Low-carbohydrate diets are the latest fad. Atkins, Paleo, South Beach, Keto. Most of you will have heard of them…perhaps you’ve even tried a few yourselves. But is totally removing carbohydrate from your diet actually a good idea?
Low-carbohydrate diets tend to be higher in fat and protein than other diets, but to be fair, most people lose weight on them … at least initially. Early weight loss tends to happen with ANY diet. What nutritionists were interested in this review, published in Clinical Nutrition Research, was what long-term impact low carbohydrate diets had on our vascular system – which is our network of blood vessels including our heart.
Their conclusions were surprising. Not only did they find evidence that high carbohydrate diets are detrimental to our vascular system, low carbohydrate diets were too. We appear to have a U-shaped relationship with carbohydrates, where too much or too little is bad, and the right amount is beneficial.
This suggests current dietary guideline recommendations may be too high, but that carbohydrate restriction is not a good idea either. The authors also found evidence that the quality of the carbohydrate matters, with low-GI carbohydrates being more protective of our cardiovascular health than equal quantities of high-GI carbohydrates.
Perhaps everything in moderation is the best diet of them all?