Is it really the case that all carbohydrates are bad for you and must be severely limited for weight loss? Well, not exactly. A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association actually showed that restricting carbohydrates is not necessarily a bad idea after all. In fact, the study showed that a certain amount of carbs is essential for good health.
The research was performed by the USDA, the National Academy of Sciences, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The purpose of the study was to determine the effects of a high protein, low carb diet on fertility. Specifically, they were looking at the impact of a low carb diet on women undergoing in vitro fertilization. The short answer to this question is complicated. This article will focus on the main outcome, which is the overall health of the woman and her potential child if she should get pregnant while adhering to the diet.
The study published in the Journal of American Medical Association looked at nine groups of women, four of which had already undergone in vitro fertilization (IVF). All nine groups had similar characteristics, including age (range: early 20s to early 40s), location (ontology: liver, kidney, pancreas), height (range: obese or moderately obese), body mass index (BMI: 30 or greater), and level of carbohydrate intake (lean: low or high). After the four groups were combined for a ketogenic diet, results showed an improvement in pregnancy rates. The improvement in IVF success rate was not significant. This is interesting, but more studies are needed to reach conclusive conclusions.
Other studies have demonstrated that restricting carbs can help people lose weight. For example, a study published in the Journal of American Medical Association demonstrated that restricting carbohydrates prior to a meal helped people to burn more fat during the next meal. In addition to this, another study published in the European Journal demonstrated that many carbs are converted into body fat rather than stored energy. Based on these two studies, it appears that carbohydrates do not contribute to weight gain.
However, recent studies published in Nature Communications show that restricting carbs to only some of the day may increase the risk of developing metabolic syndrome, a cluster of diseases caused by high intake of simple carbs such as sugar and white flour. Also, recent studies published in journals of Public Health demonstrate that people who are chronically underweight are more likely to develop chronic diseases including diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. These studies also suggest that eating low carb diets can help to prevent other common diseases such as osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s, and multiple sclerosis. Further, studies published in Nature Communications on the effects of low carb diets on mice models of Alzheimer’s showed that when they were fed a high-protein diet, they showed memory loss and exhibited symptoms of the disease earlier than when they were fed a high carb diet.
Overall, both types of diets can be effective. However, those with a propensity to develop metabolic syndrome should limit their intake of simple carbs such as breads, pastas, and pasta and focus their eating on higher quality proteins such as eggs, cheese, fish, poultry, and legumes. Additionally, individuals with high blood sugar levels should consider eating a bit of fibrous carbs such as brown rice or whole grain rice instead of simple carbs to keep blood glucose levels low.