Low-Carb Diets – Healthy, but Hard to Stick to?

Man Weighing HimselfMany health authorities have started to acknowledge the health benefits of low-carb diets.

However, it doesn’t seem like they’re about to reach the mainstream any time soon.

Despite the proven benefits, nutrition professionals are still reluctant to recommend them because apparently they are hard to stick to.

I want to debunk that myth now, once and for all.

Low-Carb Studies Show Good Compliance

Many randomized controlled trials have compared low-carb diets to the standard of care… a low-fat, calorie restricted diet.

When you look at these studies, you see that low-carb diets aren’t harder to stick to at all. It’s a myth.

Most of these studies (not all) show that more people in the low-carb groups make it to the end.

I looked at 19 RCTs that compared LC and LF diets (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19). Click the image for a larger version.

Low Carb Completion

I included each study that had data on how many people made it to the end.

Average for low-carb diets: 79,51%
Average for low-fat diets: 77,72%

The results are clear. Low-carb diets are easier to stick to.

The difference isn’t huge, but it is very clear that low-carb diets are at least NOT harder to stick to than low-fat diets.

Low-Carb Diets Reduce Appetite

Low-carb diets circumvent the main side effect of dieting… hunger.

That’s because restricting carbohydrates leads to a reduction in appetite.

The reason for this isn’t known at this point, but there are many theories.

Some believe that it is because of the reduced insulin levels, others that it has something to do with a hormone called leptin.

The exact mechanism doesn’t matter in my opinion, just the fact that low-carb diets lead to an automatic reduction in calorie intake.

I think this is the mean reason low-carb diets are easier to stick to.

Eating low-carb, you get to eat GOOD food until you feel FULL… and still lose weight.