Research: Low-carbohydrate, high-fat (LCHF) diets may be effective.


LCHF diets may work for weight loss.

Given the existing problem of obesity, you would think that there was plenty of research to look at just about any diet type you can imagine.  There are limited research studies that point to the effectiveness of low-carb diets that are higher in fat, but dieticians and physicians continue to vilify low-carbohydrate diets as being ineffective and unsafe.   Our predecessors ate much more meat and higher fat foods and some life too old despite this “unhealthy lifestyle.”  I would argue that our current longevity has more to do with our immunizations and the availability of health care than the fat content of our diet.   There is an absence of retrospective reviews either for or against the use of a low-carb, high-fat diet.  That does not mean that they are unsafe or ineffective.   A recent study took the opportunity to look at this very topic through a meta-analysis.  

The study, “The Weight Loss Effects of an LCHF Diet. A Statistical Meta-Analysis of Meta-Analyses”, was published in Health Science in 20171.  The purpose of this statistical meta-analysis research was to measure the weight-loss effectiveness of these low-carbohydrate, high-fat (LCHF) diets.  The researchers used the combined data from other studies to strengthen the results.  The results appear to confirm that these higher fat and lower carbohydrate diets are effective for weight loss and that they may be more effective than a higher carbohydrate diet.  

The bottom line: It appears that we should be less dismissive of low-carbohydrate, high-fat diets.  This research provides support for the claim that LCHF diets are effective, both in isolation and in comparison to other dietary interventions.  More research is needed, but this step is very promising.  


Stewart R. The Weight Loss Effects of an LCHF Diet. A Statistical Meta-Analysis of Meta-Analyses. Grin Publishing; 2017.
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About the Author

I am a family physician who has served in the US Army. In 2016, I found myself overweight, out of shape, and unhealthy, so I made a change to improve my health. This blog is the chronology of my path to better health and what I have learned along the way.

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