ENCOURAGING people to try low carbohydrate diets to lose weight and tackle health problems is not a long-term solution, public health chiefs have warned.

In a report to go before Blackburn with Darwen Clinical Commissioning Group’s governing body, Tabitha Kavoi, public health speciality registrar for Blackburn with Darwen Council, said obesity was a complex problem and warned low carbohydrate diets were difficult to stick to beyond six months.

She said: “Whilst it is acknowledged that low carbohydrate diet interventions can have a short term beneficial impact on individuals, reducing obesity at a population level and improving other health outcomes will require population level interventions that tackle the complex nature of obesity, including the obesogenic environment.

“A healthy diet is achieved when all foods are included in evidence based quantities and the right proportions, to achieve and maintain a healthy body weight and improve health.”

"Good quality evidence is lacking for low carbohydrate diets especially randomised control trials which are considered the gold standard for evaluating the effectiveness of interventions.

"The few randomised trials available have shown low carbohydrate diets are beneficial for short-term weight loss and improvement of cardio metabolic risk.

"However, the long-term impact of carbohydrate restriction on mortality is controversial with prospective research so far producing conflicting results.

"Furthermore, earlier studies have not considered the source or quality of proteins and fats consumed in low carbohydrate diets.

"There is strong evidence that diets that are the most compatible with health are those that are higher in vegetables, fruits, wholegrains, dairy, seafood, legumes, and nuts; moderate in alcohol (among adults); lower in red and processed meat; and low in sugar-sweetened foods, particularly low in sugar-sweetened beverages, and refined grains.

"When considering a LCD as an option, possible side effects need to be considered and individuals on these diets must be supported by doctors and dietitians to manage any risks which may arise but also ensure that the diet is nutritionally adequate, enjoyable and fits in with lifestyle and cultural preferences."

The report will be presented to the governing body in a meeting at Blackburn Library tomorrow from 1pm.