A low-carb diet superior for overweight children once again


Do you want to lose weight? Study after study shows that if you do, you should avoid sugar and starch. This is also true for children and youth. A new study showed that children (on average 13 years old) lost more weight on a strict low carbohydrate diet, despite eating until satisfied!

Children who instead received low fat and low calorie dietary advice had more difficulty losing weight, despite going hungry. Nor did their health markers improve in comparison.

At least two studies have previously demonstrated better weight for overweight children and youth who were given advice on a strict low carbohydrate diet [1 2]. And altogether there are now at least 18 studies of highest standard (RCT) clearly demonstrating a better weight on a low carbohydrate diet compared to “eat less and run more”. The latter advice has to my knowledge never won in any comparative study. Nor has anybody been able to show me such a study.

This means 18-0 in favor of a low carbohydrate diet.

A low carbohydrate diet is dieting for smart people who enjoy life (and who exercise for the purpose of being fit and feeling well). Eating pasta daily, counting calories and having to exercise like an elite athlete to get slim is a good option for masochists.


  1. Rodrigo
    Also TG levels improved a lot more in the LC groups vs. the LF ones.

    One says:
    "In contrast, the mean reduction in triglycerides was approximately 3-fold greater and strongly significant in the HPLC group (p = 0.0003), whereas there was only a marginal reduction for the LF group (p =0.10); comparison of the change in triglycerides between groups was also significant (p = 0.03)."

    And the other one:
    "Serum TG values decreased significantly from baseline in the LC group."

    So much for artery-clogging saturated fat... duh.

    (first link is broken.. has 'http:/' at the end that probably belongs to the second link)

  2. Dr. Andreas Eenfeldt, MD Team Diet Doctor
    Fixed the link.
  3. Ken
    I started the LCHF diet, thanks to your website, on November 30, 2012. This was the day after I was diagnosed with T2 diabetes. My doctor gave me 3 months to lose at least 12 pounds and bring my fasting sugar and (A1C) down closer to normal or else he would have to put me on meds.

    Today is February 8, 2013 and I have 3 weeks before I get my blood work and go back to my doctor. On November 30, 2012 I weighed 250 lbs. this morning I was 222 and feel better than I have in years. I have been testing my sugar with a glucose meter given to me by my doctor and it is also going down. I am very anxious to see how my bloodwork comes out. Back in November, besides high blood sugar I had all the other bad stuff that went with it , high cholestrol, triglicerides etc. I also have been on HBP meds for the past 5 years.

    My goal is to get under 200 lbs and be completely med free by the end of 2013 and I already have a great start. Thank you Dr. Eenfeldt for showing me the way. I spread the word to anyone that will listen, even my wife and two children. They have also made changes in their eating habits because of my constant preaching. They are not full on LCHF yet, but I'm working on it. (: There are a lot of people that say what I am doing is dangerous but I keep saying how do you argue with the results!! I am really looking forward to getting my blood work done in three weeks, I think the results will speak for themselves!!

  4. Rebecca
    Dr. Eenfeldt, what do you know about ketogenic diets stunting the growth of children? I low-carb strictly, and my 12-year-old daughter joined me, though I know she indulges in junk at school sometimes. Her bloodwork has improved immensely (her fasting insulin went from 17 to 3), but I read that children on strict ketogenic diets tend to be smaller (the study looked at epileptic patients who were kept in ketosis to control seizures). The concern was that ketosis dampens growth hormones. I asked our doctor about this (he supports low-carbing), but he'd never heard about it.

    Any thoughts?

    Reply: #6
  5. Galina L.
    As far as I know, a very strict ketogenic diets for epileptics also seriously reduced protein. It is possible, the level of consumed carbs is not as low as you guess in your doter's diet. Check what she eats on the fitday.com for a week, including there all junk at school.
  6. Zepp
    The epileptic ketogenic diet is a harsh diet, moste fats, limited in calories and protein.. not that much of a wonder if they dont grow as they should.

    Kids need calories and proteins to grow.. and they can use carbs to, as energy.

    And they can sure have fruits on a regular base and some cakes ocasionaly.


  7. HighlySkeptical
    The 85-90% fat diet used for epileptics is far different than the 60-65% fat diet used for wright loss in LCHF. Most children eating LCHF eat 60% fat, 25% protein, and 15% carbs, based on 50-60 total carbs a day. Dr Jay Wortman's daughter thrives on this diet.
  8. Wade Henderson
    Unfortunately, all we can read about the two diets is as follows....

    1) Subjects: Fifty-eight obese subjects were placed on one of the two diets for 6 months.
    2) Objective: To compare the efficacy and metabolic impact of ketogenic and hypocaloric diets in obese children and adolescents.

    One's first questions would be--- What is the ketogenic diet? Both the goal and eventual end diet following various compliance levels.

    And of course what is the "hypocaloric" diet? What was the goal and what was the eventual diet after the 6 months of "compliance".

    To just indicate one was better means nearly nothing without details. No, I wasn't willing to spend 42.00 USD to find out.

    I don't have any doubt the ketogenic diet produced some good results.
    But all we have to go on is your label of the other diet as follows "received low fat and low calorie dietary advice"
    We don't know the what the advice was or what the compliance was.

    How about at least telling us what the % of calories as fat was aimed for. Then what it ended up over the 6 months. What the calories levels were supposed to be and what they ended up.

    I'm guessing the aim was 30% and the end result some what in excess of that.

  9. Rebecca and others on the subject of ketogenic diets stunting growth in children.

    Yes, it is true, children on a ketogenic diet don´t grow as tall as "normal" children on the Standard American Diet (SAD) and by the way the don´t grow as fat either. Rebecca wrote:
    "The concern was that ketosis dampens growth hormones."

    Look at the other side of the coin! Is it normal for mankind to grow as high as we do on SAD and is it the SAD actually what tampers with our growth hormones in an unnatural way?

    * SAD spikes blood sugar and that spikes insulin. Insulin is a growth hormone. In fact is on the doping-list, if an athlete takes insulin (without having diabetes) he/she will be disqualified.

    * Cattle grows a lot faster and fatter on a grainbased (SAD-like) diet than on thier normal grass-diet. For cattle the grass-diet is actually a ketogenic LCHF diet, it's almost zero in sugars and starches but high in fibre/cellulose that are converted to short chain saturated fatty acid by gut bacteria in cattle. Now which cow would you say has a normal growth pattern - the one on grains or the one on grass?

    * In the Western world we have kept on becoming taller and taller for every year, decades after malnutrition was erridicated. Here in Sweden we have perfect records of higth and weight of all 18 year old men since until recently every man was called in to make millitary (or civil) service.

    * The aboriginal Sami population with a high protein, low fat diet (similar to native North American's) have since centuries been reknown for their good health and longlivety. They were shorter then the average Swede back in the early 20th century and had remarkedly lower incidense of cancer and heart disease. But since converting to a standard Swedish diet the Sami now are "normal" hight, "normal" (over-) weight and have "normal" risk for dying in cancer and heart disease.

    So what is normal? Is beeing an inch shorter than average a problem?

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  11. giny
    I am a Clinical Research Nurse from London and I can only share calorie counting and Paleolithic Diet on any ages will make you not only lose a big amount of body fat also may save you from debilitating illnesses.
  12. MzBaker
    everyone in our home was addicted to sugar and carbs! Now no one is! We all take in much less carbs myself 20 or less because I have a lot to lose! My son gets around 60 or so and hubby I have no idea he eats whatever when ever! I have been making it a point to make dessert with no sugar like jello with cream. I even made a diet revolution roll cake it was amazing! I am learning and no longer brain washed! I hope to continue losing and not allow my son to become obese like myself!
  13. Adrian
    Good day I have an overweight 6 year old son and I am very concerned about his eating habits. He stays hungry or that's what he tells us. His diet currently is mainly starch, rice and potatoes. Please can you give me advice on how I can change his diet without any radical changes.
    Reply: #14
  14. bill
    Okay, I'll answer if nobody else will.

    You're the adult. He's 6 years old. You can
    dictate what he eats. End of story.

    If you don't understand what to eat/feed,
    look at "Low Carb" on the menu at the top
    of this page.

  15. Chris McNab
    I'm sorry I know this is a really old thread but I am concerned about my 9 yr old daughter who is obese. We have been eating low carb for 2 years and, although I have not been as strict with her diet as my own, I have not seen any improvement in her weight. I have lost 90lbs. My son, on the other hand, has slimmed out and seems to be doing well despite eating more carbohydrates than she does. I eat 20-50g of carbs daily and estimate her to be around 50-100g daily. Should I attempt to restrict her carb intake further or just have faith that she will grow out of this as long as we maintain a healthy low carb lifestyle?
    We do not have any processed foods in the house, we do not serve any potatoes, rice, pasta, breads, or grains. She is allowed candy/cake occasionally at birthdays or other celebrations but her day to day diet does not include these items. Any advice would be appreciated. Both she and I are very frustrated.

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