The reality is that low-carb diets concentrate on nutritious, healthy food, and research into reducing carbs will continue to show more and more positive results. Here are the myths about low-carb diets I hear most frequently.
1. Low Carb = No Carb
This misconception is the thought that a “low”-carb diet must be really really low in carbohydrates. You may read that low carb diets endeavor to “eliminate carbohydrates,” for example.
Fact: Not one low carb diet author advocates this. Even Atkins Induction, which is very low in carbohydrates, is not “no carb,” is only intended to last two weeks, and in actual fact can be skipped altogether, according to the Atkins Web site.
Fact: Diet authors who recommend reducing carbs have all kinds of different ideas about carb levels.
Fact: The carbohydrate level needs to be adjusted for the individual.
Fact: Over the years, the “nutritional establishment” has been gradually bringing down the range of recommended carbohydrate in the diet, at the same time condemning reduced-carb diets, some of which could possibly be recommending the lower end of the new “accepted range,” or close to it. Example: Dr. Dean Edell, a prominent media physician, once stated that the Zone Diet, a 40% carbohydrate, low saturated fat diet, “could be dangerous” because it is too low in carbohydrates. The National Academy of Sciences recommends that 45% to 65% of the diet be carbohydrate, depending upon the individual.
2. Low Carb Diets Discourage Eating Vegetables and Fruits
Because vegetables and fruits are mainly carbohydrate, people assume that they aren't allowed on low-carb diets.
Fact: The opposite is true -- non-starchy vegetables are usually at the bottom of the low carb pyramids meaning they are the “staff of life” of the diet (replacing grains in that role) and people who follow a low carb way of eating typically eat more vegetables than the general population. For the most part, vegetables and fruits ARE the carbs eaten when following a low carb way of eating.
3. Low Carb Diets Have Inadequate Fibre
The reasoning goes that since fibre IS carbohydrate, a low carb diet MUST be low in fibre.
Fact: Since fibre remains undigested (in fact, it lessens the impact of other carbohydrates on blood sugar), it is encouraged on low carb diets. Many low carb foods are loaded with fibre, and also on diets that encourage carb counting, fiber does not enter into the calculation.
4. People Eating Low Carb Are Courting Heart Disease
Fact: In study after study, blood pressure, cholesterol, triglycerides, and other markers for heart disease risk decline on low-carb diets. Also, in one large long term study, even low carb diets with a lot of animal fat and protein did not increase the risk of heart disease.
5. Low Carb Diets Will Damage the Kidneys
The reasoning at this point is that because people with kidney disease are usually encouraged to eat LOW protein diets, a diet that is higher in protein will cause kidney disease.
Fact: This has never been shown to be the case, and, in fact, a low carb diet is often not higher in protein compared to the latest recommended levels.
6. Low Carb Diets Will “Suck the Calcium Out of Your Bones”
Again, this is based on the undeniable fact that low carb diets are always high in protein. People on higher protein diets generally have more calcium in their urine. But this turns out to be a red herring.
Fact: it turns out that protein, other than cause bone loss, actually protects our bones.
7. Atkins "Died of His Own Diet"
Fact: Robert Atkins, originator of the Atkins Diet, died from head injuries resulting from a fall. Also, he wasn't fat when he died, but took on a great deal of fluid in the hospital while in intensive care after his injury.