Much has been said over the years about the ketogenic diet and with celebrities like Megan Fox, Mick Jagger, and Adriana Lima being fond proponents of the diet, it remains very popular.
What is the real difference between a ketogenic diet and a low-fat diet plan?
While many may swear about reducing fat intake, studies show low carb plans are actually more effective for both weight loss and reducing high cholesterol.
There are several low carbohydrate diets, but the ketogenic diet generally limits your carb intake to 20 to 50 grams a day. The ketogenic diet requires you to enter the stage of ketosis, and that generally does not occur unless you are consuming about 20 grams of carbohydrates per day.
A sample menu plan when you’re on a ketogenic diet looks like this:
Breakfast: bacon or sausage, eggs, and coffee with cream and stevia
Snack: 1 ounce of cheese with cucumbers or celery
Lunch: Tuna salad or egg salad wrapped in lettuce or lettuce wrapped burger
Snack: ½ avocado or 10 olives or flaxseed crackers with salsa
Dinner: Cajun chicken with a side of vegetables cooked in butter or steak with vegetables in butter or salad with olive oil and vinegar or grilled salmon with a side of spiral cut zucchini pasta with sauce Snacks between meals can also include string cheese, a cup of chicken broth, 6 almonds or peanuts, turkey lettuce wraps, hard-boiled eggs, smaller portions of leftover meals, 1 tablespoon of cream and much more.
Low Fat Versus Low Carb
Feeling Satisfied and Avoiding Hunger
The ketogenic diet typically is much more about choices instead of depravation because you are able to eat a wide variety of real, whole, and delicious food with lots of satisfying meats, chicken, seafood, cheese, non-starchy vegetables, and healthy fats.
It is easier to follow than a low-fat diet because low carb eating regulates the appetite, and naturally satisfies you so you eat less, without suffering and starvation. This is because eliminating carbs also eliminates erratic blood sugar spikes that cause out of control cravings and hunger.
Long Term Sustainability
One of the most important considerations in the actual success that any diet plan has or will have is its sustainability over the long term, and the overall success measure of any weight loss plan is the individual’s ability to keep the weight off for the long term.
In regards to the above, low carb wins over low fat because when individuals are satisfied and not white knuckling their way through the day, the probability of long-term success increases exponentially, this is one of the reasons that low carb is a lifestyle and not just a temporary diet.
What The Studies Show
A study by the Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina set out to compare the effects of a low fat diet versus a ketogenic diet program.
What they discovered over their 24 week that not only did the low carbohydrate diet retain more of the participants than the low fat group did, but they also lost more weight, and had a bigger decrease in triglyceride levels.
A low fat diet is generally a temporary diet, one that you cannot sustain because there are too many temptations to give in to; the ketogenic diet does not restrict you to the same level so it is easier to maintain on a long-term basis.
That means the weight you lose stays lost, and is the reason that low carb is a lifestyle and not just another fad diet.
More Studies Support Low Carb Diets Over Low Fat
Since 2002, more than 20 randomized controlled trials have been published in respected, peer-reviewed journals that demonstrate the fact that low carb diets are more effective for weight loss and completely safe without a single adverse effect, this cannot be said about many of the fad diets.
Several studies, including Volek et al, Foster GD, et al, Keogh et al, Westman et al, and Gardner et al have shown low carb eating to lead to more weight loss, and especially visceral fat (belly fat), and to improve HDL cholesterol, insulin levels, blood sugar levels, and blood pressure as compared to low fat plans.
The above studies and others support the fact that low carb wins over low fat in weight loss and reducing risks for heart disease. Of course, you should always ask your doctor before starting any diet plan.