Overall, low-carb is superior to low-fat for weight and fat-loss
However, athletes and those with higher insulin sensitivity may experience superior results from higher-carb diets
Higher-carb strategies are likely to be superior for muscle gain
Low-carb diets are also superior for the improvement of key cardiometabolic markers of future health risk
Adherence is best for low-carb (vs low-fat), especially for people who are insulin resistant
BUT behavioural factors play a role and any diet, based on nutrient-dense whole foods, that you can stick to, is the best diet for you
There is a growing awareness, and rising use of low-carbohydrate diets for health conditions, most especially metabolic syndrome and related disorders, and increasing interest in their use for cancer treatment (covered in a previous issue of CARR). They are also becoming extremely popular in the mainstream. For example, in the first ¼ of 2019, four of five Amazon best-sellers in the ‘Diet and Weight-loss’ category were based on low-carbohydrate diet principles and a google search for “Low-Carbohydrate Diet” returned over 44,000,000 results. Despite this mainstream popularity, many important areas within this area suffer from a lack of relevant research and there are many misconceptions about the relative merits of low-carb vs high-carb diets.
There is also very conflicting advice as to who should (or should not) use either a lower- or higher-carb diet and who will benefit most from either approach. There has been limited research looking into the ‘appropriateness’ of diets more or less carb-restricted for individuals.
In this article, I summarise the available research to try to get to the bottom of who should use a low-carb diet…and who should stick to a moderate or even higher-carb one?