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Low carbohydrate diets: Going against the grain

28 / 01 / 15

Mann et al provided comment on low-carbohydrate, high-fat (LCHF) diets in the Lancet, partly in response to recent media surrounding the proposed benefits of this dietary approach.

The authors conclude that despite recent publications suggesting health benefit from low carbohydrate diets, the totality of evidence confirms the best dietary advice is to: reduce saturated fat, free sugars, and sodium; and increase wholegrain cereals and fibre. They also acknowledge that a diverse range of carbohydrate intakes are recognised in dietary recommendations around the world for the prevention and treatment of obesity and associated chronic diseases. Furthermore, recommendations on total fat intake have been extended to up to 40% of total energy (provided the focus is on unsaturated fats). As an energy dense nutrient, fat intakes are still important to consider for weight loss and obesity prevention however.

The authors note Sweden as a cautionary example: where population blood cholesterol levels increased in parallel with increased saturated fat intakes when higher fat, lower carbohydrate eating patterns became popular.

Consumption of appropriate, healthful carbohydrate sources is recommended rather than carbohydrate restriction.