Active LowCarber members studied by SUNY researchers
Preliminary results from a new research study that began in August looking at the habits of people on low-carb shows some very promising results for the low-carb lifestyle.
Dr. Richard Feinman, a biochemistry professor at State University of New York Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn, New York, was interested in finding out how low-carb living works in the real world and not what they discover inside a research facility. To that end, he asked the members of a popular low-carb support forum at Active LowCarber Forum to participate in a survey about their eating lifestyle changes since beginning a low-carb program.
After receiving more than 2,000 answers to the survey questions over the past two months, Dr. Feinman said he is "very grateful" for the responses he has received and is in the process of writing an upcoming article for a family medicine journal. While the full results of the survey will not be released for several more months after they undergo peer review, Dr. Feinman felt it was important to provide the "broad outlines of the results" to give people a "general drift" about what they discovered about people who are livin' la vida low-carb.
According to the survey results, more than half of respondents consulted with their doctor before and during their low-carb lifestyle. Additionally, more than half of these respondents noted that their health professional was supportive of their low-carb program.
Close to 30 percent explained that their physician “did not have an opinion but were encouraging after seeing results” while just 7 percent said their physician was "discouraging even after I showed good results.”
Dr. Feinman said these numbers indicate that family doctors are much more "open minded than official agencies and media experts" about the low-carb lifestyle.
"It is for this reason that we hope to publish the results in a journal that is read by family physicians," Dr. Feinman explained.
Nearly half of respondents said they saw improvements in their lipid values, including total cholesterol and LDL. Only 12 percent indicated an increase in their LDL values and a microscopic 4 percent saw their triglycerides rise.
Dr. Feinman said it was "somewhat unexpected" regarding the decrease in both total and LDL cholesterol levels because these do not automatically improve on a low-carb diet.
Among the items of greatest importance to the respondents with their low-carb lifestyle, "avoiding sugar" and "avoiding starch" were the top two responses followed by "drinking water," which Dr. Feinman said was "unexpected."
"We don’t know why this was so or what people had in mind and would be glad to hear any opinions," Dr. Feinman quipped.
Contrary to what the media and health "experts" say regarding the low-carb lifestyle, the fourth most important issue to a low-carber is "eating vegetables," which most respondents said "increased greatly (at least double usual consumption).” The most popular vegetable eaten by those on a low-carb lifestyle is green vegetables and lettuce/salad greens.
Almost one-fifth of respondents also noted that their consumption of beef, butter and bacon "increased greatly" when they began livin' la vida low-carb while about a third of the respondents said their consumption of these foods stayed "about the same."
Finally, the survey asked if there were any foods that you "consistently crave" and nearly one-fourth of respondents noted there were no cravings anymore while a little more than that said they missed eating bread.
The survey had a free form narrative question which allowed respondents to submit anything they wanted about the low-carb lifestyle. Dr. Feinman stated that the responses were "enthusiastic and somewhat detailed or personalized" about what low-carb living has done for them.
Dr. Feinman said he is "grateful" for the responses he received and "will provide more information as our paper progresses."
We will update you with further results from Dr. Feinman's study on low-carb when it becomes available.