Canadians Need More Education About Low-Carb Diets

Armen Hareyan's picture
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(NC) - There are many conflicting messages about whether low-carb diets are a healthy or harmful approach to weight loss. The majority of Canadians believe following a low-carb diet may be harmful however, many people are still cutting out carbs.

A recent vitamin survey shows that 64% of Canadians agree that there are negative health consequences to following a low-carb diet. Yet, according to a recent Ipsos-Reid survey some 63% of Canadians agreed that they are trying to limit their carbohydrate consumption, while 4% admitted to following a strict low-carb diet.

"There needs to be more education about the potential risks associated with low-carb diets," says Andrea Miller, a registered dietitian at Sunnybrook and Women's College Health Sciences Centre. "Cutting out an entire food group of whole grains eliminates essential vitamins and fibre from your diet that are important to overall health."

B-vitamins, in particular, are very important to health and are found in many breads, pastas and cereals. They help metabolize food into energy, help reduce homocysteine, a risk factor for heart disease, help maintain healthy nervous and immune systems, and reduce the risk of birth defects.

"By limiting carbohydrate intake, Canadians could actually be putting themselves at an increased risk of certain health conditions," says Miller.

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Health Canada, concerned about the popularity of the diet trend, says there is no scientific evidence to support low-carb diets. New food labelling regulations effective at the end of this year will be cracking down on products or packages with low-carb claims. By December, low-carb claims on food and drink labels will be prohibited. In the meantime, Canadians are encouraged to choose food products wisely.

"A healthy diet should be based on balance, variety, moderation and common sense. If it is not a diet that is sustainable in terms of both food preferences and long term health, it should not be followed," says Miller. "Canadians should consume a balanced diet moderate in carbs, low in fat, and high in fibre and fruit and vegetables, coupled with a daily multivitamin for optimum health."

If you have been following a low-carb diet or are worried that you may be deficient in B-vitamins, talk to a healthcare professional about taking a multivitamin like Centrum Performance, which contains higher levels of B-vitamins.

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- News Canada

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