Skip to Content
Home > Wellness > Health Library > Low-Carbohydrate Diets for Weight Loss
Low-carbohydrate diets are based on the
idea that avoiding foods high in carbohydrate, such as pasta, bread, rice,
cereal, fruits, and starchy vegetables, causes weight loss. These diets are
usually high in protein and fat.
The appeal of low-carbohydrate
diets is rapid weight loss in the first few days. But
most of the initial weight loss is water. As soon as you add carbohydrate back
into your diet, you will regain the water weight.
Low-carbohydrate diets are not recommended
The American Dietetic Association and the
American Heart Association do not recommend low-carbohydrate diets. People who
have serious medical conditions, such as
type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, or
high blood pressure, should talk to a doctor before
starting a low-carbohydrate diet.
American Heart Association does not recommend low-carbohydrate diets because
these diets often restrict healthful foods, such as fruits and vegetables, and do not
provide essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
research shows that these diets may not be harmful for a short time (1 year),
researchers believe more studies are needed. But there are long-term studies
that show the health benefits of eating plant foods that are high in
The American Dietetic Association recommends
including whole grains, vegetables, and beans, because these foods provide a
large variety of nutrients and fiber. High-sugar foods, such as candy and soda,
are high in calories, provide few nutrients, and should be limited in any diet.
If you are pregnant, do not go on a low-carbohydrate diet,
because it may not be safe for your baby.
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerAnne C. Poinier, MD - Internal MedicineSpecialist Medical ReviewerRhonda O'Brien, MS, RD, CDE - Certified Diabetes Educator
Current as ofMay 20, 2016
Current as of:
May 20, 2016
Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine & Rhonda O'Brien, MS, RD, CDE - Certified Diabetes Educator
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2016 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
I Want To...
Our interactive Decision Points guide you through making key health decisions by combining medical information with your personal information.
You'll find Decision Points to help you answer questions about:
Get started learning more about your health!
Our Interactive Tools can help you make smart decisions for a healthier life. You'll find personal calculators and tools for health and fitness, lifestyle checkups, and pregnancy.
Feeling under the weather?
Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.