source as yours: Pubmed. Why the heck are you trying to poison the well by incinuating that Pubmed are diet gurus when I cite from them but that they are not when you do?
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by logic View Post

The people promoting low-fat and low-carb diets need to substantiate their claims, so far the long-term studies on these diets do not demonstrate that they are effective ways to management weight long-term.
Quote:
Originally Posted by logic View Post


The studies you cited were not long-term, long-term isn't 12~24 months...its decades. And the weight loss demonstrated even in these short-term studies isn't impressive. Can you cite a study that shows either of these diets to be effective for long-term weight management?
Sorry you lost me here.....what appeals to nature are you referring to?

 

If I cite a study that demonstrate an improvement in weight for several years for people on low-fat or low-carb diets, will your recognize that your standards have been met or will you move the goal-post further behind?
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by logic View Post
I haven't said much for "the argument" for whole-foods based diets because, well, its mainstream science. For example,if one opens a Nutrition 101 textbook, they'll find it promotes a whole-foods style diet for health and weight management. But I can explain "the argument" if you'd like.
Do I have to remind you of what this thread is about? This thread is about comparing which of a low-carb diet or a low fat diet is the most potent at making people lose weight. It is not about any other potential benefits that this or that diet could have (losing weight isn't even a health benefit for everyone). If you claim that whole-foods is better then them all, you need to substantiate your claim.
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#10 Old 12-08-2013, 10:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kamizushi View Post

Again, no comparison to low-fat or low carbs whatsoever.
And again, I'm not trying to make a comparison...."low-fat" and "low-carb" represent huge classes of diets and as such I don't find them useful descriptors of dietary patterns. On the other hand, a plant-based whole foods diet is a particular dietary and can fit into either of these broad groups depending on the food choices, though admittedly a low-carb whole foods plant-based diet would be fairly difficult to maintain.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kamizushi View Post

In Western countries nuts are consumed as snacks, desserts or part of a meal, and are eaten whole (fresh or roasted), in spreads (peanut butter, almond paste), as oils or hidden in commercial products, mixed dishes, sauces, pastries, ice creams and baked goods.
Yes, that is how nut products are consumed in the west....yet studies on "nuts" are on the whole food not refined nut products like peanut oil. But, as before, this is just one of many articles you can find on the topic:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18716179
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/238271
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2359587829


But nuts, being one of the most calorie rich whole foods, is obviously the one that can be the most problematic weight-wise....but that makes all the studies showing an inverse relationship between nut consumption and weight that more surprising.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kamizushi View Post

If I cite a study that demonstrate an improvement in weight for several years for people on low-fat or low-carb diets, will your recognize that your standards have been met or will you move the goal-post further behind?
"My standards" are simply those of nutritional science, a single study even if its long-term and well done can't, in itself, confirm a hypothesis. But I'm just asking you for one study as contrary to your claim, none of the studies you cited were long-term studies that showed meaningful weight-loss. Do you know of such a study?
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Originally Posted by Kamizushi View Post

Do I have to remind you of what this thread is about? This thread is about comparing which of a low-carb diet or a low fat diet is the most potent at making people lose weight.
I've been discussing the thread topic, as I said above, "low-fat" and "low-carb" may be useful in selling diet books but they aren't useful descriptors of diets. They are general categories of eating patterns and as such are nearly impossible to research as there are many different ways one could consume a "low-fat" or "low-carb" diet. So, given the question in the OP:

"A thread where studies and testimonials of the various diet schemes are discussed in a friendly manner. Which one is better for weight loss and health, and why? "

My answer is that the question itself is not well formed since "low-fat" and "low-carb" are far too general of categories to be meaningfully compared. I think, to some degree, the OP was noting this as he noted that vegan diets can be either low-fat or low-carb depending on the food choices.
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#11 Old 12-08-2013, 04:01 PM
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I haven't read through the studies referenced here, except the first one cited by Kamizuki, which interestingly was directed by someone recieving funding by the Weston price foundation. Only one of those low fat diets was Ornish in nature.

My definition of low fat, or low carb would be falling outside of the USDA macro nutrient parameters. I'm not aware of a widely accepted definition of 'low carb/protein/fat' in terms of percentage otherwise.

Let me cite from Brooks, G.A., and J. Mercier, 1994.


I have another graph that beautifully illustrates a low carb diets decimation of glycogen stores over a three day period with only two hours cycling per day, but it is under copyright and I haven't gotten permission to use it.

The National Academy of Sciences sets the RDA for adults at 130 g carbohydrates daily just to supply the brain with enough glucose to function. The average US citizen drinks 40 gal of soda per year, which is an average 16,420 g or 267 cups. We can all agree we could do without eating these carbohydrates, as they are purely empty calories which may lead to obesity and brief increases in serum LDL and triglycerides, and decrease in HDL. It's a shame that sweet fruit gets lumped in with added sugars, as the average US citizen only eats 2 servings of fruit or vegetables a day.

Edit:autocorrect error
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#12 Old 12-08-2013, 07:06 PM
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I have another graph that beautifully illustrates a low carb diets decimation of glycogen stores over a three day period with only two hours cycling per day, but it is under copyright and I haven't gotten permission to use it.
This would relate to athletic performance, and I don't think many people could promote a low-carbohydrate diet for athletes with a straight face, but perhaps low glycogen stores are beneficial for weight loss?

Honestly, I've never known someone in person that is active and consumes a low-carbohydrate diet, all the low-carbohydrate diet people I know are overweight and sluggish.
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#13 Old 12-08-2013, 08:14 PM
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This would relate to athletic performance, and I don't think many people could promote a low-carbohydrate diet for athletes with a straight face, but perhaps low glycogen stores are beneficial for weight loss?

Honestly, I've never known someone in person that is active and consumes a low-carbohydrate diet, all the low-carbohydrate diet people I know are overweight and sluggish.

I would personally try a whole food plant based, no added sugar or oil diet before I tried a low carb diet. In the gym and fitness scene, there is a fair amount of people who are into low carb dieting. Bulletproof coffee, coconut oil, almond flour baked goods, avocado, all the meats, eggs, dairy, and low calorie vegetables. Fruit is a desert only item, sweet potato as the carbohydrate source, and caffeine as energy to work out.

Here is a glimpse, you will see a 'I used to be a vegetarian...' post on the front page.

http://www.reddit.com/r/keto

Edit: here we go, low carb vegan and vegan fitness

http://www.reddit.com/r/veganketo

http://www.reddit.com/r/veganfitness

I am on an exercise tracking website, where the founders are low carb paleo primal keto adherents. There was once a Vegan employee of the company, but she eats meat now. A popular group within the site called 'healthy eating' generates lively, if not violent, discussion. Bacon, butter, saturated fat, and cholesterol are considered health foods there, it's pretty bizarre. The endurance sport groups are resistant to low carb diets, as they should be for optimal performance.

I would like to see these low carb folks have a vegan way to eat and be satisfied.

Edit: I appreciate the links to the studies logic and kamizushi. It is important for credibility to represent the benefits of various diets without making red herrings, confirmation bias, or straw man arguments, and we have done well in this regard.

To summarize what my nutrition text says; 55-60% carb, 20-30% fat, 15-20% protein DASH diet with a deficit of 500-1000 kcal/day with no less than 1,200 kcal/day with physical activity encouraged, lose weight, decrease LDL, decrease triglycerides, decrease Blood pressure.
Low carb; less than 100g carb, 55-65% fat, balance of energy intake as protein, ketogenic in nature, decrease blood glucose and insulin and appetite, lose weight and improve metabolic health but no greater than higher carb diets.
Low fat; 11-19% fat, Ornish, Pritkin, reverse heart disease, decrease LDL, cholesterol, triglycerides, glucose, insulin, and blood pressure, increase flattus which decreases with time, not considered safe for diabetics. Some fat soluble vitamin intake might need supplementation with below 10% kcal from fat.

Some potential downsides of ketosis may be dehydration, acetone breath, ketoacidosis which may lead to loss of lean body mass and tissue damage, and gluconeogenesis using proteins in blood and tissues for glucose creation. High animal fat intake is associated strongly with prostate cancer, but not plant based fat. Heart disease is more than any other chronic disease associated with high saturated and trans fat intake.

Edit 2: I don't mind discussing different diet programs that shift macro nutrients away from what could be called 'low carb' or 'low fat', it seems to me that these are the most popular diet programs from across the internet. I imagine the average plant based whole food diet to be low fat relative to a keto diet, but I don't know how many nuts and avocados people are eating.
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#14 Old 01-09-2014, 03:22 PM
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For a while after going vegan I got all caught up in the low fat vs low carb debate. I've come to truly believe neither is a requirement (or even desirable) for good health or weight management. Eating whole foods plant based is sufficient. Balance grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables. Eat some nuts. Avoid oils. Call it good and move on.

If you find it necessary to try to play low fat off against low carb, have a great time, but to me, the whole debate is purely marketing to sell books/plans/services and is totally unnecessary.

Ken
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#15 Old 01-13-2014, 07:52 AM
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Quote:
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For a while after going vegan I got all caught up in the low fat vs low carb debate. I've come to truly believe neither is a requirement (or even desirable) for good health or weight management. Eating whole foods plant based is sufficient. Balance grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables. Eat some nuts. Avoid oils. Call it good and move on.

If you find it necessary to try to play low fat off against low carb, have a great time, but to me, the whole debate is purely marketing to sell books/plans/services and is totally unnecessary.

Ken
This times a million.
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