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What We Learned From Low Fat and Low Carb Diet Crazes

Updated on May 31, 2010

Learning Our Lessons

As a general rule, I'm not a dieting kind of girl. When low-fat was the thing on everyone's lips, I might have noticed more what my level of fat consumption was on a daily basis, but I didn't feel particularly concerned or compelled to alter that consumption level. When low-carb was the thing that everyone was doing, I was happily eating my favorite food: pasta. Occasionally, I'd think to myself that I was going to learn more about these low-fat and low-carb diets, but for the most part, I've always felt that eating good food in moderation and exercising normally is the way to have a healthy lifestyle and a fit body. I just don't go all in for crazes.

So why was it that, just a few short weeks ago, after the low-fat and low-carb diets are practically off the minds of most of the people who initially caused them to be such a fad, I found myself weighing the pros and cons of trying out one of them? I was discussing weight with a friend of mine and we were admitting out loud that we generally say that we aren't concerned with ours but that when it comes right down to those moments of looking in the mirror, we can judge ourselves pretty harshly sometimes. She mentioned to me that she had lost a lot of weight on a low-carb diet and thus began the conversation.

She explained that she had lost the weight rapidly, and although we both know that this isn't a healthy course of action, we admitted that there was some appeal to this. She detailed how the low-carb diet works, and I have to admit that it was tempting. I could see getting down to a more "ideal" weight and then theoretically staying that way through healthy eating. But then I thought of something. My friend who was telling me about the great success that she had with her low-carb diet was back at the same weight she'd been at before she'd dieted at all. And that was when the sense got smacked back into me again and I remembered why I don't think low-fat or low-carb diets make a lot of sense.

The thing is low-fat and low-carb diets do work, for some people for a bit of time. But diets of all kinds, and especially fad diets like those associated with the low-fat and low-carb food movements, are temporary situations. If you eat healthy and exercise at a normal level, your body is going to maintain the weight that is right for it. This happens naturally. The best thing that you can do for your body is to accept whatever weight that might be. If you can't do that, exercising more and eating a bit less may do the trick, but there's the chance that you're going to compromise the overall health of your body by trying to get it to appear a way which is not natural to it.

Low-fat diets an low-carb diets are popular because they produce relatively immediate results. In some ways, they an also improve health, because a general reduction of fat and sugar-based carbs is good for your body. But the "crash diet" method associated with these types of diets has been proven again and again to be bad for your health and to offer only temporary weight loss. Have we learned our lessons? Or are we going to be talking about the next new low-something fad when it comes around?


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  • hecate-horus profile image

    hecate-horus 5 years ago from Rowland Woods

    The best thing my mother ever taught me was "Every thing in moderation." Thanks for a hub that reinforces that wisdom. :)

  • Aya Katz profile image

    Aya Katz 8 years ago from The Ozarks

    Kathryn, crash diets don't work, I agree. However, I have found that staying on relatively high fat diet, (that is, where the ratio of fat to carbs is high), has worked for me over the long haul.) Of course, I did not cut all carbs from my diet. I just used carbs with relatively fewer calories (vegetables -- rather than bread or potatoes) and foods high in fat for my big calorie items. I lost weight slowly, and as I lost weight, I found that I needed to eat less, too. So the reduction of caloric intake came from my metabolic needs rather than being imposed from without. My weight has stayed fairly stable for the past seven years, with only minor fluctuations.

    The low fat craze was seriously dangerous for people. There are still many, many who think that if they eat less fat they will be less fat. The very opposite is true. Eat moderatley, but if you have a sluggish metabolism or are overweight, let the majority of your calories come from fat. When you eat carbs, eat those that contain a lot of fiber and water and few calories.

  • Maddie Ruud profile image

    Maddie Ruud 10 years ago from Oakland, CA

    Yeah. Lose the diet. I'm with you. Just wrote a hub on a new study showing that an emphasis on listening to your body, not shedding pounds, is most effective to improve your health.