The guide for doctors skeptical of low carb

Low-carb, high-fat (LCHF) nutrition saw a popular resurgence in 2018 as the ketogenic diet was the most “googled” diet of the year, and it retained that honor in 2019.1 Probably you’ve heard about it many times, including from patients.

Of course, low-carb eating isn’t new. The whole foods that compose a low-carb diet are similar to what humans have been eating for thousands of years. The recent popularity of low-carb diets, however, has come with new scientific recognition of their health benefits.

Scientific studies of varying quality and duration show low-carb diets (generally less that 100 grams of carbohydrates per day) and ketogenic diets (less than 20-30 grams of carbohydrates per day) provide numerous health benefits including:

Unfortunately, no matter how popular they may be, and despite the numerous health benefits identified in the scientific literature, many people continue to think of low-carb and ketogenic diets as categorically unhealthy and dangerous.

Why is there such a disconnect? The answer may be due to a lack of familiarity with the science behind low-carb diets.

This guide explains the science and examines the misconceptions associated with low-carb diets. If you are a healthcare practitioner, we hope this guide will help you reconsider the risk-benefit balance for low-carb diets.

If you are not a healthcare practitioner, this guide may be able to prepare you for the most common concerns of healthcare providers. Your own experiences with a low-carb diet, plus this guide, can help your doctor better understand its potential benefits.

Below are evidence-based explanations that help sort fact from fiction:

Misconception 1: Nutritional ketosis is the same as ketoacidosis

Doctors likely never learned about nutritional ketosis in medical school or residency training. Instead, ketones are typically only mentioned as part of the life-threatening condition called ketoacidosis.

Ketoacidosis occurs mostly in people with type 1 diabetes and results from a severe deficiency of insulin. In this setting, blood glucose is typically quite high, while ketone levels rise above 7 mmol/L (and usually above 10), causing the blood to become more acidic and placing the individual at tremendous risk.2

Ketoacidosis, however, is completely different from nutritional ketosis, where blood ketone levels usually range between 0.5-4 mmol/L and are accompanied by adequate insulin levels and normal blood glucose. Further, nutritional ketosis and ketoacidosis are physiologically very different, with the former having practically no health risk. The body is simply using mostly ketones for fuel, as opposed to mostly glucose. This basic physiological difference is important for every healthcare practitioner to understand.3

Concerns about “ketosis” should not deter clinicians from recommending a low-carb or ketogenic lifestyle.4

Keto graph

Misconception 2: Low-carb diets may deliver short term weight loss, but at the cost of increased risk of heart disease or death

As low-carb eating has increased in popularity, there has also been an increase in studies claiming low-carb diets increase the risk of dying prematurely, or increase the risk for heart disease. While news headlines tend to sensationalize these studies, a closer look shows the studies do not reach meaningful conclusions and should not be applied to well-formulated low-carb ways of eating.

For example, a 2013 review of 17 studies claimed there was a higher risk of death for those who ate less carbohydrate.5 How did these studies define “low carb?” This is a good question, as definitions varied among studies. Most studies used a “low-carbohydrate diet score,” based on carbohydrate percentage of total calories. They did not use absolute amounts of carbohydrate intake, which is how therapeutic low-carb diets are typically defined.6

Generally speaking, the lowest intake of carbohydrate in these studies averaged around 40% of calories.7 For a 2,000 calorie diet, 40% is 200 grams of carbs. While that is less than the standard American diet containing anywhere from 250-400 grams of carbs, it is far more than the 20 to 50 grams of daily carbs in low-carb and ketogenic diets used as interventions for obesity and chronic disease.8

In addition, in most of the studies analyzed, there was no control for the quality of carbs. If a person is eating 200 grams of carbohydrates per day, there is plenty of room for refined and processed carbohydrate-containing foods. On a low-carb diet, carbohydrate calories come almost exclusively from vegetables and nuts, not from sugary, starchy, processed food.

These observational studies also suffer from healthy user bias.9 During the 1980s and 1990s, public health messages told us to avoid fat and consume more carbohydrate. The individuals who were eating 40% carbs and 40% fat in these studies — in other words, not following the dietary advice of the time — were also more likely to ignore other public health messages and to smoke, not exercise, and consume excessive calories. It is impossible for an observational study to account for all of these confounding variables, thus making the data far less useful.

Last, observational studies can only show associations; they cannot prove cause-effect relationships. While they can suggest a need for better studies to evaluate a possible association, the low hazard ratios (less than 2.0) found in these studies are more likely the result of statistical noise as opposed to reflecting a true association.10

In conclusion, there is no moderate or strong evidence demonstrating that eating a whole-food, low-carb diet results in an increased risk of heart disease or early death.

Misconception 3: Low-carb diets that include more fat inevitably raise cholesterol

This turns out to not be true for the majority of individuals following a low-carb diet. Most studies show no significant change in low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, but rather show the potentially beneficial effect of raising HDL, lowering triglycerides, and reducing the number of atherogenic small, dense LDL particles.11 In fact, one low-carb study looking at a 10-year atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) risk calculation for participants showed decreased overall cardiovascular risk.12

However, there is a small subset of people – termed hyper-responders – whose LDL increases significantly on a LCHF diet. The frequency of this effect is not precisely known, but it is estimated to occur in roughly 5-25% of those who follow a low-carb diet.

While the medical literature shows that elevated LDL is associated with increased cardiovascular risk in people following a low-fat or standard American diet, we don’t know if the same holds true for people eating a low-carb diet.

Why would the risk assessment be different? Well, for starters, even when the concentration of LDL-cholesterol increases on a low-carb diet, it tends to shift from being small and dense (thought to be more atherogenic) to large and less dense (thought to be less atherogenic).13 Second, HDL tends to increase and triglycerides tend to decrease on low carb; these changes can independently predict improved cardiovascular risk. And third, both blood pressure and insulin resistance usually decrease, further reducing the risk of outcomes like heart attack and stroke.14

You can read mor in our guide titled Is elevated LDL harmful?

Despite these favorable changes to the lipid profile and other metabolic improvements, we simply do not have outcome data to support or refute the hypothesis that higher LDL levels in low-carb eaters aren’t dangerous. Given the uncertainty and the fact that LDL has been found to correlate with risk in a multitude of studies, careful consideration should be given to whether any adjustments to diet or medication are indicated.

You can read more in our post about our official position on LDL cholesterol.

Fried eggs and bacon

Cholesterol and low-carb diets

GuideLearn what cholesterol is, how your body uses it, why low-carb and keto diets may lead to a change in blood cholesterol levels, and whether you should be concerned if your cholesterol increases with a keto or low-carb lifestyle.

Misconception 4: The excessive amounts of protein consumed on a low-carb diet can cause kidney damage, osteoporosis, and heart disease

First, most low-carb diets are not high in protein. Most include about 20 to 30% of calories from protein, which can range from 70-150 grams of protein per day, well within normal recommended amounts of 10-35% of calories.15

There is no evidence to suggest that protein intake at this level is harmful to people with normal or even moderately decreased kidney function.16 If someone already has severe kidney disease, then a moderate-protein diet could be harmful, so caution regarding a low-carb diet may be warranted in those cases.17 However, most low-carb and ketogenic diets are likely safe for all except those with pre-existing advanced renal failure.

In addition, protein consumption does not lead to compromised bone health.18 In fact, poor protein intake is more likely to contribute to bone loss.19 The concern that extra protein turns the blood more acidic – thus harming our bones – is a claim not supported by quality evidence, as described in more detail here.

Finally, there is no moderate or strong evidence linking protein intake with heart disease risk. As noted previously in the fat and heart disease section, data showing associations between protein intake and heart disease come from weak nutritional epidemiology studies that cannot show causal relationships. It is also worth noting that some such studies – like the Nurses’ Health Study – demonstrate an inverse relationship between protein intake and the risk of heart disease.20

Raw Beef Chicken and Fish Isolated Top View

Protein on a low-carb or keto diet

Guide Along with fat and carbohydrates, protein is one of the three macronutrients (“macros”) found in food, and it plays unique and important roles in the body. Here’s a guide to everything you need to know about protein on a low-carb or keto lifestyle.

Misconception 5: The meat and fat allowed on a low-carb diet increase the risk of cancer

For a detailed evaluation of fat intake and cancer risk, please see our guides on diet and cancer and saturated fats. In brief, the data linking fat to cancer risk are inconsistent, incomplete, and unreliable.

The most consistent (albeit weak) associations between cancer risk and fat have been found over the years in observational studies looking at red meat and the risk of colorectal cancer.21 However, two more recent, important papers published in Annals of Internal Medicine make the case that available evidence from randomized controlled trials and observational studies does not support recommendations to lower red meat intake for prevention of cancer or heart disease.22

For more on the science behind concerns about red meat and cancer, see our evidence based red meat guide.

Another question that has received much attention over the years is whether there is an association between fat intake and breast cancer. The Women’s Health Initiative (WHI), the largest randomized trial to address this issue, found no statistically significant reduction in breast cancer risk with a lower fat diet.23 In addition, a meta-analysis of seven prospective studies including 337,000 women likewise showed no association between fat intake and breast cancer risk.24

Rendering of blood cells with one infected cell

Diet and cancer: What we know and what we don’t

Guide In this guide, we’ll look at what we know — and what we don’t know — about food and cancer.

Misconception 6: Whole grains are a necessary part of a healthy diet

To begin with, there is no nutritional requirement for carbohydrates.25 Indeed, the US Food and Nutrition Board’s 2005 textbook “Dietary Reference Intakes for Energy, Carbohydrate, Fiber, Fat, Fatty Acids, Cholesterol, Protein, and Amino Acids,” states that:

“The lower limit of dietary carbohydrate compatible with life apparently is zero, provided that adequate amounts of protein and fat are consumed.”

We can’t live without essential amino acids and essential fatty acids, but there is no such thing as an essential carbohydrate. Therefore, whole grains are clearly not a requirement for survival. But have they been proven to promote health?

Studies demonstrate that whole grains are associated with better health when compared to refined grains.26 That is not much of a surprise given the lack of nutritional value and potential detrimental health effects of refined grains. However, there are no studies comparing whole grains to a grain-free diet composed of whole foods.

Evidence from the so-called Blue Zones, societies where individuals maintain good health into their 90s and 100s much more often than the general population, is also used to support the importance of whole grains. These communities frequently eat diets containing a high percentage of fiber and whole grains. We should recognize, however, that on average their caloric intake is two-thirds that of individuals in most industrialized nations, their food is predominantly locally grown and prepared at home, they don’t eat fast or processed foods, they are physically active their whole lives, and they have strong social connections.27

In addition, Blue Zone findings aren’t based on studies of any kind; they are simply observations about populations of people whose lives are very different from those of people living in contemporary industrialized societies. We cannot accurately extrapolate findings from the Blue Zones to countries where only 12% of the population may be considered metabolically healthy.

As a healthcare provider, we recommend that you determine if your patient is eating a diet high in refined grains. If they are, then switching to whole grains would likely be beneficial.28 If not, then there is a lack of evidence supporting the health benefits of adding whole grains to the diet.

For more information, see our complete guide on whole grains.

Fibre Food for Healthy Eating

“Healthy” whole grains: What the evidence really shows

Guide Do whole grains live up to their reputation as a superfood? Let’s take a closer look at the very weak scientific evidence behind the claims made about their benefits.

Misconception 7: Low carb diets are deficient in fiber

Low-carb diets are not typically low in fiber. In fact, many low-carb and ketogenic diets contain nearly unrestricted amounts of above-ground vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, green beans, bell peppers, zucchini, and more, all of which are high in fiber.

However, even if one chooses to eat a low-fiber, low-carb diet, there is no strong evidence that this is dangerous.29 As with whole grains, the majority of evidence in favor of fiber comes from comparing two different high-carbohydrate diets that are either high or low in fiber. Any high-carbohydrate diet that is low in fiber is more likely to contain highly processed and refined carbohydrates.

There is no question that higher-fiber, less-refined, less-processed carbohydrates are better than lower-fiber, more-processed, more-refined carbohydrates.30 However, there is no solid evidence that fiber is mandatory for good health, especially when considering whether it’s necessary to add fiber to a low-carbohydrate diet composed of whole foods.

Misconception 8: Low carb diets are too restrictive

This statement is all in the eye of the beholder. After all, doctors may recommend a vegan diet without the concern that it is too restrictive, despite the fact that it eliminates all animal products.

Does eating practically all the veggies, meat, cheese, eggs, poultry, fish, nuts, and seeds you want sound restrictive? For some, it might sound like heaven. Seeing that as a restrictive diet is a matter of opinion.

The job of healthcare practitioners is to find the right approach for each individual. Some people may find a low-carbohydrate diet too restrictive, but we believe that they should be given the option to decide for themselves.

Misconception 9: It is too difficult to maintain long term

Let’s be honest: any meaningful lifestyle change has a low chance of being maintained. Smoking cessation, regular exercise programs, and even vegetarian diets have poor long-term compliance.31 However, if an intervention is deemed to be healthy for an individual, fear of compliance should not deter us from suggesting it. Rather, we should provide enough support to help that person maintain the change.

Despite the difficulty of long-term behavior change, some studies demonstrate excellent compliance with a ketogenic diet. The nonrandomized trial performed by Virta Health showed one- and two-year compliance rates of 83% and 74%.32 While this may not be representative of the general population, it shows that with good support, people who choose low-carbohydrate diets can thrive and maintain excellent compliance with them.

When we emphasize the importance of behavior change and improve our logistical support mechanisms for facilitating that change, low-carb diets can play a meaningful role for many patients.

Misconception 10: Clinicians are required to follow guidelines that prescribe low-fat, low-calorie diets

The guidelines are changing. Low-carb diets are now recognized as a treatment option by the American Diabetes Association (ADA) and The European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD).33 That makes low-carb diets an approved therapy.

In addition, there is a growing body of evidence in peer-reviewed journals to support low-carb diets as a “standard of care” option. Dr. David Unwin in the UK has published reports of his successes with low-carb nutrition and has influenced the guidelines put out by the Royal College of General Practitioners.34

Further, Virta Health has published their results using ketogenic diets to treat type 2 diabetes and sometimes induce remission.35 In contrast, there are no published studies using the standard ADA diet to put diabetes into remission as there are for low-carb diets.

Low-carb nutrition has clearly been shown to benefit people with diabetes and is recognized by the ADA as a viable option. Based on all available data, we believe that low-carb diets should also be considered for pre-diabetes, insulin resistance, and metabolic syndrome.

However, healthcare providers who are still hesitant can initiate a low-carb trial period of 6 months with a patient, closely following metabolic health markers such as waist circumference, blood pressure, HbA1c, HDL, triglycerides, LDL, fasting glucose, and fasting insulin. If these are mostly improving, this should be sufficient evidence to support the patient’s decision.

Misconception 11: A ketogenic diet will stunt a child’s growth

One of the first medical uses of a ketogenic diet was to help children with epilepsy control their seizures.36 And it worked well. However, in order to get children to eat enough fat, most of these diets were based on synthetic shakes rather than real food. Unfortunately, that led to some rare complications of stunted growth and even reported deaths, presumably due to unmasked metabolic disorders.37

There are no data to suggest similar concerns are warranted with a real food, ketogenic diet. However, when a ketogenic diet is used in children, careful attention should be paid to monitoring growth rate and including a variety of foods to supply adequate nutrients. When done in this manner, there is no evidence to suggest any potential harm.38

Misconception 12: A low-carb high-fat diet is bad for the environment

This topic is much more complicated that it appears on the surface and is beyond the scope of this guide. Please refer to our three-part series, “The green keto meat eater” or listen to our podcast interview with Professor Frank Mitloehner. In short, there is more than one way to be environmentally friendly, and avoiding animal-sourced foods isn’t necessarily the best.


As physicians and healthcare providers, we all want what is best for our patients. On that, we can all agree.

One of the best ways we can help our patients is by helping them find a lifestyle they can maintain that improves their overall health.

But, how can we pretend there is one best diet for everyone? We all have different preferences, varying degrees of metabolic health, and different goals. Thus, we may need different diets to help us achieve our goals.

At Diet Doctor, we support a low-carb style of eating because of its tremendous potential benefits and a rapidly growing body of evidence supporting those benefits. A low-carb diet may not be right for everyone, but it should certainly be considered an option.

Not only can this dietary intervention improve the health of patients, but — as many clinicians have found — our patients’ successes help us feel successful and satisfied in our work.

Low carb doctors


The guide for doctors skeptical of low carb - the evidence

This guide is written by Adele Hite, RD and was last updated on October 3, 2022. It was medically reviewed by Dr. Michael Tamber, MD on September 29, 2021 and Dr. Bret Scher, MD on October 3, 2022.

The guide contains scientific references. You can find these in the notes throughout the text, and click the links to read the peer-reviewed scientific papers. When appropriate we include a grading of the strength of the evidence, with a link to our policy on this. Our evidence-based guides are updated at least once per year to reflect and reference the latest science on the topic.

All our evidence-based health guides are written or reviewed by medical doctors who are experts on the topic. To stay unbiased we show no ads, sell no physical products, and take no money from the industry. We're fully funded by the people, via an optional membership. Most information at Diet Doctor is free forever.

Read more about our policies and work with evidence-based guides, nutritional controversies, our editorial team, and our medical review board.

Should you find any inaccuracy in this guide, please email

  1. As our post describes, intermittent fasting was the top trending diet, meaning it had the greatest increase from the prior year. But the keto diet overall remained the most searched-for diet.

  2. American Family Physician 2013: Diabetic ketoacidosis: Evaluation and treatment [overview article; ungraded]

    There are rare reports of ketoacidosis in patients with type 2 diabetes who continue taking SGLT-2 inhibitors (e.g. canagliflozin, empagliflozin, dapagliflozin, and others) after beginning a low-carb diet. In this setting, glucose levels may continue to be normal and the condition is therefore called euglycemic ketoacidosis.

    Journal of Diabetes Investigation 2015: Case of ketoacidosis by a sodium-glucose cotransporter 2 inhibitor in a diabetic patient with a low-carbohydrate diet [case report; very weak evidence]

  3. Nutrition Bulletin 2011: Ketosis, ketoacidosis and very-low-calorie diets: Putting the record straight [overview article; ungraded]

  4. Many clinicians are even using low-carb diets to treat patients with type 1 diabetes. You can learn more about this from our evidence based guide, as well as from our podcast interviews with Dr. Jake Kushner and Dr. Ian Lake.

  5. PLoS One 2013: Low-carbohydrate diets and all-cause mortality: a systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies [observational/epidemiological data; very weak evidence]

  6. Nutrition and Metabolism 2008: Dietary carbohydrate restriction in type 2 diabetes mellitus and metabolic syndrome: Time for a critical
    [review; ungraded]

    Diabetes Management 2019: A clinician’s guide to inpatient low carbohydrate diets for remission of type 2 diabetes: Toward a standard of care protocol [case study; very weak evidence]

    In the following study, the authors found those eating 5% carbs were consistently in nutritional ketosis, those eating 15% carbs mostly in ketosis, and those eating 25% carbs inconsistently in ketosis. Assuming an 1800 kcal diet, that equates to 22g, 67g, and 112g total carbs which is likely very close to how Diet Doctor defines strict, moderate, and liberal low-carb diets: 20g, 50g, and 100 g net carbs, respectively.

    Nutrition X 2019: Effects of differing levels of carbohydrate restriction on the achievement of nutritional ketosis, mood, and symptoms of carbohydrate withdrawal in healthy adults: A randomized clinical trial [randomized trial; moderate evidence]

  7. The 2013 review was not the only one to define “low-carb” as less than 40% of calories. A 2020 publication from the Harvard Scool of Public Health used the same improper definition to conclude low-carb diets are dangerous. We reviewed this study in more detail in a prior post.

  8. At Diet Doctor, we define liberal low-carb diets as containing up to 100 grams of carbs, while stricter low-carb and ketogenic diets generally have fewer than 50 and 20 grams, respectively.

  9. Journal of General Internal Medicine 2011: Healthy user and related biases in observational studies of preventive interventions: a primer for physicians [overview article; ungraded]

  10. While a cut off value of 2 is not universally agreed upon, it is included as part of the GRADE criteria for analyzing study quality.

    In addition, the concept of requiring a large enough difference between groups to establish a meaningful finding is also supported by the following references:

    Advances in Nutrition 2018: Limiting dependence on nonrandomized studies and improving randomized trials in human nutrition research: why and how

    JAMA 2018: The challenge of reforming nutritional epidemiologic research

    PLoS Medicine 2005: Why most published research findings are false

    The Lancet 2019: Real-world studies no substitute for RCTs in establishing efficacy

    Frontiers in Nutrition 2018: The failure to measure dietary intake engendered a fictional discourse on diet-disease relations

  11. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2021: Effect of carbohydrate-restricted dietary interventions on LDL particle size and number in adults in the context of weight loss or weight maintenance: a systematic review and meta-analysis [systematic review of randomized trials; strong evidence]

    PLoS One 2020: The effects of low-carbohydrate diets on cardiovascular risk factors: A meta-analysis [systematic review of randomized trials; strong evidence]

    American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2021:
    Effects of a low-carbohydrate diet on insulin-resistant dyslipoproteinemia-a randomized controlled feeding trial
    [randomized trial; moderate evidence]

    Annals of Internal Medicine 2010: Weight and metabolic outcomes after 2 years on a low-carbohydrate versus low-fat diet
    A randomized trial
    [moderate evidence]

  12. Cardiovascular Diabetology 2018: Cardiovascular disease risk factor responses to a type 2 diabetes care model including nutritional ketosis induced by sustained carbohydrate restriction at 1 year: an open label, non-randomized, controlled study [non-randomized trial; weak evidence]

  13. Journal of the American College of Cardiology 2007: Value of low-density lipoprotein particle number and size as predictors of coronary artery disease in apparently healthy men and women: the EPIC-Norfolk Prospective Population Study [observational study, weak evidence]

  14. The British Journal of Nutrition 2016: Effects of low-carbohydrate diets v. low-fat diets on body weight and cardiovascular risk factors: a meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials [strong evidence]

    Lipids 2009: Carbohydrate restriction has a more favorable impact on the metabolic syndrome than a low fat diet [randomized trial; moderate evidence]

    Obesity Reviews 2012: Systematic review and meta-analysis of clinical trial of the effects of low carbohydrate diets on cardiovascular risk factors [systematic review of clinical trials; strong evidence]

  15. At Diet Doctor, we recommend most people aim for a protein range of 1.2-2.0g/kg/day as we detail in our guide on protein intake.

  16. You can read more about this topic in our dedicated guide on low-carb diets and kidney health. Below are supporting references.

    Journal of the American Dietetic Association 2010: Renal function following long-term weight loss in individuals with abdominal obesity on a very-low-carbohydrate diet vs. high-carbohydrate diet [randomized trial; moderate evidence]

    The Journal of Nutrition 2018: Changes in kidney function do not differ between healthy adults consuming higher- compared with lower- or normal-protein diets: A systematic review and meta-analysis [strong evidence]

  17. American Journal of Kidney Disease 1996: Effects of dietary protein restriction on the progression of advanced renal disease in the Modification of Diet in Renal Disease Study [randomized trial; moderate evidence]

  18. Nutrition 2016: Long-term effects of a very very-low-carbohydrate weight-loss diet and an isocaloric low-fat diet on bone health in obese adults [randomized trial; moderate evidence]

  19. International Journal for Vitamin and Nutrition Research 2011: Protein intake and bone health [overview article; ungraded]

  20. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 1999: Dietary protein and risk of ischemic heart disease in women [observational study; very weak evidence]

  21. The evidence for an association suffers from the numerous weaknesses of all nutritional epidemiology studies of chronic disease. In addition, it should be noted that much of the risk attributed to red meat may be confounded by processed meat consumption, as well as by harmful substances formed when meat is charred by cooking at very high temperatures.

    Oncotarget 2017: Red and processed meat consumption and colorectal cancer risk: a systematic review and meta-analysis [observational study; very weak evidence]

  22. Annals of Internal Medicine 2019: Effect of lower versus higher red meat intake on cardiometabolic and cancer outcomes: A systematic review of randomized trials [strong evidence]

    Annals of Internal Medicine 2019: Patterns of red and processed meat consumption and risk for cardiometabolic and cancer outcomes: A systematic review and meta-analysis of cohort studies [observational/epidemiological data; very weak evidence]

  23. Journal of the American Medical Association 2006: Low-fat dietary pattern and risk of invasive breast cancer: the Women’s Health Initiative Randomized Controlled Dietary Modification Trial
    [randomized trial; moderate evidence]

  24. New England Journal of Medicine 1996: Cohort studies of fat intake and the risk of breast cancer — a pooled analysis [observational study; very weak evidence]

  25. BMJ 2018: Dietary carbohydrates: role of quality and quantity in chronic disease [overview article; ungraded]

    There is a misconception that the brain requires dietary carbohydrate; this is untrue. The brain requires at least some glucose, but that requirement can be met by the liver, which is able to make glucose through gluconeogenesis. We explore this topic in more detail in our evidence-based guide.

  26. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2017: Substituting whole grains for refined grains in a 6-wk randomized trial favorably affects energy-balance metrics in healthy men and postmenopausal women [moderate evidence]

    American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2018: The effects of whole-grain compared with refined wheat, rice, and rye on the postprandial blood glucose response: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials [strong evidence]

  27. The following retrospective analysis investigates the chronic caloric reduction practiced by Okinawans.

    Annals of the New York Academy of Science 2007: Caloric restriction, the traditional Okinawan diet, and healthy aging: the diet of the world’s longest-lived people and its potential impact on morbidity and life span [nonrandomized study, weak evidence]

    Other lifestyle practices are detailed in The Blue Zones book. This is a detailed depiction of the author’s observation of these lifestyles, but it is not scientific research.

  28. Of course, we believe that minimizing carbohydrates is advantageous. But for people who want to eat grains, whole grains are preferable to refined.

  29. World Journal of Gastroenterology 2007: Fiber and colorectal diseases: separating fact from fiction [overview; ungraded]

  30. Nutrition Review 2009: Health benefits of dietary fiber. [overview; ungraded]

  31. American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine 2016: Long-term adherence to health behavior change [overview article; ungraded]

  32. Diabetes Therapy 2018: Effectiveness and safety of a novel care model for the management of type 2 diabetes at 1 year: an open-label, non-randomized, controlled study [non-randomized trial; weak evidence]

    Frontiers in Endocrinology 2019: Long-term effects of a novel continuous remote care intervention including nutritional ketosis for the management of type 2 diabetes: A 2-year non-randomized clinical trial [weak evidence]

  33. Diabetes Care 2018: Management of Hyperglycemia in Type 2 Diabetes, 2018. A Consensus Report by the American Diabetes Association (ADA) and the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD)

  34. BMJ Nutrition, Preventiion, & Health 2020: Insights from a general practice service evaluation supporting a lower carbohydrate diet in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus and prediabetes: a secondary analysis of routine clinic data including HbA1c, weight and prescribing over 6 years[non-controlled study; weak evidence]

    Practical Diabetes 2014: Low carbohydrate diet to achieve weight loss and improve HbA1c in type 2 diabetes and pre‐diabetes: experience from one general practice [case study/series; weak evidence]

    The BMJ 2015: A patient request for some “deprescribing” [case study; weak evidence]

  35. Diabetes Therapy 2018: Effectiveness and safety of a novel care model for the management of type 2 diabetes at 1 year: an open-label, non-randomized, controlled study [non-randomized trial; weak evidence]

  36. Nutrients 2019: Ketogenic Diet and Epilepsy[overview article; ungraded]

  37. Epilepsia 1998: Complications of the ketogenic diet[overview article; ungraded]

    Epilepsy Currents 2005: Food for thought: the ketogenic diet and adverse effects in children/strong>[overview article; ungraded]

    Epilepsia 2003: Selenium deficiency associated with cardiomyopathy: a complication of the ketogenic diet [case report; very weak evidence]

  38. Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology 2002: Growth of children on the ketogenic diet [observational study; very weak evidence]