Low-carbohydrate diets are based on the
idea that avoiding foods high in carbohydrate, such as pasta, bread, rice,
cereal, fruits, and starchy vegetables, causes weight loss. These diets are
usually high in protein and fat.
The appeal of low-carbohydrate
diets is rapid weight loss in the first few days. But
most of the initial weight loss is water. As soon as you add carbohydrate back
into your diet, you will regain the water weight.
American Heart Association does not recommend low-carbohydrate diets because
these diets often restrict healthful foods, such as fruits and vegetables, and do not
provide essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
research shows that these diets may not be harmful for a short time (1 year),
researchers believe more studies are needed. But there are long-term studies
that show the health benefits of eating plant foods that are high in
The American Dietetic Association recommends
including whole grains, vegetables, and beans, because these foods provide a
large variety of nutrients and fiber. High-sugar foods, such as candy and soda,
are high in calories, provide few nutrients, and should be limited in any diet.
If you are pregnant, do not go on a low-carbohydrate diet,
because it may not be safe for your baby.
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.