General Diet Plans and Questions - Low carb or low calorie?

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01-26-2011, 03:38 AM
Which is a more effective diet/lifestyle for weightloss?

01-26-2011, 01:16 PM
There is no easy answer.

To some degree, all weight loss boils down to burning more calories than you take in, but that doesn't mean that all calories are equal.

You might (or might not) lose more on 1500 calories of low-carb eating than on 1500 calories of high-carb eating.

Some people find that they lose about the same, no matter how their calories are distributed. Other people find they lose better on one, and some people find they're satisfied with fewer calories on one plan versus another.

For years I thought "a calorie is a calorie," assuming that I would lose the exact same weight on 1500 calories of snickers bars as 1500 calories of lean meats and veggies, as 1500 calories of fruit.

I've proved myself wrong in several ways. I'd advise keeping a food journal and experimenting (just give each food plan a two month trial, ideally even longer).

I found that I lose more on 1800 calories of low-carb as on 1200 - 1500 calories of high-carb (when I've meticulously recorded my calorie intake and not going off plan).

I've also found that I am much hungrier on high carb eating. On 1,000 calories of low-carb (not that I'm advocating ever going that low), I'm less hungry than on 3,000 calories of high carb. As a result, it's harder for me to stick to low-calorie/high carb than low-calorie/low-carb.

I also found that my health issue symptoms respond positively to a low-carb diet. I have fewer flares of pain and fatigue from fibro/arthritis and have fewer autoimmune disease symptoms when I keep carb levels moderate to low. My bloodwork also has been consistently improving on low-carb as well.

So for me it's a no brainer. Better weight loss with less hunger, more food
and an improvement in energy level and health - low carb.

But just because low-carb is more effective for me, doesn't mean it will be for you.

01-26-2011, 06:04 PM
I feel less hungry when I keep my carbs under 100 grams a day. I've learned this from experimenting. I ate high carbs for breakfast and lunch today. Even though the calories were average, I feel very hungry right now. I usually count both.

Like Kaplods, I also have less inflammation/autoimmune symptoms when my carbs are lower.

If you find a plan you can live with for the long haul, you'll be most successful.

01-26-2011, 06:07 PM
Low Carb. I can stick to a plan if I'm low carb. If I'm eating smaller portions of regular carbs I want to eat, eat, eat. I don't know if it has always been that way but now that I'm older that's the way it is.

01-26-2011, 06:26 PM
If your are talking long term you need a well balanced diet. Reducing your calories will make you loose weight but you have to make sure that what you consume brings the nutrient your body needs to be healthy.

Carbs often have lots of calories think about bread, rice, pasta but some carbs are good for you such as whole grains, vegetables and fruits. You need to make wise choices. A slice of whole wheat bread is about the same amount of calories than a slice of white bread but the wheat is better for you.

Loosing weight is simple follow the guidelines already established such as the food pyramid, make wise choices and control portion and you will loose weight without putting your health at risk.

01-27-2011, 05:07 AM
Which is a more effective diet/lifestyle for weightloss?

I recommend neither low-carb or low-cal...ever. None of those diets are nutritionally sound, and should only be used under specialized circumstances; an example would be life-threatening obesity. Even then I'm not entirely sure its safe, but I'm not a physician. If you want to diet, here is what I recommend to you.

Dieting is all about choosing the right foods. It is not about deprivation. Will calorie/carb deprivation get you to lose weight fast? Absolutely. Is it healthy? Absolutely not. Will you keep that weight off? Almost absolutely not. The average person can lose weight quickly by simply making better food choices and exercising regularly. I blame fad diets for skewing everyone's image of what a diet is.

Eat carbs, lots of carbs. Nutritionally speaking, a balanced diet will yield half of your calories from carbs. This is of course a ballpark figure, as some diets recommend as low as 40% of your calories from carbs. In my opinion, 50% is a pretty good number to shoot for. What kind of carbs should you eat? You should eat primarily whole grains. Toss the white/wheat bread, and buy only whole grain bread. Other sources of complex carbohydrates (ie whole grains, fiber) are starchy veggies and nuts. Of course, you're body needs sugar eat fruits/low fat dairy products to get yourself some simple sugars. Low fat dairy is the key here, as whole dairy products contain unnecessary saturated fat calories. The less of those the better, trust me.

When it comes to fats, avoid saturated fats. Polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats are very very good for you. You will get those from whole grains, as well as other starchy foods.

Proteins are very important of course, get plenty of protein from low-fat dairy, lean meats (only lean), and nuts. Don't buy those greasy planter's nuts..get some nice natural mix of nuts. On the label you should see mono/polyunsaturated fats. You want natural organic nuts that havent been dunked in fattening oil.

Eat often, and in small portions. Three to four meals a day, with snacks in between. When you snack, only snack on fruits/veggies/nuts. Avoid empty calories at all costs, although the occasional treat wont hurt. Above all exercise about 4-6 times a week. If you stick to this you WILL lose weight. To make a long story short, eating the right foods and often keeps your metabolism high. Exercising further increases your metabolic rate as well. The higher your metabolic rate, the more calories you burn, and as you burn calories fat calories will go away as well.

To all interested, I recently started a blog on diet/nutrition/fitness. There you'll find some articles, information, and recommendations to get you educated on how to diet without wrecking your health or your metabolism. Questions and comments are welcome, the more information spread the better. If you found this post at all helpful or interesting, please visit

I really like what this site does, and will be sure to add it to my blog as a recommended link next time I log in. Take care!

01-27-2011, 12:29 PM
hi everyone,
i think belance diet is the best

01-27-2011, 02:36 PM
The problem with saying that "a balanced diet is best" is that even the experts in the field disagree on what constitutes balance, and whether there even is a diet that is universally best. It's quite likely that my perfect balance will be different than your perfect balance.

For example, there are some persuasive arguments against grains, especially gluten grains. But grains are a food group, you can't eliminate a food group?

Grains have been a significant part of the human diet for a comparatively very short time. We did fine on a low-grain or grain-free diet 98% of our existence, why do we need grains now? And insects have been a significant part of the human diet (even present day humans in many societies) from the beginning, why is no one worried that many of us have eliminated that food group from our diet?

I used to believe in a universal "healthy, balanced diet" (even the FDA has rethought that). I thought that a diet consisting of less than 70% of calories from carbs was unbalanced (although a recent study found that a carb intake of 90% calories from carbs isn't unusual in the USA). I used to think that grains were a necessary food group.

When I got sick with autoimmune and immune disfunction disorders, I began researching autoimmune disease and diet, and learned that there are many apparent links between high carb (especially sugar and grain) consumption and autoimmune disease. Not enough to say that carbs/grain causes autoimmune disease, but enough for me to consider experimenting with different carb levels, and to continue researching the links between high carb/grain consumption and my health issues. I found many. I have fibromyalgia and there's both anectdotal and research evidence that reducing carb consumption decreases symptoms for many. I found it true for myself, keeping a meticulous food journal for months to "prove" it to myself. The food journal also helped me discover that I have negative reactions to wheat (increases my joint pain and dramatically increases skin issues. I'd never gone wheat-free long enough to realize that I could have a beautiful complexion just by eliminating wheat. The skin issues I had, such as combination oily/dry skin, acne breakouts, rosacea, and severe seborrheic dermatitis (at times severe enough to be extremely painful, itchy and disfiguring - crusty and oozy), disappear when I'm eating lower carb and no-wheat.

If I eat more than about a third of my calories from carbs, I start getting adverse symptoms. Some people may find 40% optimal. Some people 60%

I think there's more variability of healthy diets than is commonly thought, and I think there are many factors that determine a person's optimal diet. I definitely was surprised at finding that the diet I feel best on, is so much lower in carb than I ever thought healthy (and I've been studying diet, nutrition and weight loss all of my life).

So "eating a balanced diet" is more complicated than it seems.

01-27-2011, 02:41 PM
I think in general it is lower calorie that will help you lose weight.

Now what will make it doable and help you stay satisfied on lower calorie?

That might mean using lower carb techniques. Or maybe it's higher fiber techniques. Or some kind of combo. Or something else entirely. Only you will know for sure because you know your complete health profile, your lifestyle and time/money available, and hunger needs.


01-27-2011, 03:39 PM
I think there's more variability of healthy diets than is commonly thought, and I think there are many factors that determine a person's optimal diet. I definitely was surprised at finding that the diet I feel best on, is so much lower in carb than I ever thought healthy (and I've been studying diet, nutrition and weight loss all of my life).

So "eating a balanced diet" is more complicated than it seems.

Well yes it is. I should've clarified a bit more, but for the average person with no food-related health issues anywhere from 40-60% carbs should be dandy. The keyword is "should". There's a lot of variability from one person to the next, and I'm glad you shared your experience with us. What I should say, and should have said, is that everyone should consult a physician/nutritionist regarding food balance. Everyone really is different, and may have adverse reactions to a particular balance of carbs, fats, or proteins. The first step then, imo, is to know yourself.

Once you know yourself you'll be able make better decisions regarding the best balanced diet for you. Some will find it harder than others, and surely more complicated..but an overall balanced diet is definitely best. As you said though, the numbers will be different for everyone.

The problem I have with nutritional academia is that it, imo, goes in and out of fads rather quickly. Nutritionists hardly ever agree on anything, and will debate about the nuances of health and diet just for the sake of debating. The only thing most nutritionists ever agreed on is the importance of a balanced diet. Of course the ratio and numbers deviated quite a bit, but there was at least a general range everyone seemed to adhere too.

Idk how much ground this whole grain-free diet has. No a grain-free diet wont kill you, but there are many cultures who have lived almost exclusively on grains (east asia) and also seem to enjoy long healthy lives. On the flip side, some people eat a high amount of grains and experience problems. Unless you possess an allergy to grains, I'd say keep grains in your diet. I think the problem is that food isn't as pure as it used to be. A lot of things are grown, treated, enriched, floured, and injected with chemicals that we didnt consume for 98% of our human existence.

Humans are pretty robust, so we can live off of whatever is available at the end of the day. I think the balanced diet aims for what gives the best health and quality of life. We can question all the numbers the FDA has rolled out for vitamins, proteins, grains, fats, etc...but I think its more or less a loose guideline to at least have people look in the right general direction. Either way, if anyone is unsure about their health..speak to a physician first.


01-27-2011, 06:56 PM
Cool thread...interesting contrast of thought.
I thought I would plop down my 2 cents...just to stir the pot! LOL

My thoughts on grains and legumes.

The anti-nutrients found in cereal grains include phytates, lectins, enzyme inhibitors and glycosides that interfere with the absorption of nutrients such as vitamins D and B6. Some cereals like sorghum and millet contain large amounts of tannins.

Cereals such as wheat, rye and barley also contain gluten, a troublesome protein for both celiacs and non-celiac gluten sensitive individuals.

And irrespective of whether you suffer celiac disease or gluten allergy, wheat starch can prove problematic. Studies with healthy folks show almost all of them fail to break down an appreciable amount of wheat starch, explaining why symptoms such as bloating, belching, flatulence and abdominal discomfort are so commonly associated with cereal grain consumption.

Legumes are a particularly rich source of anti-nutrients including protease inhibitors, amylase inhibitors, phytates, flatus factors, hemagglutinins, saponins, cyanogens, lathyrogens, tannins, allergens, acetylenic furan and isoflavonoid phytoalexins.
Phytates impair mineral absorption, lectins may impair immune function and increase gut permeability, while tannins and the various enzyme inhibitors interfere with the digestion of proteins and carbohydrates.

All in all I question the promotion of such a high carb program as has been suggested.

+1 and another +1 to what Kaplods (Colleen) said!

01-27-2011, 07:23 PM
Mike you sound like a smart guy! Kaplods you know I think you are smart!

I have a lot of experience with dieting over the years. I have never been able to sustain weightloss. I blame many of my problems on so successfully following the high carb trend in the 80's and 90's. I think many of my children's weight problems stem back to the same period when we believed that fat was enemy and carbs were our friends. They even said you couldn't gain weight from carbs.

I am low sugar and semi-low carb. So far I have been able to feel satisfied on this plan and think I can eat this way long term, maybe for life. I eat lots of green vegetables and only avoid the starchy ones. I also try to use my carbs to get 30-40 grams of fiber per day. I feel better on this plan than I have felt in years.

01-27-2011, 11:23 PM
For me is low carb. I've been all my life trying to lose weight doing 1000-1200 calories because of doctors orders. I was hungry all the time and when I lost was about 1 lb a week, which wasn't often. I can lose much easier with low carb, no hunger...and way faster. Being able to eat as much as needed in a diet is something out of this world. :)

Why eat sugar you don't need when you have your own fat to burn? Whole wheat and fruits are good for you, but there are other foods around with the same benefits/nutrients that don't have as many carbs!! I eat meats, lots of veggies, dairy and some fruits everyday.

01-30-2011, 09:47 PM
Being a newly diagnosed type 2 who has tried desperately, on many many diets out there and never being successful, i found South Beach to be most successful . I was put on South Beach by an endocrinologist. Its true that its calories in and calories out, its just a question of what calories your eating. What type. I think i will agree with the theory that some peoples bodies are built to survive and sustain off of more protein in a given day and others do well surviving and being sustained by whole grains and fruits and veggies. I cant do low calorie anymore..because low calorie still has lots of sugar in it even though it may not have lots of also may have lots of carbs, and its evident that my body doesnt like sugar, because my pancreas doesnt process depends on your body and on your preferances..Can you give up fruit? for a long period of time? Do you like eating meat? Do you love veggies? Can you survive without bread for a susbtantial amount of time? If so then maybe South Beach is for you..but perhaps if you love bread and cant stand not having a bagel for breakfast with a glass of orange juice..then maybe you need to stick to your low calorie diet, just cut the amount of bagel you eat..See where im getting at? There is no right answer when it comes to low carb or low calorie, but know that if a diet calls for absoloute extremes that limit any one group, then it may not be healthy for you..It should be balanced in some way..