#6 low-carb fear: Nutrient deficiencies

nutrientsWe’re counting down the top low-carb fears, and this one is #6. Can you get nutrient deficiencies on low carb?

The answer? Probably the opposite. The foods consumed on a low-carb diet are highly nutritious.1 For example, eggs (a staple for most people on low carb) may provide the most complete nutrition of any food on the planet.

Consider that a complete chicken can be formed from the nutrients inside the egg. There’s no way for the chicken to pop out and get some vitamins while growing in the egg, everything has to be there. And by eating an egg we get all those nutrients.

Meat, fish and vegetables are also highly nutritious foods. And many people eating low carb tend to replace nutrient-poor pasta, rice and potatoes with more nutrient-rich vegetables.

Compared to that, modern flour is more or less devoid of any nutrition whatsoever apart from pure starch. Usually it’s legally required to add vitamins to flour, so that people who eat a lot of it do not get vitamin deficiencies.

On top of that problem, grains like wheat are high in phytic acid that can reduce absorption of many minerals.

Fruit is often thought to be very nutritious. This is a sad misunderstanding. Apart from vitamin C there are very few nutrients in most modern fruit. These days, they are modified to be very sweet and mostly supply nutrients in the form of sugar. Fruit is basically candy from nature, and should probably be eaten in moderation. Juice is of course even worse.

Modern fast food and junk food also contain a lot of calories and not much nutrition. And low-fat products are low in essential fat-soluble vitamins.

Bottom line: Switching from a standard Western diet to a low-carb diet based on real foods is likely to significantly increase the amount of vitamins and minerals you get from your diet.


Top 14 Low-Carb Fears (And Whether You Should Be Worried)

Low-Carb Side Effects

Low Carb for Beginners

  1. Natural fats, meat, poultry, sea food, eggs, vegetables and berries.

    Learn more about low-carb foods


  1. Anonymous
    This seems to be a little misleading, no? Certainly there are micronutrients that are at least more difficult to find in low-carb foods, if not impossible. For example, being on a low-carb diet, I've been told to take potassium supplements, since I'm no longer consuming bananas or potatoes. Magnesium is another one, I've heard. It might help people if you address the possible deficiencies and how to supplement them.
    Replies: #3, #8
  2. Morgan a Walker
    Since I've gone low carb, I know I consume much more protein. And hence better and more vitamins and minerals. For instance, my hair, which has been very thin for at least the past 3 decades is now thicker than I ever remember it being. My nails grow like crazy. And I lost 108 pounds in two years. IMO, it's the only way to eat.
  3. Line
    Bananas has roughly 358 mg per 100g. Cooked spinach has 466 mg, Kale has 491 mg, Wild cooked salmon 490 mg, macademia nuts 368 mg, just to take some foods.

    As for magnesium pr 100 g: Banana 27 mg, spinach 79 mg, kale 47 mg, pumpkin seeds 534 mg, mackerel 97 mg, dark chocolate 327 mg, even an avocado beats the banana: 29 mg.

    This is not a complete list, but you can look it up further. I can't see how LCHF could in anyway be lower in nutrition. Also remember that when you add more fat, a lot of nutrients gets better absorbed.

    And finally I agree with Morgan, the best proof is how super well I feel: hair, nails, energy, less prone to diseases etc.

  4. John Snow
    I followed a low carb, high protein/fat diet and it almost killed me. Bananas and other valuable fruits are not allowed in this diet. After almost 2 years following his diet, my minerals were so diminished that I suffered from an attack of atrial fibrillation along with a stroke. And I am in my mid 40s! I was only a bit overweight - the LCHF diet actually did not help in my case. I would not recommend the LCHF diet as I think there is too little known about it and probably only a fraction of people benefit from it in the short term. It should really not be a lifestyle to eat unnatural high amounts of fat. In our evolution, we never ever had access to those amounts of fat, so it is not plausible that this is "natural" to us humans. I advice people to be really careful with this abnormal diet. It almost killed me! Best, John
  5. M...
    LCHF for years, no deficiencies though I already take magnesium supplements and have done since before I started this.
    I'd rather get my nutrition from real food! I eat more vegetables than ever and actually enjoy them now.
    After years of this I've improved my health dramatically so even if I did find out I was deficient in something, I'd just go find a way to get it rather than dropping this very very very very successful way of eating :)
  6. Susie
    Dr Eenfeldt, will you address the comments made by John Snow?
  7. blake letras
    John Snow's comment doesn't take a doctor to respond to. Its simple, fruit is not necessary at all for even optimal health. He's expression of diminished minerals must mean he failed to eat vegetables. Anyone that has spent a decent amount of time comparing nutrient details in food databases knows that fruit is the slow-witted cousin of the vegetable. Nutritionally speaking, vegetables have practically all you need. However, there is another flaw in his claim, research finds that the Inuit people did just fine without both fruits and vegetables, mainly consuming fatty fish.
  8. Sadrien
    magnesium and potassium are both easy on low carb. Brazil nuts, avocados and fish give you far more than bananas or potatoes ever could.

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