Background: Metabolic syndrome has become a significant problem, with the American Diabetes Association estimating the cost of diabetes and pre-diabetes in the United States alone to be $322 billion per year. Numerous clinical trials have demonstrated the efficacy of low-carbohydrate diets in reversing metabolic syndrome and its associated disorders.
Aim: This study was designed to examine how voluntary adherents to a low-carbohydrate diet rate its effectiveness and sustainability using an online survey.
Setting and methods: The 57-question survey was administered online and shared internationally via social media and ‘low-carb’ communities. Where appropriate, chi-squared tests and paired t-tests were used to analyse the responses.
Results: There were 1580 respondents. The majority of respondents had consumed less than 100 g of carbohydrates per day for over a year, typically for reasons of weight loss or disease management. There was a reported decrease in waist circumference and weight with a simultaneous decrease in hunger and increase in energy level. Of those who provided laboratory values, the majority saw improvements in their HbA1c, blood glucose measurements, and lipid panel results. There was a reduction in usage of various medications, and 25% reported medication cost savings, with average monthly savings of $288 for those respondents. In particular, the usage of pain relievers and anti-inflammatories dropped with a simultaneous decreased rating of pain and increase in mobility.
Conclusion: We conclude that low-carbohydrate diets are a sustainable method of metabolic syndrome reversal in a community setting.