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carbohydrate restriction, high protein, low carbohydrate, metabolic syndrome, obesity



  1. Stevens Ohlson, Melissa MS, RD, LD


One in four adults living in the United States has metabolic syndrome, a constellation of risk factors associated with increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. A common characteristic in patients with metabolic syndrome is abdominal obesity along with an increased body mass index. Traditional dietary recommendations for treating the metabolic syndrome and associated obesity include high-carbohydrate, low-fat regimens. Despite the widespread use of these dietary guidelines, the rates of metabolic syndrome and obesity continue to rise in the United States. As a result, public interest in alternative dietary approaches to weight loss has escalated, sparking renewed interest in low-carbohydrate diet regimens, most notably Dr. Atkins' New Diet Revolution, a New York Times bestseller. Despite this renewed interest, there is little scientific evidence to determine the safety and efficacy of low-carbohydrate diets on cardiovascular health. Because most energy in a low-carbohydrate diet are derived from protein and fat, there is considerable concern that such diets will raise lipid levels and overall risk for coronary disease. In this article, we review the sparse literature on the impact of low-carbohydrate diets on weight loss and lipid parameters.