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Low-carb or low-fat: Does it matter for dieting?

Written By: Kim Kham, UT Physicians | Updated: July 14, 2020
Nutritionist providing weight loss advice.

Low-carb or low-fat? What you need to know.

For years, nutritional experts have debated whether low-carb or low-fat diets are better for sustained weight loss. While both diets can work,

Carol Wolin-Riklin, RD
Carol Wolin, RD

they can be restrictive and difficult to stick to. Carol Wolin, RD, a registered dietitian with UT Physicians, shares her expertise on both types of diets, and when you should consult with an expert.

Don’t focus on just low-fat or low-carb foods

Carbohydrates, protein, and fat contribute the most calories in a diet. Focusing on a low-fat diet means consuming more carbs, while a low-carb diet focuses on consuming more protein and fats. What people may not realize is that foods that are high in carbohydrates, protein, and fats have healthy and unhealthy versions. Below is a quick breakdown:

Food Chart with healthy and unhealthy food types

“If you can’t imagine life without white bread or a juicy steak, there are plenty of other ways to cut unhealthy foods from your diet,” said Wolin.

The right diet is different for everyone

But the truth is we are all different and there are many variables that come into play when it comes to determining the best course for weight loss. Age, metabolism rate, food preferences, and overall health are all factors when choosing which diet is best for achieving long-term weight loss goals.

“We eat to feel good, and it’s great for our mental health,” said Wolin. “But, we shouldn’t eat foods that make us feel worse.”

If you are struggling with weight loss, it may be beneficial to visit a nutritional expert to create a customized diet for your needs. “It’s better to customize a diet to meet a food plan for long-term success,” said Wolin. “This can incorporate the right balance of nutrients that can reduce hunger, boost your immune system, and help with muscle gain.”

To learn more about how UT Physicians can help weight management, visit

Carol Wolin, RD, is a registered dietitian and nutritionist with experience in medical nutrition therapy and support. She is part of UT Minimally Invasive Surgeons of Texas (UT MIST) and sees patients in Houston and Sugar Land. Please call 888-488-3627 (4UT-DOCS) to schedule an appointment.

As the clinical practice of McGovern Medical School at UTHealth Houston, UT Physicians has locations across the Greater Houston area to serve the community. To schedule an appointment, call 888-4UT-DOCS.