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Low-carbohydrate, high-protein diets revisited

Kushner, Robert F; Doerfler, Bethany

Current Opinion in Gastroenterology: March 2008 - Volume 24 - Issue 2 - p 198–203
doi: 10.1097/MOG.0b013e3282f43a87
Nutrition: Edited by David H. Alpers and William F. Stenson

Purpose of review There has been continued interest in the physiological, nutritional and clinical aspects of low-carbohydrate diets. This review will discuss the effects on appetite regulation, metabolic parameters, body weight and body composition, the role of glycemic index and glycemic load, as well as long-term outcomes.

Recent findings Low-carbohydrate, high-protein diets appear to improve satiety through their actions on measures of adiposity and gut peptides that influence appetite and caloric intake. Specific macronutrients such as low glycemic index carbohydrates and dietary protein impact appetite, calorie intake and metabolic parameters independent of weight loss. Long-term data, however, continue to support that total weight loss among low-carbohydrate dieters is not significantly different from low-fat dieters. The long-term safety of low-carbohydrate, high-protein diets on cardiovascular disease risk remains undetermined.

Summary Low-carbohydrate, high-protein diets may be an effective choice for weight loss, enhanced satiety and improved metabolic parameters.

Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, Illinois, USA

Correspondence to Dr Robert Kushner, 750 North Lake Shore Drive, Rubloff 9-976, Chicago, IL 60611, USA Tel: +1 312 503 6817; fax: +1 312 503 6743; e-mail:

© 2008 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.