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Opinions regarding low-carbohydrate diets vary throughout the medical and nutritional science communities, yet government bodies, and medical and nutritional associations, have generally opposed this nutritional regimen.
Since 2003, some organizations have gradually begun to relax their opposition to the point of cautious support for low-carbohydrate diets.
American Academy of Family Physicians
The AAFP released a 'discussion paper' on the Atkins diet in 2006. The paper expresses reservations about the Atkins plan, but acknowledges it as a legitimate weight-loss approach.
American Diabetes Association
The ADA revised its Nutrition Recommendations and Interventions for Diabetes in 2008 to acknowledge low-carbohydrate diets as a legitimate weight-loss plan. The recommendations fall short of endorsing low-CHO diets as a long-term health plan, and do not give any preference to these diets. Nevertheless, this is perhaps the first statement of support, albeit for the short term, by a medical organization.
American Dietetic Association
The Association specifically denounced Low CHO diets in no uncertain terms.
American Heart Association
As of 2008 the AHA states categorically that it "doesn't recommend high-protein diets." A science advisory from the association further states the association's belief that these diets "may be associated with increased risk for coronary heart disease."
The AHA has been one of the most adamant opponents of low-carbohydrate diets. However Dr. Robert Eckel, past president, noted that a low-carbohydrate diet could potentially meet AHA guidelines if it conformed to the AHA guidelines for low fat content.
Australian Heart Foundation
The AHF recommends against use of low-carbohydrate diets, it explains their major concern is saturated fats as opposed to carbohydrate restriction and protein. Moreover, other statements suggest their position might be re-evaluated in the event of more evidence from longer-term studies.
National Health Service (UK)
The consumer advice statements of the NHS regarding low-carbohydrate diets state that "eating a high-fat diet could increase your risk of heart disease" and "try to ensure starchy foods make up about a third of your diet". In other words, there is no support for Low CHO diet.
National Board of Health and Welfare (Sweden)
In 2008, the Socialstyrelsen in Sweden altered its standing regarding low-CHO diets. Although formal endorsement of this regimen has not yet appeared, the government has given its formal approval for using carbohydrate-controlled diets for medically supervised weight loss.
A 2012 systematic review studying the effects of low-carbohydrate diet (LCD) on weight loss and cardiovascular risk factors showed the LCD to be associated with significant decreases in body weight, body mass index, abdominal circumference, blood pressure, triglycerides, fasting blood sugar, blood insulin and plasma C-reactive protein, as well as an increase in high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL).
Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL) and Creatinine did not change significantly. The study found the LCD was shown to have favorable effects on body weight and major cardiovascular risk factors (but concluded the effects on long-term health are unknown).
A meta-analysis published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition in 2013 compared low-carbohydrate, Mediterranean, vegan, vegetarian, low-glycemic index, high-fiber, and high-protein diets with control diets. The researchers concluded that low-carbohydrate, Mediterranean, low-glycemic index, and high-protein diets are effective in improving markers of risk for cardiovascular disease and diabetes.