Meta-Analysis Reveals: Low Carb Diets Promote Better Metabolic Risk Factors

Ok, another article that’s behind a paywall, and it’s just a meta analysis, but still, it’s more evidence that the tide is turning in the medical, health and nutrition community. According to the abstract of a meta-analysis just published in the American Journal of Epidemiology,

persons on low-carbohydrate diets experienced a slightly but statistically significantly lower reduction in total cholesterol (2.7 mg/dL; 95% confidence interval: 0.8, 4.6), and low density lipoprotein cholesterol (3.7 mg/dL; 95% confidence interval: 1.0, 6.4), but a greater increase in high density lipoprotein cholesterol (3.3 mg/dL; 95% confidence interval: 1.9, 4.7) and a greater decrease in triglycerides (-14.0 mg/dL; 95% confidence interval: -19.4, -8.7).

This is, of course, what we’ve seen borne out by other studies and the cholesterol biomarkers come as no surprise if you understand how dietary fat and cholesterol relates to endogenous cholesterol, but still, I’ll put this down as a “win” in the science camp, even if it is a meta-analysis.

What bugs me, of course, is the definition of “low carb”:

For the purposes of the study, a low-carbohydrate diet was considered to be one where 45 percent or less of the calories came from carbohydrates

THAT is decidedly NOT a “low carb diet”. Given this, I am kind of surprised that they still found statistically significant improvements to metabolic risk factors. I wonder what they’d find if they studied something that restricted calories from carbs to 25% or less (preferably much less), and limited protein to .6-1.0 grams per pound of lean body mass. We’ll probably have to wait for NuSi to fund something like that.


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