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Low carbohydrate diets may harm your health

Updated: 2013-05-20 13:59
( Xinhua)

SYDNEY - More research is needed on the long term effects of low carbohydrate diets, health professionals at a Heart Foundation Conference in Adelaide heard Saturday.

While low carbohydrate diets result in greater short term weight loss, other health implications are still not fully understood, said Jon Buckley, professor of health sciences at the University of South Australia.

"Before being able to make recommendations in relation to whether or not someone should consume a particular diet, we need to understand the effects of that choice," said Buckley.

"A low carbohydrate diet may result in greater weight loss over the short term but there is an increase in LDL (bad) cholesterol, which raises concern about increased cardiovascular disease risk," he added.

The LDL cholesterol from low carbohydrate diets does not remain elevated over the long term, Buckley said, but neither does the weight loss advantage.

There may, however, potentially be long term effects on mood and depression that scientists must consider further, he added.

Low carbohydrate diets may also miss out on the possible cardio- protective effects of nutrients and antioxidants from plant-based foods such as fruit, vegetables and wholegrain cereals, said Heart Foundation CEO Dr Lyn Roberts.

"Very low carbohydrate diets do not provide adequate nutrition, particularly of antioxidants, dietary folate, calcium and dietary fibre," Roberts said.

To lose weight without harming your health, the experts recommend eating a variety of foods and keeping physically active every day.