New Journal of the American Dietetic Association Study Reveals Overweight and Obese Adults More Likely to Eat a Low-Carbohydrate Diet

New Study Reinforces the Health Benefits of Carbohydrates

JULY 23, 2009 — RIDGWAY, Colo. — New research shows that consumers can feel good about eating their daily bread. A study published in the July 2009 issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association finds that consuming a low-carbohydrate diet is associated with greater likelihood of being overweight or obese among healthy adults. Consumers with a healthy weight were more likely to consume moderate amounts of carbohydrates, a conclusion echoed in previous research.

The study examined 4,451 healthy adults as a part of the Canadian Community Health Survey Cycle using body-mass index and daily nutrient intake as measurement tools. The study found that individuals who fell into the top quartile in terms of carbohydrate intake had lower BMIs than those whose diets were lower in carbohydrates. The study concluded that “carbohydrate intake was inversely associated with a risk of overweight and obesity.”

These findings reflect what other research has found, including a 2007 Journal of the American Dietetic Association review by Dr. Glenn Gaesser entitled “Carbohydrate Quantity and Quality in Relation to Body Mass Index.” Dr. Gaesser’s 2007 review found that that diets high in carbohydrates — including diets rich in high-glycemic foods — are almost universally associated with slimmer bodies.

“What is most interesting in this new study is that adjusting for fiber intake did not change the overall finding of lower body-mass index and lower risk of overweight and obesity with higher carbohydrate intake, suggesting that all carbohydrates have health benefits when included in the diet, regardless of fiber content,” commented Dr. Glenn Gaesser, Professor of Exercise and Wellness, Arizona State University.

Dr. Gaesser also points out that reducing any part of the diet — carbs or proteins or fats — will result in modest weight loss in the short term, if calorie consumption is reduced. But for long-term weight maintenance, a moderate- to high-carb, low-fat diet is still the best bet.

“Contrary to popular belief, many previous studies have shown that diets low in carbohydrates do not help weight loss in the long term,” said Judi Adams, RD and president of the Grain Foods Foundation. “This study goes one step further, demonstrating that eating a healthy diet that includes grain foods can reduce the risk for becoming overweight or obese. The ongoing National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) also consistently shows that those who get a higher percentage of their calories from carbohydrates are less likely to be overweight.”

About the Grain Foods Foundation
The Grain Foods Foundation, a joint venture of members of the milling, baking and allied industries formed in 2004, is dedicated to advancing the public’s understanding of the beneficial role grain-based foods play in the human diet. Directed by a board of trustees, funding for the Foundation is provided through voluntary donations from private grain-based food companies and is supplemented by industry associations. For more information about the Grain Foods Foundation, visit, or find GoWithTheGrain on Facebook and Twitter.