By Mike Roussell, PhD
Updated: September 20, 2017

Q: When trying to lose weight, is it more important to count calories or carbohydrates?

A: If you had to pick one, I'd pick reducing and controlling carbohydrates. Focusing on carbohydrates instead of calories is preferred because when you restrict carbohydrates in your diet, you will eat fewer calories overall.

Back in 2006, a group of researcher sat down to answer the ubiquitous question-what works better: a low-carbohydrate diet or a traditional calorie-restricted, low-fat diet? They found five tightly-controlled studies that met their criteria for comparing low carbohydrate to low fat. The collective findings from these studies brought two very interesting things to light.

1. After 6 months, people placed on low-carbohydrate diets lose a lot more weight. And I'm not just talking about a couple pounds. On average, low-carb dieters lost 7 (and as much as 11) more pounds over the course of 6 months than those on a reduced-calorie, low-fat diet.

2. After being on the diets for 1 year, low-carbohydrate dietd and calorie-restricted, low-fat diets yield about the same amount of weight loss. How can that be?

Did the low-carbohydrate diets just stop working? I don't think so. Instead, I think that the people simply stopped following the diet. Which is another valuable lesson in itself-if you want to lose weight, choose an approach that fits you and your lifestyle, as once you go back to ‘regular eating' the weight will come right back on.

You may now be sold on the fact that low-carbohydrate diets are far superior to calorie-restricted, low-fat diets; but what about total calories consumed on a low-carb diet? Does it matter? This is where it gets interesting. In low-carbohydrate diet studies, the participants are rarely instructed to restrict calories. Instead, they are given instructions to restrict the types and amounts of carbohydrates they eat. They are told to eat until they feel satisfied, not hungry anymore, but not stuffed. When you eat fewer carbohydrates, you are automatically going to be eating more protein and fat, two nutrients that signal your body that you are full and satisfied. This ultimately results in you eating fewer calories.

As you can see, focusing on eating fewer carbohydrates (which a have 4 calories per gram) causes you to eat fewer total calories. You'll be eating more foods that signal your body that you are full and satisfied. This two-pronged approach to eating less will yield more weight loss every time.

Meet the Diet Doctor: Mike Roussell, PhD

Author, speaker, and nutritional consultant Mike Roussell, PhD holds a bachelor degree in biochemistry from Hobart College and a doctorate in nutrition from Pennsylvania State University. Mike is the founder of Naked Nutrition, LLC, a multimedia nutrition company that provides health and nutrition solutions directly to consumers and industry professionals via DVDs, books, ebooks, audio programs, monthly newsletters, live events, and white papers. To learn more, check out Dr. Roussell's popular diet and nutrition blog, MikeRoussell.com.

Get more simple diet and nutrition tips by following @mikeroussell on Twitter or becoming a fan of his Facebook page.

Advertisement


Comments (12)

Anonymous
April 19, 2019
Over the years I've tried many methods recommended by both my friends and family but none of them seemed to work out for me until I chanced upon this holy grail where I've lost almost 33 pounds in just 1 month trying it out! I can now fit in dresses two sizes down and receive many compliments from not only my lovely husband, but colleagues and girlfriends about how great I look right now! I'm here to share with you guys because I really am thankful and hope someone who also needs this can experience similar results as me! Here is the link to my holy grail method! https://bit.ly/flatbelly21dayfix
Anonymous
March 27, 2019
Few years before losing weight is a dream for me, after I started using Brian’s weight loss product reducing weight is not a difficult for me, I understand one thing if we follow the right procedure and diet, reducing weight is not a difficult for anyone. I had followed all the step by step instruction only couple of weeks and I reduce more than 16 kg in few weeks without any hard exercise or medicine. There are thousands of people struggling to lose weight but they don’t know the right procedure to do it, you can try the same method which I used to keep the body healthy , stylish and fit, Watch the video here => weightlossin3weeks.com
Anonymous
February 2, 2019
sageofhealth.com
Anonymous
December 14, 2018
Losing weight is not so difficult with the right guidance and methods. What worked for me was this amazing guide: https://bit.ly/2QvsWDd Explains the science of losing weight, right foods to eat, foods to avoid, tips and tricks to lose weight quickly and stay healthy.
Anonymous
November 28, 2018
Wanna increase muscle size, strength and performance ? i found this powerful product that is a safe, legal and side effect free i tried it myself and it realy shows good results for more info check in here -> bulkm.net
Anonymous
November 13, 2018
The Secret to Losing Unwanted Weight Fast and Keeping It Off: https://bit.ly/2pRzPPy
Anonymous
October 30, 2018
hey i found a rapid weight loss program that can help you lose up to 23 pounds of pure body fat in just 3 weeks!!! watch this video here -> 3weeksdiets.net
Anonymous
October 24, 2018
Did you know there’s a “deep detox” you can do first thing in the morning to burn more fat? you can burn 1.2lbs daily and It only takes 13-seconds! watch this video : flatbelydetox.net
Anonymous
October 8, 2018
Lost 41 pounds and 4 dress sizes. I am in the best shape of my life. Wish I had seen this amazing video earlier: https://bit.ly/2xZoIIy
Anonymous
July 27, 2018
I've never been able to do that before in my life. and for once in my life, I truly believe in myself. I don't know that I ever did before, at least not without someone else to reassure me of it. I'm happy to say that my outlook on life has changed drastically. Every day it seems to get a little easier to stay positive and to love and live for myself. I'm down just over 12lbs in 2 weeks, following this weight loss program: https://bit.ly/2rHqH0d
Anonymous
July 23, 2018
Did you know there’s a “deep detox” you can do first thing in the morning to burn more fat? And the good news is It only takes 13-seconds! Here it is: https://bit.ly/2x45lQy
Anonymous
July 21, 2018
Lovely information, very true and effective. I myself had gained over 20 pounds after the birth of my daughter. Plus with age, fat was not going away no matter how hard i tried with so many things. Finally Thanks to this method, I was able to lose 18 pounds Watch the video here: http://leanbellybreakthrough1.club