When you start talking about diet and health you have to look at the insane numbers of people who alter their eating habits (their diet) to either improve their health or lose weight every year.
The numbers in the USA alone are that; approximately 45 million Americans go on a diet every year and these people spend an estimate $33 billion dollars doing it.
These are crazy numbers when you think about it, and they fuel the diet industry who has good information at times and sells snake oil products at others.
Don’t get us wrong, we love the nutritional industry, it’s our industry too.
But, what we can’t stand are people promoting things they know just don’t work or that can be seriously harmful to your health.
Two prime examples are. There is a cult of people who claim to be breatharians. This means that they don’t eat any foods or drink any juices of any kind. They claim that they get everything they need from just breathing.
People who attempt this are more often than not truly discouraged to find that they can’t do it or in many worst-case scenarios, they are rushed to the hospital and in some cases, they die as a result.
Then there is the entire stimulant industry that promotes these insane energy and diet drinks. Virtually none of them have ever been proven in a clinical setting to cause any appreciable weight loss.
However, our emergency rooms fill with people whose hearts are racing, they haven’t slept in days or are experiencing all sorts of other maladies as a result of taking that stuff.
What we are going to be doing below is discussing the results of a very well performed study that pitted the keto diet against a plant-based diet in a thoroughly controlled environment.
In case you’re unfamiliar with a ketogenic diet, that simply means that people consume a very high protein and low carbohydrate diet.
They are allowed to ingest copious amounts of animal fats along with these proteins which may have implications that we will discuss below as well.
The plant-based diet is one that abstains from all types of animal products such as meat, chicken, pork fish, dairy and so on.
Since there is one question that pops up incredibly often, we will go ahead and address it before we begin.
The question we get a lot is…
Where Do Plant Based Eaters Get Their Protein?
A fairly logical question since they have cut out all the things that most people associate with protein rich foods.
To be sure we are on the same page the RDI for protein for the average male is only 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight.
The average man is 5 foot 10 inches tall and weights 156.5 pounds. When you convert that to kilograms that’s just 70.987KG.
When you times that by 0.8 grams you get 56.78 grams of protein required per day.
If you ate just a 2,000 calorie daily diet of half fruits and half vegetables with a few nuts and seeds you’d likely get around 90 grams of protein depending of course on exactly what you ate.
So, it’s estimated that if you eat even a relatively well-balanced plant-based diet of only just raw foods, let alone cooked foods that you’d be very hard pressed to be protein deficient so long as you’re consuming adequate calories.
Then, before we get into the study findings let’s go again and make sure we are all on the same page by answering the big basic questions first.
What’s The Difference Between A High Carb & Low Carb Diet?
Most of the really low carbohydrate diets advocate for no more than 20% of your daily caloric intake to be coming from carbs. Many of them say that’s the maximum number and that the lower the better with them really wanting you to hit 10% calories from carbs or even less.
The premise is that you’ll enter into ketosis (a ketogenic state whereby your body burns primarily ketones (improperly metabolized fat molecules) as its main energy source).
This is thought to burn more fat overall, but does it? The real results may just shock you, and that’s exactly what we will be discussing in later sections below.
A high carbohydrate diet is generally considered to get over 60% of its calories from carbs.
There are many forms of high carb diets, but the one we will focus on is the plant-based diet.
Now, let’s get right on with it.
Is A Low Carb Diet Best For Weight Loss?
The super short answer is no. There are a number of reasons just a few of them are A). You cannot live long term on a low carb diet because you cannot get all the micronutrients, phytochemicals, antioxidants and a number of other agents in sufficient quantities to be able to move towards or sustain optimal health.
B). Increased consumption of animal proteins has been associated with a dramatic rise in the risk if colorectal cancer as well as other forms of cancer. In fact, some studies indicate that moving from just 1 serving to 2 servings of red meat per week can raise your cancer risk by as much as 200% depending on the cancer type.
C). Your body associates the presence of fiber with food. If there is no fiber your body doesn’t react to the consumption in the same manner. Your intestinal tract needs fiber to produce its microbiome, move foods through the tract and remove toxic materials from the diet, end products and manufactured wastes.
Without adequate fiber your body simply cannot accomplish any of these invaluable processes and you will most likely become constipated, suffer from improper digestion and run a massive risk of developing several types of cancers.
There are many more challenges with the high protein low carb diet, the above are just a few.
So, to ask if one diet is superior or not would prerequisite being able to sustain that dietary habit for a prolonged period of time.
It is clear that this diet is not sustainable in the long term.
Ok, that may be true. But if I’m willing to sacrifice my health for a short-term benefit of losing some weight, which will also help improve my health, is it the best short term fat loss diet?
The answer to that question is also no.
The Results Of The Study!
The study that we’ve been mentioning was one that was finally conducted properly. They took 21 participants and locked them down into a confined environment so that they could not gain access to outside food sources.
They randomly split the group into two test groups. One received a low carb, high protein moderate fat diet, the other a whole food plant-based diet for two weeks.
At the end of the two weeks, they switched the participants diets so that they were now receiving the opposite diet of the first two weeks.
At the end of the first two weeks they measured total weight loss, body composition and of course total fat loss. The plant-based group lost significantly more fat than the low carb diet group and the low carb group lost most of their weight as merely just water.
They switched the two groups and tested them again after the next two weeks and found nearly the exact same results.
The plant-based diet group lost more fat, felt better, had no constipation and had far better blood tests in all areas than did the high protein low carb group.
Calories were not restricted. In other words, both groups were allowed to eat as much as they wanted.
One of the things that truly surprised the researchers was that the plant-based diet groups (both of them) had higher serum nitrogen levels than the other group.
This means that they had more protein available in their blood to build lean tissue than did the group eating insane amounts of animal products.
This is not a new finding. There are many studies such as the ‘Epic Oxford Study’ that have conclusively shown that Vegans have higher levels of free, useable amino acids (the building blocks of proteins) in their blood than do omnivores.
Is A High Carb Diet Best For Weight Loss?
Yes, and here is why. The high protein low carb diets or even the carnivore diets are not sustainable long term and as stated above do not actually result in the higher levels of fat loss.
Here are a couple of the reasons they don’t work out too well over the long haul.
1. The PH of a human digestive system is just a tiny fraction under 5 for the majority of the population. Even if they have trained their systems with prolonged high meat consumption it doesn’t change much if at all.
The PH level of a Serengeti Lion is .5 to 1. This is incredibly acidic. It allows them to digest other animal’s bones, hide, fur and even their teeth.
We cannot do this and are not designed for it.
2. We need copious amounts of fiber to stimulate peristalsis (the movement of food through the intestinal tract). Without it, food moves very slowly and would generate far too many end waste products and would literally kill us many years shorter than out natural life spans.
We also need insoluble fiber to feed the microbiome that we discussed earlier, that is actually the bulk of your immune system. Without a healthy microbiome you’re subject to far more disease states, viruses and infections than your plant eating counterpart.
3. Humans evolved to use the immune systems of plants to dramatically aid our own in helping us stave off diseases and viral loads.
These plant immune systems are usually in the forms of mucilaginous polysaccharides, phytochemicals, biophotons and so many other aids that we have yet to discover that it will boggle the mind once we uncover all of them.
So, between the two, high carb and low carb, the high carb is the only one that you can stay on long term and simply live your life on that diet forever.
Because it’s the natural diet of humans. It’s what we evolved to eat.
Then you might of course have the question ‘but can I lose weight on it?’
In fact, it’s the point of this entire article.
The answer to that is yes.
Not only did that new study showing the two diet groups going head to head demonstrate that the group that lost the most fat both times was the plant-based diet group, but, look around, how many fat vegans do you see?
Ok, sure, now there are all these companies making vegan cookies, cakes, candies, meats, milks etc.
If you really want to be healthy, that’s not the stuff you should be eating.
Yes, if you eat that stuff, you can get fat as a pig.
Don’t fall into the trap of letting the big corporations fool you with their slick packaging. You need to eat whole foods, period, end of report, there is no better way.
Is A Low Carb Diet Best For Your health?
As we have demonstrated above, the answer is NO, definitely not. You cannot get adequate nutrients even though some of the promoters of the diets have erroneously espoused that meat contains everything the body needs to survive.
If you just look at it with common sense, you’d come to the conclusion that it cannot be maintained long term and that their claim that everything you need is included is false. What about fiber? What about vitamin C, phytochemicals, polysaccharides or antioxidants?
What about the fact that a well trained plant-based digestive system typically eliminates the incoming foods in 18 to 24 hours and a carnivore trained human system takes up to 56 hours to eliminate its waste.
You might say ‘so what?’ But that’s a lot more time for it to sit there and rot, causing all sorts of challenges, not the least of which is cancer as we discussed above.
Is A High Carb Diet Best For Your Health?
Aside from all the arguments made above, there remains one overriding factor that shows what our native diet truly is and therefore what is the healthiest. To demonstrate we will just give a couple of examples, just a couple. We could give dozens, but we’ll keep this short.
1. Put a toddler into a crib with an apple and a bunny. When he plays with the apple and eats the bunny call me.
No, we all instinctively see the apple as being food and the bunny as being a pal to play with. We see baby animals as being cute, not food.
2. We are lousy hunters. We had to develop spears, bows and arrows to kill with because we stink at it.
No animal, not even humans could be born so frail and survive without having the tools to eat as a part of its own body. We have no claws or fangs, we cannot outrun our prey.
We’d starve to death as hunters unless we had tools. The thing is we had to live long enough to think of and create the tools, so what we ate while we were doing that is our natural diet.
There are many more, but you get the point.
Think of it like this.
Any being that does not eat its natural diet will be sick, any being that does will be well.