Dietary carbohydrates, components of energy balance, and associated health outcomes

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Introduction: The role of dietary carbohydrates in the development of obesity and associated metabolic dysfunction have recently been questioned. Within the last decade, the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) carried out a comprehensive evaluation of the role of dietary carbohydrates in human health. The current review aims to complement and extend this report by providing specific consideration to the component parts of energy balance, their interactions, and their culmination on energy storage and health.
Methods: PubMed ( was used to seek all published trials with minimum follow up period of 3 months, which were designed to manipulate dietary carbohydrate intake, irrespective of resultant differences in absolute carbohydrate dose (g.d-1).
Findings: Dietary carbohydrate manipulation has little effect on the individual components of energy balance that have been assessed. However, the role of dietary carbohydrate in influencing physical activity has yet to be assessed using gold-standard measurement tools. Moreover, no consistent pattern of changes in weight or indirect measures of metabolic health exist when adhering to a diet of modified carbohydrate content. However, certain markers of cardiovascular disease risk (i.e. blood triglycerides and HDL cholesterol) may respond positively to a reduction in dietary carbohydrate.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)783-797
JournalNutrition Reviews
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 5 Oct 2017


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