The Committee is currently defining a “low-carb” diet as one with 45% of total calories as carbohydrates. This erroneous definition needs to change! Otherwise, the committee’s scientific analyses will lead to inaccurate and misleading results–ultimately yielding an unreliable 2020 Dietary Guidelines. We need a true, accurate low-carb diet as part of the 2020 Guidelines!
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.
Macronutrients listed as a percentage of total calories.
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:
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.
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:
*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.
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.