Nutrition Evidence Database Alert – Low Carbohydrate Diets – What the Evidence Says


The low-carb diet debate continues and remains controversial in nutrition and medical circles. However, the scientific evidence base is building in relation to the therapeutic potential of low-carbohydrate and ketogenic diets for a number of chronic conditions seen by nutrition practitioners in their clinics. As always, there are studies that sit on the other side of the coin – arguing, once more, for the importance of individualised nutrition protocols.

For this edition of the Nutrition Evidence Alert, we have focused on the evidence base for low-carbohydrate diets, highlighting 38 full text papers that illustrate the impact of reduced carbohydrate intake on obesity, heart disease, Type 2 Diabetes and more. For this alert, I recommend you go through the 15 are randomised controlled trials that the Editorial Team has chosen for you. They all feature a plain language summary, so they’re instantly shareable with patients/clients, friends and family.

Happy reading.

Miguel Toribio-Mateas, Editor-in-Chief




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Miguel Toribio-Mateas shares his editorial picks for this month’s Nutrition Evidence Alert. 

A nutrition practitioner with extensive clinical and research experience, Miguel is a research fellow in brain-gut-microbiota axis and mental health at the School of Applied Sciences, London South Bank University, where he is working on the design and implementation of clinical trials assessing the effects of fermented foods on mental wellbeing. He tells us that “based on current evidence, no study looking at the impact of carbohydrate-rich foods on health outcomes should ignore the role of the gut microbiota in this process.” 

Miguel tells us how practitioners should look at the best available evidence about low carb diets and critically appraise it, applying it in clinical practice on an case-by-case basis. He also tells us that nutrition researchers should be combining validated patient-reported outcomes measures or PROMs (such as MYMOP) with biological markers such as blood glucose levels or gut microbial profiles as a means to enrich the quality and relevance of the data obtained from clinical interventions, particularly when they take place in the real world. The perfect example are recommendations given to clients / patients at personalised nutrition practices where clinicians provide individualised support based on the person’s needs.

Miguel’s doctoral research focuses on capturing insights from this type of real-world data. His project was awarded a Work-Based Learning Santander Bank scholarship in 2016 and is the first to run at the newly formed Faculty of Transdisciplinary Practice at Middlesex University. He is currently working with a team of health data scientists, and health research technologists building an online system that will enable to capture publication-ready clinical data. The system will be made available to all BANT members from September and will contribute to building practice-based scientific evidence. If you’re a member of BANT, please keep an eye on all communication channels.

These are Miguel’s editorial picks on low-carbohydrate diets and their impact on chronic disease:

> Does high-carbohydrate intake lead to increased risk of obesity? A systematic review and meta-analysis.

Individualized Meal Replacement Therapy Improves Clinically Relevant Long-Term Glycemic Control in Poorly Controlled Type 2 Diabetes Patients.

A Plant-Based High-Carbohydrate, Low-Fat Diet in Overweight Individuals in a 16-Week Randomized Clinical Trial: The Role of Carbohydrates.

Comparison of two low-fat diets, differing in protein and carbohydrate, on psychological wellbeing in adults with obesity and type 2 diabetes: a randomised clinical trial.

Low-carbohydrate diets for type 1 diabetes mellitus: A systematic review.

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