Wellness Simplified: Fats vs Carbs

The question I get asked the most often is "Should I eat more fats or more carbs to lose or maintain a healthy weight?"This has been a battle (and a source of confusion) in the wellness community for a while.

Low Fat Method

Up until the early 2000's many nutritionists, dieticians, doctors & fitness gurus were pushing low-fat everything, which is why we still have an abundance of low-fat products available in most supermarkets.

The issue with low-fat foods is that many of them are stripped of fat at the expense of overall flavor. To compensate for taste, most food producers add sugar + other fillers to make them taste good. As you know, sugar has few benefits when consumed above a certain threshold (25-37G a day) which is basically a can of soda! Yet, reducing fats drastically cuts calories quickly, so it does result in weight loss.

Low Carb Method

Inversely, the low carb movement has gained a ton of momentum in recent years. Carbohydrates hold about 3x their weight in water, so as soon as you eliminate them, your body flushes water weight immediately. This is why people on the Keto diet lose weight incredibly quickly; although this initial weight loss isn't fat, it makes a difference on the scale and in how your clothes fit.

We now have low carb everything, which similarly leads food producers to add excess binders & fillers in order to maintain the crunchy, fluffy or otherwise "carby" essence of a carbohydrate product.

So... which one is better?

You Can Both But Not In The Same Quantities

There is no short answer to this.

You can have carbohydrates & fats (along with protein) in your daily diet, and you should! All of these are important to build muscle, provide energy to keep your body functioning properly.

The trap people fall into is overconsuming, carbs & fat in large quantities, together. If you prefer carbohydrates at most meals, fats need to be a smaller component of your diet. If you prefer a higher fat diet then you need to decrease your carbohydrates slightly so that you're eating a balanced diet within a caloric range that is healthy for your body.

Fats have more calories per gram than carbs, 9 calories per gram, while carbohydrates contain 4 calories per gram. But, carbohydrates are eaten in much higher quantities in the standard American diet (bread, pasta, rice, etc) than fats (oil, cheese red meat). It's harder to eat a massive amount of cheese in one sitting ( I mean, sometimes) but it's REALLY easy to eat it with some crackers. Doing this to excess can cause an imbalanced, nutrient-poor diet, weight gain, and overall health issues.

Still, each person does have a rough ratio they should use to get the best results, but it's based a number of biological factors, as well as some psycho/social aspects.

There is No One Size Fits All

Your optimal carb to fat ratio depends on a few things:

1) How much muscle do you currently have, and how much do you want to build.

2) How active you are what kinds of exercise do you prefer to/need to do.

3) Where you store your fat, i.e in your hips, belly, or evenly distributed. Do you tend to be underweight or overweight?

4) If you have any underlying skin, digestion, or other health issues?

5) Your level of meat consumption. Vegetarians & vegans overall consume less protein so their ratios of carbs & fat will be much different than someone who enjoys organic, grass-fed proteins regularly.

5) What your eating style is overall. Some people find eating a higher fat, moderate carb diet easy! Still, others want to have carbohydrates at every meal. I also find a lot of this is cultural, which is why it's so important to work with a health coach that can create custom plans that work with your lifestyle; no one needs to make their grandma mad by not eating any of her food!

If you are having a tough time figuring out how to balance your diet, feel free to reach out to me & check my coaching programs, here.

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