Which are better for weight loss- Low fat or low carbohydrate diets?

If you are confused about whether you should be on a low fat or a low carbohydrate diet, this article may help you decide which would work better for you. For years the media has been espousing the benefits of a low fat diet, but these diets did not work for everyone. More recently, several versions of low carbohydrate diets have been offered as the real solution to weight loss and health in general. As with health related topics, the right answer for you depends on your unique biochemical make-up. Just as each of us has our own unique fingerprints, so do we have different biochemistries.

Losing body fat is a complex physiological process that is governed by genetics, age, diet, exercise habits, metabolic factors, disease states, and medication. Although caloric intake is surely important, it is not the only dietary consideration. Another important aspect to consider is the body's hormonal response to foods.

Some people respond to dietary carbohydrates with an exaggerated production of insulin that can lead to a cycle of weight gain - food cravings - overconsumption of carbohydrates - more insulin and so on. These individuals do better on a low carbohydrate diet. On the other hand, those people who have a normal hormonal response to dietary carbohydrates tend to do better on a low-fat, high complex carbohydrate type diet.

There are several indicators to help decide which type of diet is best for you. If you experience hypoglycemia or are diabetic, or have a strong family history of type II diabetes, a low carbohydrate diet is probably for you. Additionally, if you crave carbohydrates, are blood type O, have high blood VLDL cholesterol and triglycerides, elevated fructosamine or glycosylated hemoglobin levels, or an abnormal carbohydrate challenge test, you are better off on a low carbohydrate diet. You can also choose your diet based on results of a genetic test offered by Interleukin Genetics, Inc., which checks three genes connected with carbohydrate and lipid metabolism. In the meantime, to get a clearer idea of which diet is best for you, take the following test. If you score 25 or higher, you need to limit your carbohydrate intake. If you score under 20, try a higher carbohydrate, low fat diet. No matter which type of diet followed, I believe it is in everyone's best interests, for both weight loss and overall health, to assure that the fats eaten are mostly fresh, unrefined poly and monounsaturates and that the carbohydrates eaten are largely complex and unrefined.


Please print out this page to take the test below: 

Please answer yes or no to every question. Add up all the numbers next to every "yes." 

(5)____ I have a tendency to higher blood pressure. 
(5)____ I gain weight easily, especially around my waist and have difficulty losing it. 
(5)____ I often experience mental confusion. 
(5)____ I often experience fatigue and generalized weakness. 
(10)___ I have diabetic tendencies. 
(4)____ I get tired and/or hungry in the mid-afternoon. 
(5)____ About an hour or two after eating a full meal that includes dessert, I want more of the dessert. 
(3)____ It is harder for me to control my eating for the rest of the day if I have a breakfast containing carbohydrates than it would be if I had only coffee or nothing at all. 
(4)____ When I want to lose weight, I find it easier not to eat for most of the day than to try to eat several small diet meals. 
(3)____ Once I start eating sweets, starches, or snack foods, I often have a difficult time stopping. 
(3)____ I would rather have an ordinary meal that included dessert than a gourmet meal that did not include dessert. 
(5)____ After finishing a full meal, I sometimes feel as if I could go back and eat the whole meal again. 
(3)____ A meal of only meat and vegetables leaves me feeling unsatisfied. 
(3)____ If I'm feeling down, a snack of cake or cookies makes me feel better. 
(3)____ If potatoes, bread, pasta, or dessert are on the table, I will often skip eating vegetables or salad. 
(4)____ I get a sleepy, almost "drugged" feeling after eating a large meal containing bread or pasta or potatoes and dessert, whereas I feel more energetic after a meal of only meat or fish and salad. 
(3)____ I have a hard time going to sleep at times without a bed time snack. 
(3)____ At times I wake up in the middle of the night and can't go back to sleep unless I eat something. 
(5)____ I get irritable if I miss a meal or mealtime is delayed. 
(2)____ At a restaurant I almost always eat too much bread, even before the meal is served. 
TOTAL: _____