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The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee is Ignoring the Science on Low-Carb Diets

The DGA touch every aspect of nutrition and health in America and must be founded on sound science. We need your help to ensure that the science behind low-carb diets is not excluded!

Our mission

The Low-Carb Action Network is advocating for a true low-carb diet to be added to the official Dietary Guidelines for Americans as a viable dietary option.

Our current nutritional guidelines are all high‑carbohydrate.

More than 50% of calories as carbohydrates is not an appropriate diet for the majority of Americans with pre-diabetes or Type 2 diabetes, for the 2/3 of Americans who are obese or overweight, or for the 88% of Americans who take medication for some kind of diet-related disease. These people need a low-carb option.

USDA’s Three “Dietary Patterns”

Macronutrients listed as a percentage of total calories.

What is a low‑carb diet?

Low-carbohydrate diets are defined in the scientific literature as both percentages of macronutrients and total grams of carbohydrates. The USDA definition of 45% of calories as carbs is incorrect. The following definitions are largely accepted by leaders in the field, including now, the National Lipid Association:

  • Low carbohydrate diet: ≤ 25% of calories, or 51-130 grams/day[1][2][3][4]
  • Very low carbohydrate (ketogenic) diet: <10% of calories or ≤ 50 grams/day[5]

What is the evidence for low‑carb?

A large, university-based clinical trial of 349 participants shows Type 2 diabetes can be reversed: This means pre-diabetes can also be reversed. The only other diet demonstrating the ability to reverse the course of diabetes is a formula-based, starvation-level diet, yet the outcomes are not as well sustained.

55%Reversed diagnosis in patients with T2 diabetes
91%Participants who reduced or eliminated need for insulin

There have now been at least 52 clinical trials on “low-carb,” with the diet defined as 25% of calories as carbs or less.* These include:

  • 3,181 participants enrolled
  • 7 trials, lasting 1 year
  • 1 trial lasting 2 years

*There are nearly 100 trials where low-carb is defined as up to 45% of calories as carbohydrates, but we do not consider this to be a true, low-carb diet.

Low-carb, including “very low-carb,” is considered a “standard of care” by the American Diabetes Association (ADA), in part because this diet lowers blood pressure, increases the “good” cholesterol, and controls blood sugars.[1]

Also, the ADA concluded that “Reducing overall carbohydrate intake for individuals with diabetes has demonstrated the most evidence for improving glycemia [blood sugar control].”[2]

All these positive health outcomes are also relevant for the 88% of Americans with metabolic diseases.

Is a low‑carb diet sustainable?

In an online survey exploring how voluntary adherents of a low-carbohydrate diet rate its effectiveness, more than half of the 1580 respondents reported that they had been on the diet for over a year. Of the respondents, more than 500 had been low-carb for over 2 years.

While many of the respondents started a low-carb diet for weight loss, they also reported other physical and psychological improvements. 51 percent reported having high energy levels (compared to only 4% before low-carb). Use of various medications reduced by more than half, and eight out of 10 respondents reported improved self-esteem and overall happiness.

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USDA & the DGAC recently excluded nearly every low-carb study from their scientific reviews that will inform the 2020 Dietary Guidelines. This is unacceptable. Join L-CAN in taking action now!

Take Action | Low-Carb Action Network

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