Summing up Low-carb

Low-carbohydrate diets may do wonders for quick weight loss (mostly from water loss) and to improve glucose and insulin levels, but they are not without their adverse effects (1-2).

The body needs carbs for energy. Without sufficient amounts, muscle catabolism and protein will result, the break down of fat stores for fuel will result in incomplete fat oxidation, and an excess of acidic ketones will be produced. Diets too low in carbs can lead to ketoacidosis (1).

However, moderately low-carb diets such as the Mediterranean diet, which includes plenty of fruits, vegetables and monounsatured oils are a good choice for long-term health (2).

References

1. Nix, S. (2005). Williams’ Basic Nutrition & Diet Therapy. Philadelphia: Mosby.

2. Shai, I., Schwarzfuchs, D., Yaakov, H., Sahar, D.R., Witkow, S., et al. (July, 2008). Weight loss with a low-carbohydrate, Mediterranean or low-fat diet. The New England Journal of Medicine, 359:229-241.

Published by David Despain, MS, CFS

David is a science and health writer living on Long Island, New York. He's written for a variety of publications including Scientific American, Outside Online, the American Society for Nutrition's (ASN) Nutrition Notes Daily, and Institute of Food Technologists' (IFT) Food Technology magazine and Live! blog. He's also covered new findings reported at scientific meetings including Experimental Biology, AAAS, AOCS, CASW, Sigma Xi, IFT, and others on his personal blog "Evolving Health." David is also an active member of organizations including the National Association of Science Writers (NASW), the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the American Society for Nutrition, the Institute of Food Technologists, and the National Audubon Society. David has a master's degree in human nutrition from the University of Bridgeport, and a bachelor's degree in English from University of Illinois at Springfield. He also earned his Certified Food Scientist credential from the Institute of Food Technologists.

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