Losing weight can be tough. There are so many diets and plans and they all claim to be the right path. But what method actually works best for losing weight?
Of all the different types of diets, they usually come down to two main factors; low carb or low calorie.
Most people who lose weight focus on one of these two methods. But which one works better? Unfortunately, it’s a little complex, or else there wouldn’t be so much debate between the two.
So what is the difference?
Low calorie diets are mostly focused on the concept of eating less. It can be more complicated than that; but that’s a good way to summarize it. You’re eating less food as well as foods that pack on less pounds. You set a certain amount of calories to eat each day. For example, 1,200 calories. The goal is to simply eat less calories than you burn during the day.
Low carb is a bit more complex in how it works. Carbohydrates are used by your body to produce energy. When you’re on a low carb diet, your body doesn’t have as much energy to run on. So, your body has to burn fat as an alternative source of energy.
You can see how either of these can cause you to lose weight, but they each have their pros and cons.
Low carb diets tend to be the more controversial of the two, so we’ll take a look at that one first.
One of the big concerns with low carb is that it sounds a lot like starving yourself; your body is being forced to burn fat since it’s not getting enough energy. This isn’t entirely true. your body is still getting what it needs. But there can be health concerns involved.
One of the hardest parts about low carb diets is that there is very little room for cheating whatsoever. Once your body goes into this special fat burning mode, it needs to stay that way in order to achieve weight loss. If you get too many carbs in your diet on a certain day, your body will go back to using carbs for energy since that is the first thing your body naturally turns to for fuel. Stray too much from the low-carb way of eating and it will take several days to get your body back into fat burning mode.
Basically, if you cheat on the diet for a single meal; you slow down or stop the diet for nearly a week.
Low carb diets are preferred by a lot of people because of how fast they work. People are often amazed at how fast the pounds just fall off. However, something to note is that low carb diets require you to stay on the diet long-term to a certain extent.
Once you drop the diet, you may gain the weight back just as quickly as you lost it if you return to eating a lot of carbs.
This is where low carb and low calorie start showing their differences.
Low calorie diets tend to work much slower than low carb. Instead of losing weight right away and in great amounts, (low carb diets often tend to shed several pounds in the first week) low calorie diets tend to be more about slow and steady progress.
But unlike low carb, low calorie diets tend to be more forgiving. If you cheat on a meal, sure; it will set you back a bit. But it won’t ruin your progress for the entire week. Dropping a low calorie diet also doesn’t tend to give you the weight back as rapidly as dropping a low carb diet does.
So for many people, low calorie is preferred because it is more manageable long term. Low calorie diets also allow you to eat almost anything, as long as it is in portioned amounts. Low carb on the other hand has some foods that are mostly eliminated, such as bread and pasta; because they are so high in carbs it’s almost impossible to eat them without going over your daily limit.
Since low calorie is more forgiving and easier to maintain over a long period of time, it tends to be the more common type of diet, even though you’ll have to work much longer before you see progress. Low carb can be useful for a quick diet (such as needing to lose five pounds to fit into a tux or wedding dress) but for some it’s not as practical when trying to make a long term life change.
The ultimate success of any eating plan is determined by your ability to change your lifestyle long-term and think of it as “healthy eating” not a short term “diet”.