Research: Low Carbohydrate diet is superior for weight loss

Research DefinitionResearch Definition

Restricting calories on low-carbohydrate results in more weight loss than a low-fat diet.

Products rich of complex carbohydrates.
Products rich of complex carbohydrates.

The low carbohydrate versus low fat argument seems to never ending and no two experts agree, but the evidence is growing in research. The macronutrient debate for weight loss will continue no matter how much research is down or how definitive the results of any future studies are determined to be.

The basis of the low carbohydrate diet is the carbohydrate-insulin hypothesis. This hypothesis states that a low-carbohydrate diet should produce a greater weight/fat loss compared to a low-fat/calorie diet because of a lower release hormone insulin. Many of the experts will argue that it is all matter of calories. From a ‘calories in, calories out’ perspective, restricting calories is the key o weight loss.

A new study looked to tack this question by comparing the two diets​[1]​. This study was not a new piece of research but was a systematic review of prior research that looked at 53 low-carbohydrate vs low-fat trials for weight loss. The researchers found that LC diets produced a greater weight loss when compared to low-fat diets. The results were significant and showed a difference of 4-5 pounds more weight loss in the low-carbohydrate diet.

The bottom line: This study iso one more stab in the heat of the it’s just calories argument. The ‘calories in, calories out’ perspective is just not true. A restricted calorie diet that low in carbohydrates is superior to a similar caloric count that is low in fat. Although it is less clear if the effect is significant on fat mass loss and theirs in to support for the insulin theory, I think a large single study may bare this out.


  1. [1]
    A. Basile, M. Renner, J. Scillian, and K. Sweazea, “Restricting Calories on Low-Carbohydrate vs Low-fat Diets for Weight Loss: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis,” Current Developments in Nutrition, pp. 1609–1609, May 2020, doi: 10.1093/cdn/nzaa063_007. [Online]. Available:
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About the Author

I am a family physician who has served in the US Army. In 2016, I found myself overweight, out of shape, and unhealthy, so I made a change to improve my health. This blog is the chronology of my path to better health and what I have learned along the way.

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