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Low-carbohydrate diets or low-carb diets are dietary programs that restrict carbohydrate consumption. Foods high in easily digestible carbohydrates e. The amount of carbohydrate allowed varies with different low-carbohydrate diets. The induction phase of the Atkins diet    is ketogenic. Low-carbohydrate diets are not well-defined. Used for weight loss, low-carbohydrate diets are classified as fad diets. A popular misconception driving adoption of the diet for weight loss, is that by reducing carbohydrate intake dieters can in some way avoid weight gain from the calories in other macronutrients.
Although low-carbohydrate diets are most commonly discussed as a weight-loss approach, some experts have proposed using low-carbohydrate diets to mitigate or prevent diseases, including diabetes, metabolic disease. Although such diet recommendations mostly involve lowering nutritive carbohydrates, some low-carbohydrate foods are discouraged, as well e. People following a low-carbohydrate diet can lose weight, but the diet is no more effective for this than a low-fat diet.
Limiting carbohydrate consumption is a traditional treatment for diabetes — indeed, it was the only effective treatment before the development of insulin therapy — and when carefully adhered to, it generally results in improved glucose control, usually without long-term weight loss.
Potential favorable changes in triglyceride and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol values should be weighed against potential unfavorable changes in low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and total cholesterol values when low-carbohydrate diets to induce weight loss are considered.
It is not known whether low-carbohydrate diets have any effect on mortality or morbidity associated with cardiovascular disease. Fiction" campaign in , the ADA stated: Excess calories from carbohydrates are not any more fattening than calories from other sources. People who stay on these diets very long may not get enough vitamins and minerals and face other potential health risks. Eckel , past president, noted that a low-carbohydrate diet could potentially meet AHA guidelines if it conformed to the AHA guidelines for low fat content.
The position statement by the Heart Foundation regarding low-carbohydrate diets states: Moreover, other statements suggest their position might be re-evaluated in the event of more evidence from longer-term studies. The consumer advice statements of the NHS regarding low-carbohydrate diets state that: Low-carbohydrate diets became a major weight loss and health maintenance trend during the late s and early s.
Because of the substantial controversy regarding low-carbohydrate diets, and even disagreements in interpreting the results of specific studies, it is difficult to objectively summarize the research in a way that reflects scientific consensus.
Although there has been some research done throughout the twentieth century, most directly relevant scientific studies have occurred in the s and early s and, as such, are relatively new and the results are still debated in the medical community.
A systematic review studying the effects of low-carbohydrate diet on weight loss and cardiovascular risk factors showed the LCD to be associated with significant decreases in body weight, body mass index , abdominal circumference, blood pressure , triglycerides , fasting blood sugar , blood insulin and plasma C-reactive protein , as well as an increase in high-density lipoprotein cholesterol HDL.
Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol LDL and creatinine did not change significantly. The study found the LCD was shown to have favorable effects on body weight and major cardiovascular risk factors but concluded the effects on long-term health are unknown. The study did not compare health benefits of LCD to low-fat diets. A meta-analysis published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in compared low-carbohydrate, Mediterranean, vegan, vegetarian, low-glycemic index, high-fiber, and high-protein diets with control diets.
The researchers concluded that low-carbohydrate, Mediterranean, low-glycemic index, and high-protein diets are effective in improving markers of risk for cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
Advocates of low-carbohydrate diets generally dispute any suggestion that such diets cause weakness or exhaustion except in the first few weeks as the body adjusts , and indeed most highly recommend exercise as part of a healthy lifestyle. Thus, in absolute terms, even sweet fruits and berries do not represent a significant source of carbohydrates in their natural form, and also typically contain a good deal of fiber which attenuates the absorption of sugar in the gut.
Most vegetables are low- or moderate-carbohydrate foods in the context of these diets, fiber is excluded because it is not a nutritive carbohydrate. Some vegetables, such as potatoes and carrots , have high concentrations of starch, as do corn and rice. Most low-carbohydrate diet plans accommodate vegetables such as broccoli , spinach , cauliflower , and peppers.
Nevertheless, debate remains as to whether restricting even just high-carbohydrate fruits, vegetables, and grains is truly healthy. Contrary to the recommendations of most low-carbohydrate diet guides, some individuals may choose to avoid vegetables altogether to minimize carbohydrate intake. Low-carbohydrate vegetarianism is also practiced. Raw fruits and vegetables are packed with an array of other protective chemicals, such as vitamins, flavonoids, and sugar alcohols.
Some of those molecules help safeguard against the over-absorption of sugars in the human digestive system. Some evidence indicates the increasingly large percentage of calories consumed as refined carbohydrates is positively correlated with the increased incidence of metabolic disorders such as type 2 diabetes. In addition, this claim neglects the nature of the carbohydrates ingested. Some are indigestible in humans e.
In general, uncooked or unprocessed e. Cooking especially moist cooking above the temperature necessary to expand starch granules and mechanical processing both considerably raise the amount of absorbable carbohydrate and reduce the digestive effort required. Analyses which neglect these factors are misleading and will not result in a working diet, or at least one which works as intended.
In fact, some evidence indicates the human brain — the largest consumer of glucose in the body — can operate more efficiently on ketones as efficiency of source of energy per unit oxygen. In , the Canadian government ruled that foods sold in Canada could not be marketed with reduced or eliminated carbohydrate content as a selling point, because reduced carbohydrate content was not determined to be a health benefit. The government ruled that existing "low carb" and "no carb" packaging would have to be phased out by Some variants of low-carbohydrate diets involve substantially lowered intake of dietary fiber, which can result in constipation if not supplemented.
In , John Rollo reported on the results of treating two diabetic Army officers with a low-carbohydrate diet and medications. A very low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diet was the standard treatment for diabetes throughout the 19th century.
In , William Banting , a formerly obese English undertaker and coffin maker, published "Letter on Corpulence Addressed to the Public", in which he described a diet for weight control giving up bread , butter , milk , sugar , beer , and potatoes. In the early s Frederick Madison Allen developed a highly restrictive short term regime which was described by Walter R.
In , Richard Mackarness M. Mackarness also challenged the "calorie theory" and referenced primitive diets such as the Inuit as examples of healthy diets with a low-carbohydrate and high-fat composition. The "Stillman diet" is a high-protein , low-carbohydrate, and low-fat diet. It is regarded as one of the first low-carbohydrate diets to become popular in the United States. In , Robert Atkins published Dr. Atkins Diet Revolution , which advocated the low-carbohydrate diet he had successfully used in treating patients in the s having developed the diet from a article published in JAMA.
Later that decade, Walter Voegtlin and Herman Tarnower published books advocating the Paleolithic diet and Scarsdale diet , respectively, each meeting with moderate success.
The concept of the glycemic index was developed in by David Jenkins to account for variances in speed of digestion of different types of carbohydrates. In the s, Atkins published an update from his book, Dr. Atkins New Diet Revolution , and other doctors began to publish books based on the same principles. This has been said to be the beginning of what the mass media call the "low carb craze" in the United States.
In the United States, the diet has continued to garner attention in the medical and nutritional science communities, and also inspired a number of hybrid diets that include traditional calorie-counting and exercise regimens. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Not to be confused with slow carb diet. This article is about low carbohydrate diets as a lifestyle choice or for weight loss.
For low-carbohydrate dietary therapy for epilepsy, see Ketogenic diet. This article has multiple issues. Please help improve it or discuss these issues on the talk page. Learn how and when to remove these template messages.
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