High Carb vs High Fat Vegan
If you’re in any way interested in health and nutrition, you've most likely familiar with the high-carb vs high-fat diet wars that have been going on in recent years. There’s been all sorts of articles telling people that keto is the way to go and cutting carb is the key to losing weight. But on the other side of things, there are experts that promote a low-fat, high carb diet. Are there any merit to any of these claim? Well, that’s find dig in below!
In order to compare the two, we first need to know what each one is. A high fat diet prioritizes getting most of your calories from fat, and limiting all foods rich in carbohydrates. In this article, we will specifically be looking at high fat- low carb plant-based diets. This means that a persons diet would most likely consist of lots of healthy fats like avocado, olive oil, nuts and seeds, with the addition of proteins and lower carbohydrate vegetables. A high-carb low-fat vegan diet on the other hand is a subset of a plant-based diet that focuses on eating starchy high-carbohydrate foods like potatoes, rice or pasta. Some proponents try to achieve a specific macronutrient ratio of 80% of calories from carbs, 10% of calories from protein and fat, respectively. This can only be achieved by eating very few
Oils and animal products are usually entirely avoided on an HCLF diet.
Proponents of a high-fat diet often discuss the benefits of lowering the risk of developing heart disease, improving blood cholesterol levels, helping with blood sugar control and reducing inflammation. It is also thought that by not eating carbs you can drop the level of triglycerides in your body, keeping your heart healthy. You may also reduce glucose spikes and have more of a steady blood sugar.
On the HCLF side of things, there are also many proposed benefits. Experts say that our bodies need carbohydrates. They provide us with energy and fiber. In fact, some of the benefits of a HCLF diet include a healthy heart and a healthy digestive system. Complex carbohydrates like sweet potatoes, oatmeal, and fruit will keep you full longer and therefore you will eat less throughout your day leading to weight-loss. By limiting fats, you will also be eliminating excess calories, which can be helpful in weight loss.
There may be some downsides to both though. When eating a high fat diet, it’s important to know that the brain preferentially uses sugars from healthy carbohydrates, lack of these can lead to confusion and irritability. Eating a limited range of food (especially fruit, vegetables and wholegrains) can lead to micronutrient deficiencies. While fruit and vegetables contain natural sugars, they also contain fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants in the form of polyphenols that you could be missing out on. When eating a HCLF diet, you have the opposite issue. Our body also needs fats for optimal function. Fat is a source of essential fatty acids, which the body cannot make itself. Fat helps the body absorb vitamin A, vitamin D and vitamin E. These vitamins are fat-soluble, which means they can only be absorbed with the help of fats. When going extremely low fat, you could be missing out on the benefits of fatty acids, and possible experience low vitamin D and brains fog among a number of things.
So, what’s the solution, you ask?! A balanced diet! In order for our body to optimally function, we need all three macronutrients: carbs, fat, and protein! Make sure to incorporate all of these important in your plant based diet!