The Tulleken Fat vs Sugar Experiment – Which One To Cut Out For Weight Loss?

Twins Alexander and Chris act like guinea pigs during a one month experiment. Alex cuts out all carbs, Chris cuts out all fats. This is what happened.

During the 80’s we were all sure about it: fat was the devil, the cause of obesity and other health problems. So we cut out all fats and went high on carbs. What really happened was a tremendous increase of obesity rates and obesity related health problems.

During the 90’s we came to the conclusion that it’s the carbs causing obesity and related health problems. So we cut out all carbs and dr. Atkins got rich. Against expectation, obesity rates increased accumulative.

Nowadays, it’s all about carbs again. Carbs are the devil, poisonous, addictive. Carbs are the ones we have to cut out if we want to be healthy and have a healthy weight.

Is it really true that it is carbs we have to blame? Twins Alex and Chris – both 35 year old doctors that “don’t know much about losing weight and eating healthily” – tried to find out for themselves.

Hypothesis
Their hypothesis: a low carb diet makes you lose more weight than a low-fat diet does. Their hypothesis is seated on the logic that carbohydrates raise blood sugar and stimulate the body to produce insulin. That’s the hormone needed to lower blood sugar, which is good. But insulin is also a growth hormone. Growth hormone makes your body convert sugar to fat which goes right to your hips.

This is how their experiment proceeded:

Starting point: same weight, same exercise
Chris and Alexander (both ‘glutons’, meaning their waistlines tend to expand quickly) started the experiment with exactly the same weight. They were allowed to eat as much as they want and they had the same lifestyle and amount of exercise.

Low-carb vs. low-fat and the effects
Alex cut out all carbs and fed on fat and protein. During the experiment he never felt hungry. He did feel tired, had troubles thinking, had a bad breath and was constipated all the time.

Chris cut out almost all fat (he actually limited his fat intake to less than 2%; the required amount to stay alive). He was hungry all the time and had the munchies all day. In physical tests, he always trashed Alex.

 

Chris and Alexander Tulleken during their low fat vs low carb diet experiment. Image Credit: Joanna Barwick

Chris Tulleken during his experiment, having a high carb chocolate cake

 

End results
• Weight loss
In the end, Alex (who cut out all carbs) lost more weight than Chris (who cut out most fats).

• Health
Chris did lose weight as well, but not as much as his twin brother. During the process, Chris did feel more energized, was able to think quicker and seemed happier than Alex though. It seemed that in the absence of carbs, Alex body fueled itself on his own muscles, despite his relatively high protein intake. 

Conclusion
Alex and Chris experiment was a N = 2 study, which is way too narrow to draw a scientific conclusion. We càn say though that Alex lost more weight on his low carb diet, but he had a hard time sticking to his diet. His diet was extreme and extreme diets are too hard to hold on to. A diet should be a lifestyle to be able to keep up with it, meaning everything in moderation. Carbs are not the evil and neither is fat.

 

Chris and Alexander Tulleken during their low fat vs low carb diet experiment. Image Credit: Joanna Barwick

Alex and Chris right after their experiment 🙂

 

Alex weight loss tip: avoid fatty, carb rich foods
Alex does have a tip for those who want to lose weight: ““If you want to lose weight it will be much easier if you avoid processed foods made with sugar and fat,” wrote Alexander. “These foods affect your brain in a completely different way from natural foods and it’s hard for anyone to resist eating too much. And any diet that eliminates fat or sugar will be unpalatable, hard to sustain and probably be bad for your health, too.”

Have you ever been on an extreme diet, eliminating most fats or carbs?

About Angela

Angela
Hoi! Ik ben Angela; meisje-van-30-en-nog-iets, vrouw van, mama van een dreumesjongen en een nu ECHTE #fitchick. Model, diginerd, foto- & filmhobbyist. Van origine MSc in Communicatie gespecialiseerd in gezondheidsvoorlichting. 'Great' staat niet voor schoonheidsidealen, maar voor alles waartoe ons oprecht prachtige lijf en mind in staat zijn. Op deze blog schrijf ik over alles wat ik het delen waard vind. Ga je gang en kijk lekker rond. Aarzel niet om jouw mening of reactie te delen onder mijn blogs; vind ik alleen maar leuk!

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