Health & Wellness

Low Fat vs. Low Carb

10.12.11 Diets_Low_Carbs

There seems to be a constant deluge of diet strategies these days, many times creating confusion and too often ending in temporary results.  Droves of dieters have opted for the trendy lo/no carb craze fueled by the popular Atkins diet – significantly restricting carbohydrates to regain our health or keep off unwanted pounds.  On the other end of the spectrum, millions have followed the diet regimen of famed nutritionist Nathan Pritikin, who contended a low-fat diet with aerobic exercise will not only make you lose weight but can eradicate a myriad of degenerative diseases.   So who’s right?  Cotton Candy contributor and founder of Body Structure NYC Ginnie Hill gives us the pros and the cons for each of these popular dieting options.

LOW-FAT PROS:
–          More variety and flexibility
–          May be beneficial for those involved in long endurance activity.  Muscle glycogen is required for activities such as distance running and biking.  These can only be obtained by carbohydrate-based foods, which are naturally low in fat.

LOW-FAT CONS:
–         Without fat or protein, blood sugar will surge then rapidly drop leading to fatigue.
–          People often replace high-fat natural foods with unhealthy, sugary processed food.
–          Risk of hormone imbalance; fat is required to produce sex hormones such as progesterone, estrogen, DHEA and testosterone.
–          Too much insulin production leading to risk of diabetes.
–          Risk of fat soluble vitamin deficiency, specifically vitamins D and A, which can only be found naturally in animal products like egg yolks, liver and butter.

LOW-CARB PROS:
–          Higher levels of satiety.
–          Elimination or reduction in cravings for sugar.
–          Lowered intake of processed foods.
–          Better blood sugar regulation.
–          Fast weight loss.

LOW-CARB CONS:
–          Poor energy due to lack of glucose in the brain when consuming an extreme amount of low-carbs.
–          Less variety leading to risk of boredom.
–          Relying too much on soy or dairy.  Excess soy consumption can cause some health problems including thyroid dysfunction, digestive distress, hormone imbalance and protein malabsorption.  Many people unknowingly have a delayed immune reaction to the casein protein in dairy or are lactose intolerant.
–          Not eating  enough different fruit and vegetables to cover vitamin and mineral requirements.

Final Note: Overall, studies show more health risks associated with a diet too low in fat versus too low in carbohydrates.  But even with this wealth nutrition information and education, about one-third of U.S. adults are obese.  Our bodies need macronutrients in every meal to be vital, lean and healthy.  A well-balanced diet should include organic fruits and vegetables; free-range poultry, wild-caught fish, grass-fed meats.  Also add healthy fats like coconut, olive oil, avocado and pastured butter.  Avoid junk food, processed foods, margarine, cheap vegetable oils, fried foods and high-fructose corn syrup. As always, monitor how you are feeling, and don’t continue with any plan that makes you feel unwell, beyond a settling-in period.  Your body never lies.


Written by: Ginne Hill

Ginnie Hill, founder of Body Structure NYC, is a certified Functional Diagnostic Nutritionist, CHEK Holistic Lifestyle Coach, Certified Personal Trainer, and CHEK Practitioner.  Hill is dedicated to developing highly individualized nutrition, exercise and wellness programs that provide ongoing support and inspiration for each client to meet the desired goals.

Cotton Candy Magazine®