Low carb diets are 'unsafe' and should be 'avoided', study says 3 years ago

Low carb diets are 'unsafe' and should be 'avoided', study says

Fitness fads come and go, and low carb diets have grown in popularity over the last few years

Despite the emergence of the whole 'no carbs before Marbs' mantra brought about by reality TV, there is very little evidence that low carb diets are worth it in the long term.


Carbs provide energy for your body and brain in the form of glucose and muscle glycogen. The latter is particularly important for powering your heavy gym sessions.

Now, research has gone further and found low carbohydrate diets to be bad for your health.

According to evidence presented by the European Society of Cardiology, low carb diets are unsafe and should be avoided.


Over an 11-year period, there was a 32% increased risk in early death in people following low carb diets. Scientists also combined the findings from seven further studies. They again found higher chances of early death, and a 13% greater risk in death from heart disease.

Study author Professor Maciej Banach says:

"The findings suggest that low carbohydrate diets are unsafe and should not be recommended."

Ditching that bread and rice may well be a bad idea.


When do low carb diets work?

Carbs retain water, so in the short term you may lose some weight by dropping your quantity of carbs. However, this weight loss is minimal and is more of a water loss, not fat.

A period of short-term low carb dieting may work in those who are seriously overweight.


Being over 25% body fat would usually mean that you have poor insulin sensitivity. This refers to when your body cannot absorb and use the glucose from carbs as efficiently as it should. Lowering your levels for a short while may help to 're-tune' your body.

The long term effects

Previous research reinforces the idea that cutting out carbs is not beneficial over a long period.

Penn State University split a selection of people into two groups: low carb and higher carb. Although those on lower levels lost more weight initially, after a year there was no difference.


If you're wondering what to do to lose weight, rest assured that you don't need eliminate entire food groups. It owes more to being in a calorie deficit. Cut down on your snacks and portion sizes before anything else.

Here is everything you need to know about carbs.

Read more from JOE's Ditch The Dad Bod series.