Diet Myths: Low Carb Doesn’t Have to Be About Weight Loss

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Say the words “low carb diet” to someone today and ask them what comes to mind. “Atkins” will probably be a fairly common response, along with a line about not eating bread. However, changing your lifestyle to include fewer carbohydrates does not have to be for the goal of losing weight. Diabetics, for example, count carbohydrates in order to regulate blood glucose levels. Examining the source and how many carbohydrates you eat could also be done in order to reverse recent trends.

Studies have shown that as a diet, it is an effective way to lose weight within the first few months of the program. In 2003, researchers tested a low-carb, high protein, high-fat diet against a low-calorie, high-carbohydrate, low-fat diet. Initial results for the low-carbohydrate group were strong, but after a year, the weight loss differential was not statistically significant. Although each group did see high rates of people abandon the diets, it was also noted that the low-carbohydrate group saw greater improvement in lessening certain risk factors of coronary heart disease. Authority Nutrition has cited similar findings about going low carb for weight loss, and other health reasons.

That said, it is not unusual for health experts to warn against the diet. For three years in a row, a low-carb, high-protein diet — the Dukan Diet — was named the top diet to avoid by the British Dietetic Association. It was only knocked off the top spot in 2014, falling to fifth. Of the regime, the British Dietetic Association pointed out that its own founder has said “issues with the diet such as lack of energy, constipation (due to lack of fibre/cutting out food groups), the need for a vitamin and mineral supplement (due to lack of variety/cutting out food groups), and bad breath.”

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