Efficacy and safety of low-carbohydrate diets

An analysis of hundreds of published studies on the safety and effectiveness of low-carbohydrate diets found that there is not enough scientific evidence for or against the use of these diets. “This analysis is important because it clearly documents the lack of hard scientific data to support the use of low-carbohydrate diets, and identifies areas that need further research. Both the public and health-care professionals should pay close attention to this wealth of data, collected from many different research groups, because it is the most comprehensive review of published science on the subject to date,” says Robert H. Eckel, M.D., the chair of the American Heart Association’s Nutrition, Physical Activity and Metabolism Council. From the American Heart Association:
Journal of the American Medical Association study: Efficacy and safety of low-carbohydrate diets

An analysis of hundreds of published studies on the safety and effectiveness of low-carbohydrate diets found that there is not enough scientific evidence for or against the use of these diets.

“This analysis is important because it clearly documents the lack of hard scientific data to support the use of low-carbohydrate diets, and identifies areas that need further research. Both the public and health-care professionals should pay close attention to this wealth of data, collected from many different research groups, because it is the most comprehensive review of published science on the subject to date,” says Robert H. Eckel, M.D., the chair of the American Heart Association’s Nutrition, Physical Activity and Metabolism Council.

“It is also important to note that in most of the studies contained in the analysis, weight loss occurred when study participants were on the diets for longer periods, and when they ate fewer calories,” says Eckel.

A question raised in the accompanying editorial is whether certain dietary patterns, such as a low-carbohydrate approach, make it easier for people to adhere to a lower-calorie diet. “This question has also not been answered by this analysis or any other published research,” says Eckel.

The American Heart Association strongly advocates more research on the prevention and treatment of obesity, and continues to recommend an overall healthy dietary pattern that is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, lean meats, poultry and fish. To lose weight using this approach, individuals should eat fewer calories than they burn. Diets rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fish have been associated, in many studies, with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke.

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