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Comparing and Contrasting Low-Carbohydrate and Low-Fat Diets Essay

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Comparing and Contrasting Low-Carbohydrate and Low-Fat Diets



The low-carbohydrate diet and the low-fat diet take two different approaches to achieve the same goal of weight loss. The fundamental difference between the two diets is found in the comparison of their nutritional recommendations. Nutritional recommendations are the foundation of both diets, although their views on the role carbohydrates, proteins, and fats should play differs greatly. Dieters are told that following these nutritional recommendations will promote weight loss. The amount of weight loss achieved with either diet fluctuates over time and in the end, the results for the two diets are similar.

Low-carbohydrate diets recommend eating foods high in fat and protein while limiting carbohydrates in order to promote weight loss. Foods high in fat and protein are the main source of calories during the first phase of weight loss on the Atkins diet. It is recommended that fat make up about 60% of calories ingested and protein make up 35% of calories ingested. The Atkins diet does not restrict calorie intake and they recommend that you eat until you are full. Researchers believe that overeating is avoided due to the lasting satiety dieters receive from eating large amounts of protein. The Atkins diet allows 5% of calories to be from carbohydrates, ideally only from non-starchy vegetables. The logic behind the restriction of carbohydrates is that without them present in the blood, the body is more likely to utilize stored fat for energy. Unlike many other diets, restrictions are not placed on the kind of fat and protein to be consumed; dieters are able to choose for themselves whether to stick with lean meats and unsaturated fats or to choose fatty...


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...le to shed pounds more quickly than those dieters eating lots of carbohydrates on the low-fat diet.

Low-carbohydrate and low-fat diets require adherence to very different nutritional recommendations while ultimately achieving similar weight loss results. Low-carbohydrate diets, such as Atkins, encourage dieters to eat things high in protein and fat, whereas the low-fat diet requires dieters to eat mostly carbohydrates while limiting protein and fat intake. Researchers have found that both of these diets help to promote weight loss short term using strict nutritional recommendations, but that neither of them seem to be able to help dieters maintain their lower weight long term.

Sources:
Astrup, Arne, Thomas Meinert Larsen, Angela Harper. “Atkins and other Low-Carbohydrate Diets: Hoax or an Effective Tool for Weight Loss?” TheLancet.com 4 Sept.2004







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