Low Carb vs Low Fat Diets – Which is Best?

By Nancy Andrews

Low Carb vs Low Fat Diets – Which is Best?

Oct 25th, 2010 | By Nancy Andrews | Category: Coach Nancy - The Way I See It..., Nutrition & Weight Loss

Nancy 150 Days3 Low Carb vs Low Fat Diets   Which is Best?I get email regularly from clients looking to lose fat and often I’m asked which diet they should follow, a low carbohydrate diet or a low fat diet.

The best diet watches both.  But you can move either way on spectrum where as you add more carb, you have to take out more fat.  And, conversely, as you add more fat you must remove more carb.  The adjustments here go beyond just keeping a total calorie total for anygiven day (although you’ll want to look at that also).  As you eat more carb, the body will stop using fat stores for energy needs.  So as you add more carb, don’t eat fat with it or it will be stored as fat.

I recommend for people starting a new diet to follow a diet that has a 30/40/30 ratio of carb/protien /fat calories.  That will be lower carb for most people (compared to what they have been eating) and it will also likely be lower fat.  As you do eat carbohydrates, make sure that they don’t come from processed wheat products or sugar.  That means cookies are off the diet!

Now if you want to accelerate your rate of fat loss, bring your carbs per day down to .75 – .8 grams per pound of bodyweight.  So if you weigh 150 lbs, then you would only consume between 112 – 120 grams of carbohydrate each day.  This will be 30 – 40 grams less than you would have had otherwise.  Now you can add the 120 – 150 calories you’ll lose each day (take your grams of carbs x 4) back in divided between protein and fat.

If you have a question you’d like me to answer, be sure to stop over at our forums and ask there!


P.S. check out [my p90x diet] guidelines.

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  1. Nancy,

    I have figured out based on your formula that my daily diet should look like this

    124 gms protein= 500 calories
    124 gms carbs=500 calories
    47.50 gms of fat=425 calories

    I will admit I am a bit under educated when it comes to diet. My question is this I’m sure many foods have components of protein, fat and carbs, do I need to track each of these each day? It seems like a lot of work, is there an easier way?

  2. Hi Kathy,

    I agree that tracking your macro nutrients, carb/protein/fat, each day takes time. But in the beginning you really need to and here’s why. If you put on weight it’s because you ate too many calories and, I’ll guarantee this, you ate the wrong portions of these macro nutrients. I’ve not had a client yet that didn’t. So you need to retrain your eating habits and the only realistic way to do this is to keep a daily diary. However after 2 or 3 weeks, you’ll know what you can and can’t eat so it becomes a natural part of your daily activities.

    I started out with a daily diary and after 3 weeks was able to stop using it. Now I don’t use one unless my weight fluctuates up 2lbs and then I know something is getting off kilter so I start up again to figure out where I’ve gone wrong.


    P.S., Feel free to come over to our members area at http://www.pressplayfitness.com/members/ if you want to have more extended discussions.

  3. Nancy, I had an interesting debate with a friend on FB regarding olive oil. I have been using olive oil as a good source of fat due to it’s monounsaturated properties which maintain cholesterol levels. And of course, you need some good fat to help your body burn fat. But others think it’s bad for you. What is your opinion? I personally disagree with them because I have included olive oil and avocado in my diet as a good source of fat burning and I have lost 15 llbs.
    I think there is a big mis-conception about olive oil and avocados, if you ask me.

  4. Hi Lori,

    I had an interesting debate with a friend on FB regarding olive oil. I have been using olive oil as a good source of fat due to it’s monounsaturated properties which maintain cholesterol levels. And of course, you need some good fat to help your body burn fat. But others think it’s bad for you.

    Not sure who those ‘others’ are or what rock they are living under. Really, they need to do some basic research. Here’s a list of findings regarding olive oil based on research:

    1)The body burns the fats in olive oil relatively easily, whereas it prefers to convert animal and dairy fats into body fat. French physiologists discovered this while working for the space organisations ESA, NASDA and CNES.

    2)In a Japanese animal study, the phenols in olive oil raise the metabolic rate because they increase the concentration of adrenalin and noradrenalin, both stimulatory hormones. This may mean that it’s easier to maintain your weight if you get more of your dietary fat from olive oil.

    3)Olive oil lowers bad cholesteral. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/food-and-nutrition/AN01037

    4)University of Granada (2008, January 21). Consuming Extra Virgin Olive Oil Helps To Combat Degenerative Diseases Such As Cancer, Study Suggests.

    5)Javier Menendez from the Catalan Institute of Oncology and Antonio Segura-Carretero from the University of Granada in Spain led a team of researchers who set out to investigate which parts of olive oil were most active against cancer. Menendez said, “Our findings reveal for the first time that all the major complex phenols present in extra-virgin olive oil drastically suppress overexpression of the cancer gene HER2 in human breast cancer cells”. Javier A Menendez, Alejandro Vazquez-Martin, Rocio Garcia-Villalba, Alegria Carrasco-Pancorbo, Cristina Oliveras-Ferraros, Alberto Fernandez-Gutierrez and Antonio Segura-Carretero. Anti-HER2 (erbB-2) oncogene effects of phenolic compounds directly isolated from commercial Extra-Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO). BMC Cancer, (in press)

    1)New research from Ohio State University shows that avocados act as a “nutrient booster,” allowing the body to significantly absorb more heart-healthy and cancer-fighting nutrients like alpha-carotene, beta-carotene and lycopene found in fruits and vegetables. Dr. David Heber, Professor of Medicine at the UCLA School of Medicine and author of What Color Is Your Diet?, concurs with Dr. Schwartz. “While it is well known that fats help in the absorption of colorful compounds that are good for you such as lycopene from tomatoes and lutein from dark greens, the good fats from olives and avocados are better for you than many processed salad dressings made with hydrogenated vegetable oils.”

    2)Ounce-per-ounce, avocados rank highest in monounsaturated fat, vitamin E, folate, potassium, magnesium, lutein, beta-sitosterol and glutathione, compared to other commonly eaten fruits.

    Of course, if you really want to blow the minds of these under educated “others”, tell them to read the TNT Diet (Targeted Nutrition Tactics) book and reference chapter 13: Saturated Fat And The American Paradox. If they’d actually do a bit of reading, they’d find out that the concept of saturated fat being bad for us is actually based on one, subsequently challenged study. The study was challenged a couple years after publishing due to questionable data limitation tactics used in the study where data from countries that didn’t support their premise that satuarted fats lead to heart disease were excluded. Some fatty acids in saturated fats are actually heart healthy.

    Of course, I find people like to cling to health concepts almost as tightly as they cling to religion no matter how many studies you produce. Anyone who won’t actually do any research is ignorant and I would not waste time with them discussing health issues.

  5. I concur with your response, Nancy. The ‘others’ are college educated, intelligent people who think any high fats are bad, I guess.

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