New research has found that low-carb diets could lead to an effective amount of weight lost, which in turn could improve the overall health of the dieter.
A total of 1,141 obese patients were observed through 17 studies revolving around low-carb diets. Research revealed that on average, participants lost almost 18 pounds in the time range of six months to one year.
The diet/weight loss combination led to an improvement in waist circumference, blood pressure, triglycerides (blood fats), fasting blood sugar, C-reactive protein (another heart disease risk factor) as well as an increase in HDL (good) cholesterol according to USA Today, which reported on the study.
"A lot of these favorable effects are due to the weight loss itself, not to the specific diet, with the exception of HDL, which does seem to have more favorable improvements on the low-carb diet," Gary Foster, director of the Center for Obesity Research and Education at Temple University in Philadelphia, told USA Today.
The Atikins diet, which when introduced was a champion of low carb diets, quickly became controversial because it was not considered to be a good option for lifetime health maintenance. But the times of calling out Atkins as an unhealthy option are over, according to Foster.
"We have passed the time where we would say the Atkins diet is bad for you. That's an outdated position," Foster said. "This is a viable alternative for weight loss."
Still, some caution that including saturated fats in a high fat diet poses the risk of increased cholesterol. Those aiming to go on a low carb diet that is high in fat are advised to avoid meats with the skin on it, cheeses, and butter. A diet high in fiber has also been linked to lowered cholesterol and low carb diets cuts fiber to the bare minimum.