Low Carbs Or Low Calories – What is Better ?


Low Carbs Or Low Calories – What is Better ?

In ‘The Wasteland’, T S Eliot wrote – “April is the cruelest month” and how right he was when I hit a terrible plateau in April 2013 which blew my mind off. I was low carbing with a vengeance and despite everything the scales weren’t moving. This was the worst period as we were about to relocate from Bhubaneswar to Noida. I was fighting a stall and along with that was a terrible worry about my Low carb diet without fish. 😛  (A kg of Rohu costs Rs 120 in Bhubaneswar being coastal area while in NCR its Rs 450 for the same.) 🙁

End of July I left Bhubaneswar with 72 kg weight and a heavier heart (fish factor you see). We were driving down and as there were hardly any low carb options available on the way, I was eating a little bit of everything (Dal Makhani and Aloo gobhi at the dhabas for lunch and dinner and idli and dosas for breakfast.)

After settling down when I checked my weight— OMG— I couldn’t believe my eyes so stepped down the scale and climbed up again…. Yesss !!!  I was 67 kg that meant 5kg reduced in just one month.  Now what did that mean… Did my low carb diet fail??? Was I done with my low carb diet?? Should I have tried low calorie diet from the beginning only???

 Low Carbs Or Low Calories - What is Better ?

After analysis, I realized that it’s always better to keep shifting from one diet to other because eating one type of food our bodies become complacent and so used to it that it goes into a sleep mode. Another thing is that because I was consuming 1200 calories on low carb diet and burning more than half of it I think my body had gone into starvation mode (a MyFitnessPal friend of mine had suggested.) While travelling I started eating normally in limit which in any ways wasn’t not more than 1200 calories and without burning anything (since I couldn’t run or jog with the car running on the national highway. ) 😛 as a result I started losing again.

The long story cut short, the moral was that you can lose weight on any kind of diet but you need to eat minimum 1200 calories for a stable and healthy weight loss. Low carb dieters restrict foods which are starchy and eat foods that are usually high in protein and fat. Here lies the biggest danger as I experienced that on a low carb diet. Most of the times I was eating calories more than what is required to reduce weight or while controlling excesses, I was getting scared of eating food which was a dangerous situation.

I went on like that till I started using MFP (MyFitnessPal). Finally I had to draw a balance between counting calories and eating carbs the right way. As experts suggest that counting calories is the more reliable method to lose weight but counting carbs is important too. When it comes to reducing weight, magic lies in ‘Calories in and Calories out’ formula.

Eat fewer calories and burn more calories through daily exercise but take a sensible approach and not consume too few. Over-restricting calories calls for binge eating and slows down metabolism resulting in weight loss stall.

On a low-carb diet, weight loss mainly happens in the same way as on low–calorie diet; basically it’s by creating a calorie deficit that is consuming fewer calories than you expend. The difference is that a low-calorie dieter imposes on self the calorie limit while, carbohydrate reduction works on the appetite system of information about hunger and satiety in our body.  I can personally vouch for low carb diet as I feel normal around food with lesser cravings, while on a low calorie diet I have to control my cravings.

The bottom line is no matter what diet plan you chose, your ultimate goal should be to get into a healthy lifestyle. That means adopting a healthy eating plan that you can follow long term. Personally speaking a cycle of low carb and low calorie lifestyle is the best deal but yes if you have to lose a lot of weight, to jumpstart there is nothing to beat a low carb diet. Whenever I face a weight stall, I go very low carb and it does the trick.

Whatever you eat remember to make healthy choices as I always say you only live once and this is that one chance with you. 

Healthy Dinner Options For Weight Loss

So, Love Life, Live Life.

P.S – Read why all calories are not same here. 1200 calorie intake that Kanan has mentioned is as per her body. You need to eat calories as per your Basal Metabolic Rate(BMR). My BMR remains between 1350-1450, so I eat accordingly. Read about BMR  here.  – Tarun


  1. Tarun, It’s all about eating lesser than your required calories—- creating a deficit of calories to lose weight but eating no lesser than 1200 calories. For losing weight it is important to create a deficit but maintaining nutrition.

  2. You are right :). The 1200 calories mark that you have set, that comes by experience since you have listened to your body. I have spoken to a lot of girls. Usually that number varies from 1000-1200 calories.

    Let me talk about my case. Last time my BMR was as high as 1550. This means even if I am not doing any special workout, I need 1550 calories for daily functioning. When I eat 1550 calories, no deficit, no weight loss. When I ate 1200 calories and worked out 500, I actually went into a weight loss stall. When I measured my BMR, it was dropped coz my body thought I was starving n so my metabolism dropped. I increased calorie intake to 1300, I started losing !

    Human body is too complex to be worked out by these equations 😉

  3. Hehehehehe. You won’t believe I have also done 500 cal diet and can’t explain the side effects. Needless to say, I did not not lose a gram !

  4. That is what I am pointing out — women must eat 1200 calories minimum—- and there was a phase when I used to burn all the calories what I had eaten by night—- leading to calories consumed in negatives—- result —– terrible weight stall 🙁 So the mantra is burn a lot but eat healthy 1200 calories minimum. 🙂

  5. Im still really confused:'(
    My calorie goal is 1200 n if I burn 100-200 calories in day means im creating 100-200 deficit
    So what should i do
    Help me tarun n kanan

  6. calorie goal has to be 1200, burn whatever you may but eat minimum 80% of your exercise calories. Are you using MFP?

  7. Aah! yes, your deficit will be your BMR minus calories consumed but need to ensure you don’t go below 1000/1100 calories otherwise body goes into starvation mode. ::)

  8. Don’t get confused check your BMR, set a 1200 calorie consumption goal, burn your calories and still eat 1100—– join MFP to get a clear picture. 🙂

  9. Rupali , if possible check your BMR and let us know. Else, consume 1200 calories and burn as much as you can. Keep your carbs in check.

  10. hey all i wanted to ask about milk.what kinda of milk do u prefer?? skim milk?whole milk?or what?i have my dairy man deliver full fat milk i just add have water and have milk and take it assuming it have less fat….is it right?? please clear my doubt?and what els can i add to deit for calcium??am on eating healthy diet..

  11. and how do we calculate how much calories does ones body need?? like tarun u said ur bmr was high as 1500 cal and kanan was low on 1200 cal

  12. bmr depends on your level of exercise too i always keep my activity level on sedentary so lesser bmr i get — around 1400-1500 then i cut back 200 cals for a deficit of 200 cals daily and then burn around 400-500+ daily so the deficit is quite okey —- but as my daughter says mamma weightloss is all about eating less and burning— not calculations—- she has lost 10 kgs + by doing so—– but I don’t agree to her way of eating—- I call it unhealthy — bt the fact still remains that she eats lesser calories and burns a lot walking and running.

  13. Rupali, then you must eat 1100-1200 calories and workout. If you create a deficit of 200-300, you would start shedding. You can widen this deficit but not by consuming less than 1100 calories but by burning it out. Hope its clear now 🙂

  14. Thnks tarun 🙂 I got it now. No matter how much I burn with exercise , hav to consume atleast 1200 cal. So happy now

  15. Shradha,
    First of all, tell me how much weight loss are you looking for ? This will decide how low carb can you go.
    Second, when we lower the carb, we increase protein, fiber and fat content. Low fat causes constipation. so while you were having veggies and soup, you could be missing on fat. when you do low carb, you have to eat lot of fat so that bowel is proper and you feel satiated too. If you are not satiated, you will binge a lot.
    Third, Kanan is going to do a post soon with carb content for each serving. That will solve your problem 🙂 . Meanwhile use MFP.
    Fourth – You can always walk to lose weight like Kanan. she has a lot to share. stay tuned 🙂

  16. yayy Rupali :). Low calorie diets dont work since body goes to starvation mode. Phew I have suffered a lot trying these crappy low calorie diets… as low as 500 calories a day 🙁

  17. I cant even imagine havng 500cal a day. Its lyk having fast everyday.
    Thanks tarun for helping us who are unaware of all this facts that plays imp role in weight loss. Otherwise we would have ended up starving n frustrated

  18. Shradha, You have to lose just say 5 kgs. well let me make one thing very clear, if you are too overweight then you lose faster but a few kg more takes a lot of time— now what you have to do is lower your carb intake to 40/50 % that you can do in the goal settings section of mfp. like I keep mine around 20/25%. Increase fat consumption and proteins.
    It is very common to get constipation on low carb— I suffered this problem but then the solution is eat lots of greens. lots of spinach, mustard can be added to your eggs and meat. (Hope you are a non vegetarian) if not then the story will be different.)
    I did another thing that was having two spoons of psylium husk (isabgol) with warm water at night as night cap. 🙂
    as far as exercises are concerned, even I have backache prob (remember my weight was 98 kg) but I was able to retrieve my back with Leslie Sansone”s WAH (Walk at home)program. Must try it. All you need to be careful about your natural posture while doing any exercise. Won’t believe just now I finished my 10 miles non stop interval walk. 🙂
    Nothing is difficult we can do anything with a strong will power. Join MFP my Id is kanangautam@gmail.com
    Stay tuned power to you. 😀

  19. Anamika , Its better to miss those darn carbs —- I so hate them—- remember all bad influences in life are tempting…. ;D

  20. hey I have already installed it and shall join this weekend for sure..
    looking forward for your help !!!

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