Earlier in the summer, a highly-publicized report from the National Obesity Forum and Public Health Collaboration suggested that a high-fat, low-carb diet could be the way forward for great fitness and health.

The report drew quite the backlash, with some experts claiming that the it cherry-picked certain pieces of research while ignoring others.

For expert advice on the topic of cutting carbs we turned to Carly Tierney, an expert nutritionist and personal trainer, and Zoe Martin, a nutritionist advisor to Discount Supplements.

Carly Tierney stressed that although cutting back on carbohydrates can help someone to lose weight, it’s dangerous to completely remove them from your diet.

“Cutting out any food group is a bad idea. Your body needs each of the macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates and fats) to perform at its best. The trick is to choose the best quality products from each food group,” she commented.

Cutting carbs may result in short-term weight loss, but the effects of a low-carb diet can include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of sex drive
  • Weight gain as your metabolism slows down
  • Bad skin and hair
  • Decreased athletic performance

Zoe Martin agreed with Carly, suggesting that removing carbs from your diet can have a serious knock-on effect.

“Limiting your carbs is suitable, whereas boycotting them completely is not,” she continued.

“Having less carbohydrates can also make getting enough fibre difficult; which is vital for a healthy digestive system, so eat vegetables, legumes and fruits for healthy carbs.”

The verdict – is adopting a high-fat diet a good way to lose weight?

Everybody is different and while a high-fat, low-carb diet might work for one person, it won’t necessarily be the best solution for you.

While you might want to cut back on certain food groups, it’s never a good idea to remove them completely.

Some great tips to remember

Here are few simple tips to help you stay on the straight and narrow.

Don’t go for the “all or nothing” approach

Balance is key, so don’t omit an entire food group from your diet. It’s not healthy and we can’t emphasise this enough!

Read the labels on products

Zoe Martin told us that only 48% of people check the labels on their food. While you don’t want to fall into the trap of calorie counting, it’s good to have an idea of what you’re putting into your body.

Don’t skip breakfast

Rick Hay, an anti-ageing food and fitness nutritionist, explained why this really is the most important meal of the day.

“[Skipping breakfast] will put too much pressure on your adrenal glands, which will make it harder for the body to metabolise fat and you can end up with more weight around the tummy area,” he told us. 

Be wary of fad diets

Zoe Martin said that fads like the infamous Atkins diet have “created chaos over whether carbs are beneficial or disastrous”.

You should always be sceptical about crash diets. The US News & World Report regularly looks at the latest diet trends and ranks them on their effectiveness.

It’s interesting to see that the popular Paleo diet – which is notoriously low in carbohydrates – is ranked dead last in the ‘Best Weight-Loss Diets’ category.

Balance is key, so don’t omit an entire food group from your diet. It’s not healthy and we can’t emphasise this enough!

Consider the GI value of your food

Zoe Martin and Rick Hay both touched on this. The glycaemic index (GI) or glycaemic load (GL) indicates the food’s effect on a person’s blood glucose level.

While Rick suggested that low-GL meals and snacks can help you to achieve weight loss, Zoe explained that the index can throw up all kinds of strange results.

“Checking for low-GI foods might surprise you, for watermelon and parsnips are high in GI; whereas white chocolate cake has a lower GI value,” she commented.

It goes to show that things aren’t always cut and dried, and if you’re confused by the seemingly endless reams of contradictory nutritional information that floods the internet each day, it’s worth checking in with the experts!

Don’t over-indulge – a high-fat diet still has limits!

Your eyes might light up at the thought of creating a high-fat diet plan, but you still need to stay within the recommended limits.

Chris Hall, a qualified nutritionist and founder of Hall Training Systems, explained:

“The problem with having this vague understanding of ‘good fats are good for me so I must eat more fat;’ is that fat still contains calories, and calories from fat can still make us fat just like calories from elsewhere. Healthy fats are important for the maintenance of our hair, skin and nails, and also for the formation of cholesterol and hormone development, but you don’t need a lot to reap the benefits.”

This article was put together by DW Fitness Clubs