Do low-carb diets work?

A successful diet involves burning more calories than you take in. There are a lot of fad diets out there, including low-carb diets, that may help you do that in the short term, but they won't help you keep the weight off for the long haul.

Low-carbohydrate diets share a common theory: Carbohydrate-rich foods, especially those with sugar, wreak havoc on your physical and mental well-being. Eating these foods forces your body to make fat with abandon and leaves you moody, irritable, and constantly hungry.

These diets recommend avoiding carbohydrate-containing foods by switching to protein-rich foods or fats, eating carbs at restricted times of the day, or swearing off the most offending foods for life. The short-term health risks and negative side effects correspond with how extreme the diet is, ranging from marginal deficiencies of key vitamins and minerals to light-headedness and nausea.

Incorporating complex carbohydrates in your diet provides many important vitamins and minerals and, when eaten in moderation, are part of a healthy diet. The simple fact is, the key to losing weight for the long term is following a balanced, healthy approach such as the Weight Watchers program.

Weight Watchers offers a comprehensive approach to weight loss that can help you reach your goals.
Low carb diets are effective for some people. If the foods you have a hard time limiting are things like bread, pasta, rice, cereals, potato chips, cakes and cookies, a carbohydrate-restricted diet may help you avoid over-eating these types of foods. Additionally, research shows that diets that focus on lean protein, healthy plant-derived fats, fruit and vegetables tend to improve heart health even more than the traditional “low-fat” diet that was once prescribed. It is important to remember that a one size fits all approach to weight loss is not sensible or supported by research. We are all different and have different food preferences. It seems that the diet that works best for most of us is one that allows us some of the foods we really like, but limits those foods of which we eat too much.
Harvard and Louisiana State University, a two-year federally-financed study included 811 men and women, which showed that cutting calories works, regardless of whether you're emphasizing protein, carbohydrates, or fat.  I recommends you to eat a variety of healthy low calorie foods lose weight. There are many negative effects (such as gianing the weight back and more) by neglecting even just one of your macronutrients, especially carbs. 
Kat Barefield, MS, RD
Nutrition & Dietetics
Yes. Simply because low carb diets cut calories. However, losing weight is not the issue for most people. Keeping it off is where most people fail. So, low carb diets work in the short run but generally not in the long run just like other diets. 

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.