The skinny on high-protein, low-carbohydrate diets

Prev Cardiol. Summer 2006;9(3):166-71; quiz 172-3. doi: 10.1111/j.1520-037x.2006.04853.x.


Short-term studies of high-protein, low-carbohydrate diets have shown weight loss and improvements in plasma lipid profiles. Studies of greater than 6 months' duration, however, have failed to show continued benefit of high-protein, low-carbohydrate diets on weight loss and cardiovascular risk factors compared with conventional diets. Without concurrent weight loss and caloric restriction, these diets offer no additional benefit to lipids or body weight over other weight-loss regimens. In fact, high-protein, low-carbohydrate diets may add additional risk to individuals with cardiovascular disease due to their high fat and cholesterol content combined with decreased intake of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and other nutrients related to cardiovascular risk. In addition, high-protein, low-carbohydrate diets have been implicated in other risks, including impaired renal, bone, and gastrointestinal health.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Caloric Restriction
  • Coronary Artery Disease / blood
  • Coronary Artery Disease / etiology*
  • Diet Fads / adverse effects*
  • Diet, Carbohydrate-Restricted / adverse effects*
  • Diet, Reducing / adverse effects*
  • Fruit
  • Gastrointestinal Diseases / etiology
  • Humans
  • Kidney Diseases / etiology
  • Nutrition Assessment
  • Obesity / blood
  • Obesity / diet therapy*
  • Risk Factors
  • Time Factors
  • Vegetables
  • Weight Loss