Low-carbohydrate-high-protein diets: Is there a place for them in clinical cardiology?

C. Tissa Kappagoda, Dianne A. Hyson, Ezra A Amsterdam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Since the last meeting of the American Heart Association, a great deal of media attention has been focused on low-carbohydrate-high-protein diets (LC-HP) and their potential impact on the practice of cardiology. It has been suggested that these diets, which were introduced originally as weight-loss regimens, also have a significantly beneficial effect on a variety of cardiovascular risk factors. It is clear that people who consume such diets have a reduced intake of calories, resulting in a predictable degree of weight loss. These diets induce a moderate level of ketosis and, in some studies, have been shown to improve the lipid profile overall. There is also a reduction in the number of low-density lipoprotein particles. However, these trends also have been observed over periods of 24 weeks or less with low-calorie diets that already have an established record of safety and efficacy. Although there is a public perception that LC-HP diets have a near-perfect "success rate," the attrition rate on these diets varies from 20% to 43%, which is similar to other conventional weight-loss regimens. Additionally, from a nutritional standpoint, these diets are seriously deficient in several micronutrients and dietary fiber, thus creating a need for nutritional supplements. In contrast, the conventional weight-loss regimens have a favorable impact on serum lipids without the accompanying ketosis and have the potential to provide a nutritionally balanced diet without the need for supplements. Because of the nutritional deficiencies inherent in LC-HP diets and the absence of long-term data on their efficacy and safety, they cannot be recommended in place of currently advocated low-fat, low-calorie diets that have an established record of safety and efficacy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)725-730
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the American College of Cardiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 3 2004


  • AHA
  • American Heart Association
  • BMI
  • Body mass index
  • GFR
  • Glomerular filtration rate
  • LC-HP
  • LDL
  • Low-carbohydrate-high-protein
  • Low-density lipoprotein

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)


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