Low carbohydrate diets- impact on dietary intake

Dietary intake in people consuming a reduced-carbohydrate diet in the National Diet and Nutrition Survey

Guess JHND Early View


Diets reduced or low in carbohydrates are becoming increasingly popular. The replacement foods and their accompanying nutrients determine the health effects of such diets. However, little is known about the dietary intake of people consuming reduced or low carbohydrate diets.


In this cross-sectional study, the dietary and nutrient intake of individuals aged 16–75 years consuming less than 40% of energy from carbohydrate (n = 430) was compared with individuals consuming equal to or more than 40% energy from carbohydrate (n = 1833) using the UK National Diet and Nutrition Survey.


Those consuming less than 40% of total energy from carbohydrate reported a higher consumption of red and processed meat, butter, oily fish and vegetables, as well as a lower consumption of soft drinks and pulses, than those with a normal carbohydrate intake. After adjusting for socio-economic status, only red meat intake was different between the groups, and reached the maximum recommended daily intake daily intake. There were no significant differences in micronutrient intakes between the groups, although magnesium, selenium and potassium, along with fibre, were lower than recommended amounts across the cohort.


Individuals consuming reduced or low carbohydrate diets could benefit from replacing some red meats with white meats and vegetable sources of protein, and increasing vegetable intake.

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