Doctors warn about risks of high-fat, low-carb diet

October 26, 2016

SEOUL, Oct. 26 (Yonhap) — South Korean doctors warned Wednesday of the risks of a high-fat and carbohydrate-restricted diet, which recently caught on among some weight-conscious locals, saying not only is it ineffective in the long term but it is also unhealthy.

“The diet is not effective in losing weight in the long term and can cause health and diet problems,” five associations of medical professionals and physicians said in a joint statement.


The diet limits carbohydrates, such as those found in grains including Korean staple rice, to five percent of the total food consumption and calls for increasing fat intake by 70 percent. There are numerous types of low-carb diets, varying in restrictions on the types and amounts of carbs.

The high-fat, low-carb diet has become popular in South Korea after a major local TV network aired a documentary introducing dietary successes of people who only consumed meat, butter and other high-fat foods.

The doctors said when people decrease carb consumption below the level needed for survival, they can lose the ability to rely on fat-burning mechanisms.

“Weight can be lost in the short term due to the decreased intake of food. However, the research showed that people have difficulty continuing this kind of diet and many quit in the middle,” according to the statement.

Moreover, some protein sources such as high-fat meat and dairy products including butter can raise cholesterol, increasing the chance of heart and vascular diseases.

“The high-protein and low-carb diet, which has become close to an epidemic recently, is a dangerous choice of diet,” the doctors said, emphasizing that both are important sources of energy for humans.