The popularity of low carbohydrate diets has waxed and waned in the U.S. over the last two centuries. From the Banting diet in the 1860's to the Atkins plan 100 years later to the Paleo/Primal way of eating that is currently in vogue, some form of carbohydrate restriction has always existed as an alternative to more conventional nutrition recommendations. Today it is the low-fat, high-complex-carbohydrate diet that is promoted by the United States Department of Agriculture, American Dietetic Association, American Heart Association, and other organizations. While this diet may be healthy for some, I believe low carbohydrate diets can be very beneficial for others. Criticisms of low carbohydrate plans include that they are too difficult to follow long term, ineffective at sustaining weight loss, and potentially harmful to health. However, there has been abundant research conducted over the last 20 years which disputes these claims and in fact presents a strong argument for why carbohydrate restriction is preferable for managing diabetes, overweight and obesity, and other conditions of carbohydrate intolerance.
The Reference Daily Intake , or RDI, (formerly called the Recommended Dietary Allowance, or RDA) for nutrient intake is established by the Food and Nutrition Board (formerly called the U.S. National Academy of Sciences). This value is used to establish the Daily Values seen on food labels. The Daily Value for carbohydrate is currently set at 300 grams for an individual consuming 2000 calories per day. Research and anecdotal evidence suggest that reducing this level to 30-100 grams daily decreases postprandial glucose response, modulates hyperinsulinemia, reduces serum triglyceride synthesis, increases high-density lipoprotein (HDL) levels, promotes satiety, and has other favorable metabolic effects.
Below are links to several studies which provide evidence that carbohydrate restriction is not only safe but effective for weight loss and blood sugar control.