In Categories: Science & Research

A common criticism of low carb approaches to nutrition is that there is insufficient research. With my colleagues in the low carb and ketosis community, I’ve helped compile this comprehensive list of low carb research on weight and metabolic risk factors in humans so that you can see the results for yourself. A total of 6,786 people have participated in these 76 studies. 6 have lasted 2 years or more.

More research is needed in this field, and that’s why I’m so excited to be the primary investigator in Virta’s clinical trial.

See the full list here and check out the most recent research below!

2017 low carb studies

A Novel Intervention Including Individualized Nutritional Recommendations Reduces Hemoglobin A1c Level, Medication Use, and Weight in Type 2 Diabetes
McKenzie, JMIR Diabetes
Summary: This study demonstrates an individualized program delivered and supported remotely that incorporates nutritional ketosis can be highly effective in improving glycemic control and weight loss in adults with T2D while significantly decreasing medication use.
Primary outcomes: Type 2 diabetes, obesity, hypoglycemic medications
More data in spreadsheet here

Twelve-month outcomes of a randomized trial of a moderate-carbohydrate versus very low-carbohydrate diet in overweight adults with type 2 diabetes mellitus or prediabetes
Saslow, Nutrition & Diabetes
Summary: The results suggest that adults with prediabetes or noninsulin-dependent type 2 diabetes may be able to improve glycemic control with less medication by following an ad libitum very low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet compared to a moderate-carbohydrate, calorie-restricted low-fat diet. Additional research should examine both clinical outcomes and adherence beyond 12 months.
Primary outcomes: glycemic control
More data in spreadsheet here

A very low calorie ketogenic diet improves weight loss and quality of life in patients with adjustable gastric banding
Taus, Ann Ital Chir.
Summary: KD can improve the weight loss and quality of life in patients who underwent LAGB and failed at losing more weight allowing a weight loss comparable to that obtained with a further calibration and it is useful to avoid drastic calibrations and their collateral effects.
Primary outcomes: post Gastric banding weight loss
More data in spreadsheet here

Dynamics of intrapericardial and extrapericardial fat tissues during long-term, dietary-induced, moderate weight loss
Tsaban, Am J Clin Nutr
Summary: Moderate but persistent dietary-induced weight loss substantially decreased both IPF and EPF volumes. Reduction of pericardial adipose tissues is independently associated with an improved lipid profile. The Mediterranean diet, rich in unsaturated fats and restricted carbohydrates, is superior to an LF diet in terms of the IPF burden reduction.
Primary outcomes: IPF and EPF changes during weight loss
More data in spreadsheet here

Full list is here, and it will be updated regularly.


  1. Olga,Fernandez.Dietitian R.D. March 27, 2018 at 1:34 am

    To help others.


  2. Thank you for compiling this much needed list!


  3. I complied quite a long list in the past.


  4. Thanks for this


  5. Thanks for sharing


  6. ERIC ROBINSON, DO April 12, 2018 at 12:27 pm

    Sarah, when will your study be complete with regards to the hyper responders (elevated lipid particled) on a LCHF/Ketogenic diet?


  7. As a physician/scientist interested in optimizing nutrition for health, i greatly appreciate your emphasis on developing validated data and studies. Many of the low carb advocates seem comfortable basing conclusions on small data subsets. To date there are hundreds of thousands of patients who have been studied in trials for alternative diet approaches but only 7 thousand or so in low carbohydrate trials. These trials seem primarily focused on obeseindividuals or those at risk for type 2 diabetes. Given this large data inequity, should the healthy, non overweight, non diabetic person consider switching to a low carb diet to improve health (i.e. reduce cardiovascular disease, cancer risk, etc)? Or should we pursue whole foods, mediterranean style eating until there is more data? thank you


    1. Virta Health

      Thanks for reading! Dr. Phinney wrote a response on this here:


  8. Great list of studies. But please update the spreadsheet with links to the papers.
    Many are available on pubmed.


  9. Really appreciate this!


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