How to Figure Out Your Best Diet Type

Low carb or low fat? How do you know which works better for you? Finding out will help you reach your personal fitness goals faster.

Some people lose more weight on low carb diets, some people respond better to low fat diets.

You're confused whether or not a low fat or low carb diet will work best for you. The good news is, you're only a few minutes away from knowing exactly how to find out. As long as you control your overall calories and get enough protein, you will lose weight. The only question is, could you do it even better?

The results of studies are always reported as averages, there are going to be individuals that fall outside of those averages.

This idea for self experimentation comes directly from Alan Aragon, nutrition researcher and educator. He discussed it in a lecture on dieting I studied. Couldn't tell you which one...

Successful Self Experimentation

This is how you figure out exactly if you do better on a lower carbohydrate or lower fat diet. In this example we are assuming that the amount of protein you eat is the same and that you are also controlling your calories.

You should try each (low fat, low carb) for at least one month, especially women. For women, you will want to make sure you go from cycle to cycle. That is done to account for all of the changes that happen with your hormones and natural weight fluctuations.

Step One: Pick Your Diet

There are a lot of different diets out there. Many of them will fall into one of these four broader categories referenced by Alan:

  1. Macro nutrient Focused
    1. Low-carb/Keto
    2. IIFYM
    3. Low fat
  2. Food Elimination Diets
    1. Paleo
    2. Vegetarianism
    3. Detoxes
  3. Timing-Focused Diets
    1. Intermittent Fasting
    2. Carb back-loading or front-loading
    3. High-Frequency, even spread (BRO)
  4. Serving and Food Group-Focused
    1. Government Guidelines
    2. AND/ADA Exchange System
    3. Mediterranean diet

Step Two: Track and Keep Good Records

This is where the devil is in the details. You may not have access to all of these, I sure don't. If nothing else fall back on tracking your scale weight, weight lifting numbers, take pictures, girth measurements and food log. DXA machines will give you the most accurate body fat numbers but, are hard to get access to.

Measurable Records (quantitative):

  • What you're eating
  • Training performance (how much you're lifting, fast you run, etc.)
  • Body weight
  • Body Composition (using whatever means you have available)
    • Dexa or DXA Scan
    • Bod-Pod
    • Underwater/Hydrostatic weighing

Qualitative Measures (Subjective)

  • How you feel, mood and motivation
  • What your energy levels are like
  • Other subjective variables like how you're sleeping

If you're eating more of the foods you like then it's more likely you'll actually follow that diet. I've never really liked bread but, if I did and I had to give up all of the carbs, I might freak out.