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Open letter urges US dietary guidelines to embrace low carb approach

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A group of more than 50 doctors are calling for the US government to revise its view on low carb diets and include the approach in its new guidelines.

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) updates its Dietary Guidelines every five years, and doctors are advocating for low carb eating to be included the 2020 edition.

The open letter, which was published on Friday 12 July by the New York Times and Washington Post newspapers, argues that previous guidelines have failed with 72% of adults in the US now classed as overweight or obese, while 52% either have type 2 diabetes or are high risk of the condition.

The letter states: “Since the US Dietary Guidelines were introduced in 1980, the obesity and diabetes rates in America have more than doubled. Clearly, the guidelines are not working and are in need of a dramatic overhaul.”

The USDA’s 2015 edition warned against low carb eating, so Robert Atkins – founder of Atkins Nutritional – has spearheaded and paid for the advert, which was signed by prominent low carb experts including Sarah Hallberg.

An advisory committee is currently working on recommendations for the 2020 to 2025 Dietary Guidelines, and on the back of increasing evidence to support the effectiveness of the diet, the letter says it is time for the USDA to “step up … and do the right thing” and include the low carb approach.”

Earlier this year in a landmark consensus the American Diabetes Association (ADA) said that lowering carbohydrate intake has the ability to help people with diabetes manage their condition.

In the UK, tackling dietary guidelines has too been embraced by leading healthcare professionals. Dr Ian Lake, a GP who has lived with type 1 diabetes for 23 years, spoke at this year’s Public Health Collaboration conference about the need to revisit dietary approaches in the wake of growing evidence showing the benefits of low carb.

Diabetes Digital Media’s Low Carb Program has shown how on average users lose 7.4kg in weight after one year and reduced their HbA1c by 1.2%. Additionally, 40% of people eliminate at least one medication from their treatment regime and one in four people place their type 2 diabetes into remission.



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