This reviews show that there is probably little to no difference in the weight lost by people following low-carbohydrate weight-reducing diets (also known as 'low-carb diets') compared to the weight lost by people following balanced-carbohydrate weight-reducing diets, for up to two years.
Low-carbohydrate diets or balanced-carbohydrate diets: which works better for weight loss and heart disease risks?
Low-carbohydrate weight-reducing diets probably result in little to no difference in weight loss over the short term (trials lasting 3 to 8.5 months) and long term (trials lasting one to two years) compared to balanced-carbohydrate weight-reducing diets, in people with and without type 2 diabetes. In the short term, the average difference in weight loss was about 1 kg and in the long term, the average difference was less than 1 kg.
People lost weight on both diets in some trials. The amount of weight lost on average varied greatly with both diets across the trials from less than 1 kg in some trials and up to about 12 kg in others in the short term and long term.
Similarly, low-carbohydrate weight-reducing diets probably result in little to no difference in diastolic blood pressure, glycosylated haemoglobin (HbA1c) and LDL cholesterol (‘unhealthy’ cholesterol) for up to two years.
We could not draw any conclusions about unwanted effects reported by participants because very few trials reported these.