As promised in my first post, here is just a little of the evidence showing that low-carb diets, and especially LCHF diets are superior to traditional western diets.
- Brehm BJ, et al. A Randomized Trial Comparing a Very Low Carbohydrate Diet and a Calorie-Restricted Low Fat Diet on Body Weight and Cardiovascular Risk Factors in Healthy Women. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2003;88:1617–1623.
- Samaha FF, et al. A Low-Carbohydrate as Compared with a Low-Fat Diet in Severe Obesity. N Engl J Med 2003;348:2074–81.
- Sondike SB, et al. Effects of a low-carbohydrate diet on weight loss and cardiovascular risk factor in overweight adolescents. J Pediatr. 2003 Mar;142(3):253–8.
- Aude YW, et al. The National Cholesterol Education Program Diet vs a Diet Lower in Carbohydrates and Higher in Protein and Monounsaturated Fat. A Randomized Trial. Arch Intern Med. 2004;164:2141–2146.
- Volek JS, et al. Comparison of energy-restricted very low-carbohydrate and low-fat diets on weight loss and body composition in overweight men and women. Nutrition & Metabolism 2004, 1:13.
- Yancy WS Jr, et al. A Low-Carbohydrate, Ketogenic Diet versus a Low-Fat Diet To Treat Obesity and Hyperlipidemia. A Randomized, Controlled Trial. Ann Intern Med. 2004;140:769–777.
- Nichols-Richardsson SM, et al. Perceived Hunger Is Lower and Weight Loss Is Greater in Overweight Premenopausal Women Consuming a Low-Carbohydrate/High- Protein vs High-Carbohydrate/Low-Fat Diet. J Am Diet Assoc. 2005;105:1433–1437.
- Gardner CD, et al. Comparison of the Atkins, Zone, Ornish, and learn Diets for Change in Weight and Related Risk Factors Among Overweight Premenopausal Women. The a to z Weight Loss Study: A Randomized Trial. JAMA. 2007;297:969–977.
- Shai I, et al. Weight loss with a low-carbohydrate, mediterranean, or low-fat diet. N Engl J Med 2008;359(3);229–41.
- Krebs NF, et al. Efficacy and Safety of a High Protein, Low Carbohydrate Diet for Weight Loss in Severely Obese Adolescents. J Pediatr 2010;157:252-8.
- Summer SS, et al. Adiponectin Changes in Relation to the Macronutrient Composition of a Weight-Loss Diet. Obesity (Silver Spring). 2011 Mar 31. [Epub ahead of print]
- Daly ME, et al. Short-term effects of severe dietary carbohydrate-restriction advice in Type 2 diabetes–a randomized controlled trial. Diabet Med. 2006 Jan;23(1):15–20.
- Westman EC, et al. The effect of a low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diet versus a low- glycemic index diet on glycemic control in type 2 diabetes mellitus. Nutr. Metab (Lond.)2008 Dec 19;5:36.
- Dyson PA, et al. A low-carbohydrate diet is more effective in reducing body weight than healthy eating in both diabetic and non-diabetic subjects. Diabet Med. 2007 Dec;24(12):1430-5.
- Keogh JB, et al. Effects of weight loss from a very-low-carbohydrate diet on endothelial function and markers of cardiovascular disease risk in subjects with abdominal obesity. Am J Clin Nutr 2008;87:567–76.
- Halyburton AK, et al. Low- and high-carbohydrate weight-loss diets have similar effects on mood but not cognitive performance. Am J Clin Nutr 2007;86:580–7.
I'll add more to this list as I find them, or as presented to me.
Problems with studies
Regarding studies - it would be unfair of me to exclude the fact that there are many studies that also say low-carb isn't as effective as low-fat diets (for various reasons). However, after researching those studies - several factors stand out:
First, many that tout low-fat as better than low-carb don't actually study "low-carb". Almost every study I've seen that denounces low-carb considers 35% of calories from carbohydrate to be low-carb. Eating 35% of your calories from carbs is under no circumstances low-carb. When I'm speaking of low-carb diets I'm specifically referring to those that cause person to enter ketosis. Generally 10% or less of your calories from carbohydrate. Not 35%. Without ketosis you lose almost all the fat-loss benefits of low-carb eating.
Some other studies are relying on individual memory and self-reporting of what was eaten over the past year.
Many studies are done with too few subjects to be noteworthy. (Does studying 11 people, 4 of which drop-out really prove much?)
Some studies don't take into account confounding variables - vegan studies often do this, saying they've reversed heart disease or diabetes on a vegan diet, when they've also included exercise, smoking cessation, stress-reduction training, group therapy and the diets completely eliminate refined/processed carbs and sugars. When you do all that, claiming meat is the problem is hardly conclusive.
It's also important to note that often the study is both funded and undertaken by a group with vested interests in an outcome. Low-carb studies are sometimes funded by the meat industry. Diabetic studies are often funded by drug companies. The list goes on. Often these researchers start with a hypothesis and attempt to manipulate data to reach the conclusion they've already decided is correct. This isn't true science, unfortunately, so all studies must be reviewed to determine if the scientific method was followed before assigning any validity to them.
For those interested in the problems with many studies, and how to spot them yourselves, I highly recommend the talk by Tom Naughton: Science for Smart People