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Ann Nutr Metab. 2011 Oct;58(4):320-34. doi: 10.1159/000331994. Epub 2011 Oct 7.

Low-carbohydrate diets: a matter of love or hate.

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Research Department, Hospital General 'Dr. Manuel Gea González', Mexico City, Mexico.


Low-carbohydrate diets (LChD) have become very popular among the general population. These diets have been used to lose body weight and to ameliorate various abnormalities like diabetes, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, polycystic ovary syndrome, narcolepsy, epilepsy, and others. Reports suggest that body weight reduction and glycemic control could be attained while following LChD. However, these advantages are more notably found in short periods of time consuming an LChD. Indeed, the safety and efficacy of the latter diets in the long term have not been sufficiently explored. In contrast to what has been proposed, other mentioned pathologies are not improved or are even worsened by carbohydrate restriction. Therefore, the aim of this review is to define the concept of LChD and to explain their clinical effects in the short and long term, their influence on metabolism, and the opinion of nutrition or health authorities. Finally, evincing the research gaps of LChD that are here exposed will later allow us to reach a consensus with regard to their utilization.

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