What's the Best Diet for Fat Loss?
Updated: Feb 16, 2020
While there may be other benefits from following one diet strategy over another, from strictly a fat-loss stance, it’s not so much the strategy you use, but rather your calorie and protein intake (along with essential fats). In fact, there’s plenty of research to support this.
For example, a recent review of 32 studies comparing low-carb to low-fat diets, which matched calories and protein, found no further fat-loss benefit in overweight and obese individuals.(1)
What’s more, a recent yearlong study conducted on 609 overweight and obese people looked at the differences between following a low-carb vs. low-fat diet.(2) They split the people into two groups and had them follow one diet strategy or the other.
The result? Both groups lost body fat with no significant differences between them. Protein and calorie intake was relatively the same for both groups too.
Similarly, a review on intermittent fasting protocols vs. continuous energy restriction (CER) showed no significant difference in weight or fat loss.(3) While a yearlong study comparing alternate day fasting vs. CER (6 months in a calorie deficit and 6 months on maintenance calories) also showed no significant difference in weight or fat loss.(4) Keep in mind that calories and protein were the same for both groups over the length of the study, but obviously varied day to day.
Therefore, it doesn’t look like one diet strategy is better than another (assuming calories and protein are set accordingly - along with essential fats). What looks to be of the utmost importance is your ability to adhere to the diet. Adherence is everything. So, if you’re specifically focused on losing fat, go with the diet strategy that you can consistently follow.
And now you know. :-)
For more information: 1. Hall, KD. et al. Obesity Energetics: Body Weight Regulation and the Effects of Diet Composition. Gastroenterology. 2017 May;152(7):1718-1727.
2. Gardner, CD. et al. Effect of Low-Fat vs Low-Carbohydrate Diet on 12-Month Weight Loss in Overweight Adults and the Association With Genotype Pattern or Insulin Secretion The DIETFITS Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA. 2018 Feb 20;319(7):667-679.
3. Seimon, RV. et al. Do intermittent diets provide physiological benefits over continuous diets for weight loss? A systematic review of clinical trials. Mol Cell Endocrinol. 2015 Dec 15;418:153-72.
4. Trepanowski, JF. et al. Effect of Alternate-Day Fasting on Weight Loss, Weight Maintenance, and Cardioprotection Among Metabolically Healthy Obese Adults: A Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA Internal Medicine. 2017 Jul 1;177(7):930-938.