Report of Health Problems on Low Carb Diets

Carbs in Food
Glycemic Index GI of Carbs
Glycemic Load of Carbs
GI Diet - Low GI Diet

Information About Carbs | Carbohydrates Guide | Low Carb Diets

3. Nutrient Analysis

Extract from "Updated Analysis of Health Problems Associated with High-Protein, High-Fat, Carbohydrate-Restricted Diets Reported via an Online Registry" by the
Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) (Dec, 2003)

Note: Numbers in brackets refer to research references. See Low Carb Eating References

As an example of a high-protein, carbohydrate-restricted diet, Table 1 presents a nutrient analysis of the sample menus for the three stages of the Atkins Diet as described in Dr. Atkins’ New Diet Revolution (pp. 257–259). To see actual menus analyzed, click Low Carb Report Food Menus

Table 1. Nutrient Analysis of Atkins Sample Diets
Weight Loss
Energy, kcal 1759 1505 2173
Protein, g (% energy) 143 (33%) 120 (32%) 135 (25%)
Carbohydrate, g (% energy) 15 (3%) 36 (10%) 116 (22%)
Fat, g (% energy) 125 (64%) 97 (58%) 110 (45%)
Alcohol, g (% energy) 0 0 26 (8%)
Saturated fat, g 42 45 38
Cholesterol, mg 886 885 834
Fiber, g 2 7 18
Calcium, mg (% DV) 373 (37%) 952 (95%) 1019 (102%)
Iron, mg (% DV) 15 (86%) 10 (54%) 13 (70%)
Vitamin C (% DV) 20 (33%) 140 (234%) 242 (404%)
Vitamin A, RE (% DV) 799 (80%) 1525 (153%) 2521 (252%)
Folate, g (% DV) 143 (36%) 268 (67%) 584 (146%)
Vitamin B-12, 5g (% DV) 11 (191%) 8 (132%) 5 (80%)
Thiamin, mg (% DV) 0.7 (48%) 1.1 (76%) 1.0 (64%)

Results of Nutritional Survey of Atkins Diets

The nutritional analysis shows that the sample menus do not meet recommended dietary intakes for macronutrients. In addition to very high protein content and low carbohydrate content, the menus at all three stages are very high in saturated fat (Daily Value is < 20 g) and cholesterol (DV < 200 mg) and very low in fiber (DV > 25 g). In addition, these sample menus do not reach daily values for iron. The Induction Menu does not meet the daily values for calcium, vitamin C, vitamin A, folate, and thiamin. The Weight Loss Menu is low on calcium, folate, and thiamin.

Nutritional Analysis

Our nutrient analysis agrees with other reports noting that high-protein diets typically skew nutritional intake toward higher-than-recommended amounts of dietary cholesterol, fat, saturated fat, and protein, and have very low levels of fiber and some other protective dietary constituents. The Nutrition Committee of the Council on Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Metabolism of the American Heart Association states, “High-protein diets are not recommended because they restrict healthful foods that provide essential nutrients and do not provide the variety of foods needed to adequately meet nutritional needs. Individuals who follow these diets are therefore at risk for compromised vitamin and mineral intake, as well as potential cardiac, renal, bone, and liver abnormalities overall.” (18)

Note: To see actual menus analyzed, click Low Carb Report Food Menus

INDEX to PCRM Low Carb Health Problems Report


The PCRM Report:


Carbohydrates Definition
Carbohydrates Information
Complex Carbs Guide
Simple Carbs Guide
Starch/Starchy Carbohydrates
Sugars Carbohydrates
Carb Counting Guide
Facts About Carbohydrates
Diabetes, Carbs and Diet

Fiber in Diet
Dietary Fiber
Types of Fiber
Best Sources of Fiber
Benefits of Fiber
Daily Fiber Needs

Nutrition & Carbohydrate
Nutrition in Carbs
Minerals in Carbohydrates
Vitamins in Carbohydrates
Phytochemicals in Carbs

Carbs and Glycemic Index
Digestion of Carbs
Blood Glucose Levels
Glucose into Energy
What is Glycogen?
How is GI Measured?
What Affects Glycemic Value?
Glycemic Index Food Chart
Glycemic Index Food Pyramid
Glycemic Value of a Meal
GI Values in Carbohydrates
GI Value For Beans
GI Value For Bread
GI Value For Cereal
GI Value For Dairy Food
GI Value For Drinks
GI Value For Fruit
GI Value For Meat/Fish
GI Value For Nuts
GI Value For Snacks
GI Value For Starchy Carbs
GI Value For Sugar
GI Value For Vegetables
GI Value For Whole Grains

Carbohydrate in Foods
Atkins Diet Foods
Energy Bars
Flour/Baking Foods
Ice Cream
Milk, Cream,Yogurt

Carbs in Food cont/
Soy Food
Zone Diet Foods

Diet Recipes
GI Diet Recipes
Low Carb Recipes

Carb-Controlled Diets
Atkins Diet
South Beach Diet
Zone Diet
Low Carb Dieting
Benefits of Low Carb Diets
Low Carb Diets Health Risks
Ketosis - High Ketones in Blood
Gluconeogenesis Guide
Free Low Carb Diet Advice
Low Carb Weight Loss Diet

Diabetes, Insulin, Obesity
Diabetes Information
Hyperglycemia - High Blood Glucose
Hypoglycemia - Low Blood Glucose
Obesity Information
Diabesity, Diabetes and Obesity
Insulin Information
Insulin and Obesity
Types of Insulin
Hyperinsulimia - High Insulin Levels
Insulin Resistance Syndrome provides general information about different types of carbohydrate, like monosaccharides, disaccharides, oligosaccharides, polysaccharides, as well as nutritional value of carbohydrates, carb-content of foods, plus details of GI values of all food groups, plus advice about diabetes, impaired glucose tolerance and insulin resistance. But no information is intended as a substitute for medical advice. Copyright 2003-2021.