Health Risks of Low Carb Diets - PCRM Report

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Possible Health Risks of Low Carb Diets

According to mainstream medical and nutritionist opinion, not all low carb diet plans may be appropriate for long term health. Some low carb plans contain too little carbohydrate and too much dietary fat for comfort.

While it is fair to say that several small short term studies into the effects of low carb diets on weight and health have shown positive results, longer term clinical trials, involving more people, are needed to establish the effect of carb-restriction on health and nutrition.

The PCRM Report into Low Carb Eating, Dec 2003

Founded in 1985, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) is a non-profit organization that promotes preventive medicine, conducts clinical research, and encourages higher standards for ethics and effectiveness in research. In December 2003, they issued a report entitled: "Updated Analysis of Health Problems Associated with High-Protein, High-Fat, Carbohydrate-Restricted Diets Reported via an Online Registry."

The PCRM report summarizes the reports of individuals who experienced health problems while on a high-protein, high-fat, carbohydrate-restricted diet and who offered their information through an Online Registry.

Limitations of the Report

As the report itself admits, its key limitation is that adverse health effects suffered by low carb diet subjects, were self-reported and are not likely to have the same prevalence among all low carb dieters. Furthermore, all data collection of health problems was web-based, thus limiting access, and no attempt was made to assure a representative sample.

The PCRM Low Carb Eating Report

Bearing in mind the above limitations, click below to read a slightly abbreviated version of the report.

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PCRM Conclusion: Urgent Need for Tracking Diet Risks

"While these registry reports do not establish a cause-and-effect relationship between the use of high-protein, high-fat, carbohydrate-restricted diets and health problems, the serious nature of the reported problems points to the urgent need for monitoring the effects of such diets. We recommend that public health authorities begin tracking the use of high-protein, high-fat, carbohydrate-restricted diets used for weight loss or maintenance and record adverse events."

The PCRM report entitled: "Updated Analysis of Health Problems Associated with High-Protein, High-Fat, Carbohydrate-Restricted Diets Reported via an Online Registry" was compiled by Neal D. Barnard, M.D., and Amy Joy Lanou, Ph.D.

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