Are Low Carb Diets Hard To Stick To ? An Objective Look

Have you tried a low carb diet for one day and ready to throw in the towel ? Do you feel totally deprived of your favorite foods ?

Many people can’t imagine a day without bread, whole grains or some kind of sugary confection.

While you need to limit many of these processed foods on a diet in order to lose weight, following a low carb diet, however, is not as hard as you might think.

Eating a low carb diet can actually work in your favor by reducing your appetite and automatically lowering your caloric intake.

If you are attempting to lose weight by simply cutting back on calories, but still eating the same foods, your brain will respond by triggering your ‘hunger’ button, making you feel miserable and frustrated.

Studies show that when you compare low fat diet to low carb diets, calories are restricted in the low-fat group, while those eating low carbohydrate foods, they can eat as much as they want to.

As a result, those eating low carbohydrates feel full and content while those eating strictly a low fat diet felt hungry all the time.  It is not too hard to realize that if you stop eating before you are full at every meal, you are going to be hungry all the time.

Studies continue to confirm this fact when comparing the efficiency and effectiveness of various eating plans.

Another important factor that is measured is compliance rates by those participating in their diet plan.

Low Carb Diets and Compliance Rates

When comparing a low carb, ketogenic diet with a low-fat diet in a clinical trial, there were 120 hyperlipidimic and overweight individuals divided up randomly into two groups.

During a 24-week trial, 76% of the low carb group finished the trial compared to 57% who finished in the low fat group (1).

For six months, 51 overweight or obese individuals were placed on a low carbohydrate diet. 41 completed the study giving a compliance rating of 80% (2).

322 individuals participated in a two-year study that compared low carbohydrate diet, low fat diet and a Mediterranean diet.

In this study, compliance rates were 78% in the low carbohydrate diet, 85.3% in the low-fat diet and 90.4% in the Mediterranean diet. Even though the low carbohydrate group had the lowest compliance rate, 78% is still quite high (3).

For six weeks, 106 overweight, Rome council employees were placed on a modified low carb, ketogenic diet.  The compliance rate for this group was 83.6% (4).

Another study was completed involving 311 pre-menopausal women who were overweight or obese.

They were placed on either the Zone, LEARN, Ornish or Atkins diet.  The group that was on the Atkins diet had an 88% compliance rate, while those on the Zone (moderate carbohydrate intake) had a 77% compliance rate and 76% compliance on the LEARN (low-fat diet) eating plan (5).

I also looked at 19 Randomized Controlled Trials that compared Low carb and low fat diets (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19).

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%

In the studies mentioned above, those in the low carbohydrate group lost more weight, more body fat and lowered their cholesterol and blood pressure in the process.

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

Conclusion

Following a low carb diet is not any more difficult to follow than other ‘diet’ plans.  In fact, in many cases, the compliance rate is quite high.

All of this may depend on a few factors, such as where you live or cultural practices. Eating a low carb diet is my favorite method for achieving successful weight loss. It is not the only option available, however.

The BEST eating plan, exercise program and improvements for your health is what works best for you.  You must find a plan that works for you and that you will follow for best results.

The greatest advantage of a low carb eating plan is that you will not be hungry.

Feeling hungry is frustrating and your willpower does not stand a chance against hunger.

When you are hungry, you eat – it is as simple as that.

Who wouldn’t want an eating plan that can help you lose weight successfully without feeling hungry ?  With that criteria – I am all in.

{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Mary May 14, 2016, 9:16 pm

    Awesome article !

    I have followed the low carb diet for two weeks now. I have not weigh yet but I can tell a difference. My clothes are not nearly as tight and my shirts are longer. Anyone who is overweight in the tummy knows what it means to have longer shirts. I have tried low fat diets and I can’t comply. I find them too restrictive. This is the first diet that I have been able to stick with. If I cheat at lunch, I fix it at dinner. And yes my appetite has decreased…ALOT. So low carb it is for me.

    • John Fitt June 5, 2016, 5:56 pm

      Hi Mary,

      I’m very happy for you!

      Keep me updated on your progress!

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