If you've embraced the low-carb lifestyle, it's likely that you care about your health. Unfortunately, the science behind low-carb living can get...complicated to understand. After all, there are thousands of studies on the subject, yet the evidence seems inconclusive. Not any longer. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the agency that creates the highly-regarded Dietary Guidelines for Americans, is finally recognizing the widespread benefits of a low-carb diet, so much so that for the new, 2020-2025 guidelines, it has looked deeply into the science behind low-carb living, has brought updated research to light, and is even seeking public opinion on what to include in their latest edition. Here is the agency's current stance on low-carb diets, a new wave of research, and what that science reveals for dieters across the country.
The 2015-2020 Guidelines
The USDA's most recent Dietary Guidelines for Americans, published in 2015, does not recommend a low-carb diet. With a new edition hitting the web every five years, however, the USDA has found enough updated science at the current time that they're seeking input on what to include in their new, 2020 edition. Their view on the diet has changed drastically based on new, scientific evidence that has been intensely studied worldwide. Here is their current view on the subject, directly from the USDA itself:
Low-carbohydrate diets have now been tested in at least 70 clinical trials on nearly 7,000 people, including a wide variety of sick and well populations, mainly in the U.S. Thirty-two of these studies have lasted at least six months and six trials went on for two years, enough time to demonstrate the lack of any negative side effects. In virtually every case, the lower-carb, higher-fat diets did as well or better than competing regimens. The cumulative evidence shows that low-carb diets are safe and effective for combating obesity, highly promising for the treatment of Type 2 diabetes, and they improve most cardiovascular risk factors.
After closely evaluating this research, the USDA recognizes that 70 studies don't lie when it comes down to evidence. Indeed, a low-carb diet brings health benefits for everyone from diabetics to those seeking weight loss. It wants Americans to know the truth behind low-carb living so they can make nutritional decisions that will best impact their health, especially those seeking relief from disease or wanting to minimize risk. While the Nutrition Coalition (TNC) doesn't support one go-to diet for everyone, it states that "it is an undeniable fact that the high-carbohydrate approach enshrined in the Dietary Guidelines has not produced good health for the majority of Americans." Revealing the facts behind low-carb living could potentially help millions of Americans discover a diet that has a drastic impact on everyday health.
The view on low-carb living is changing, and with new studies emerging, along with the 2020 dietary guidelines on their way, it might just become mainstream! The best and most current science does support a low-carb diet, and the older research is outdated. The new guidelines aim to support new research, and reveal how positive and healthy a low-carb lifestyle actually is. Here's a rundown of just a few of those 70 studies, and what they reveal about your health.
The Saslow Study & Diabetes
In 2017, over the course of one year, Laura Saslow conducted a revealing study on low-carb living among overweight adults with type 2 diabetes or prediabetes. Testing a low-carb diet against a moderate-carb diet, the Saslow study displayed a notable benefit in glycemic control. Results suggest that adults with pre-diabetes and non-insulin dependent type 2 diabetics can improve their glycemic control by diet alone, with less medication required. Participants who followed a very low-carb ketogenic diet fared better than those following a moderate-carb, calorie-restricted, low-fat diet—the type that's traditionally recommended. Improving glycemic control by simply switching up your diet? This could be life-changing for diabetics across the country.
The Mansoor Study & Weight Loss
In 2015, Nadia Mansoor conducted another revealing study that discovered the links between low-carb living and weight loss. The Mansoor study tested the effects of a low-carb diet vs. a low-fat diet on both body weight and cardiovascular risks, using a series of randomized trials amongst a mind-blowing group of 1,369 healthy participants over a series of 18 months. For low-carb dieters aiming for weight loss, it revealed incredible news. An opposite change occurred among participants -- with those on a low-carb diet reaping the best results. Increased weight loss and cholesterol control were the major winners here, and both are leading risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Participants didn't just lose more weight and see their cholesterol levels drop, but they reduced the risk of cardiovascular problems as well—major benefits for anyone seeking improved health.
The Ruth Study, Weight Loss, and Risk Factors
A Ruth study conducted back in 2013 reveals plentiful low-carb benefits as well. Conducted by Ruth MR, it tested overweight patients for 12 weeks. One group consumed a high-fat, low-carb diet, while the other consumed a low-fat, high-carb diet. Those dining low-carb lowered their levels of C-reactive protein, raised levels of serum apipondetin, and also raised high-density lipoprotein cholesterol. What does this mean? The low-fat/high-carb group saw greater improvements in blood lipid activity, lower levels of systematic inflammation, and experienced weight loss while they were at it. The science involved suggests that high-fat, low-carb diets are highly beneficial for those seeking to improve their cardiovascular health and lower inflammation levels, in addition to losing weight.
An extensive body of evidence exists, all based on scientific studies, that proves the vast benefits underlying a low-carb lifestyle. From weight loss to diabetes management, epilepsy control, mood improvement, and beyond -- the facts are officially out in the open. With the FDA aiming to publish updated, realistic facts on low-carb dieting by 2020, things are taking a turn for the positive.