American Dietetic Association

Position Paper on Food and Nutrition Misinformation
Journal of the American Dietetic Association 66(1975):277

Approved by the Executive Board of the American Dietetic Association as Position Paper No. 0000P.

With nearly 70,000 members, the American Dietetic Association is the nation’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals.

The Journal of the American Dietetic Association is the official research publication of the American Dietetic Association and is the premier peer-reviewed journal in the field of dietetics and nutrition.

Members of The American Dietetic Association are concerned with the increasing amount of misinformation on food and nutrition disseminated in the United States with its resultant economic and nutritional exploitation of the American people. The time has come for The American Dietetic Association as a body of informed professionals to dispel many of the popular myths concerning the nutritional value of health foods; diets promising quick weight loss; and excessive vitamin, mineral, and dietary supplementation (1). The dietetic profession is committed to informing consumers about ill-advised diets and the misleading teachings of self-proclaimed nutrition experts. This Position Paper of the Association is intended for the information and guidance of that segment of the population who may be the victims of consumer misinformation. Position statements arc given in italics; the rationale follows.

LOW-CARBOHYDRATE KETOGENIC DIETS. The American Dietetic Association does not recommend low- carbohydrate, ketogenic (excessive fat) diets.

Such low-carbohydrate dietary regimens have been popular for quick weight loss for many years. These diets have the fol1owing similarities: (a) low carbohydrate content; (b) no restriction of protein and fat; and © unrestricted calories (14). These diets have many different labels.

Such diets are potentially hazardous. Low carbohydrate, high-fat diets may increase cholesterol levels in the blood if the fat is saturated or if dietary cholesterol is high. This is frequently associated with increased risk of heart disease.

Low-carbohydrate diets may increase blood uric acid concentration (hyperuricemia) (14). Hyperuricemia in patients with gout increases the severity of the disease. Increased metabolism of fats and proteins during carbohydrate restriction may be hazardous for persons with potential or existing kidney or liver disease. Low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diets often result in complaints of fatigue, lassitude, nausea, and diarrhea shortly after beginning the regimen (15,16).

While weight loss does occur on low-carbohydrate diets, there is no evidence for greater loss than on a well balanced diet, provided total calories are the same. The pounds lost on the low-carbohydrate diet are often regained because faulty dietary habits have not been changed. The well balanced diet will have the added advantage that it can become the basis for a long-range plan of eating that will maintain the most desirable weight and nutritional health.