Original Research

A low-carbohydrate survey: Evidence for sustainable metabolic syndrome reversal

Mark T. Cucuzzella, Justin Tondt, Nancy E. Dockter, Laura Saslow, Thomas R. Wood
Journal of Metabolic Health | Journal of Insulin Resistance: Vol 2, No 1, | a30 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/jir.v2i1.30 | © 2017 Mark T. Cucuzzella, Justin Tondt, Nancy E. Dockter, Laura Saslow, Thomas R. Wood | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 16 September 2017 | Published: 21 December 2017

About the author(s)

Mark T. Cucuzzella, Department of Family Medicine, Jefferson Medical Center, West Virginia University, United States
Justin Tondt, Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine, United States
Nancy E. Dockter, Center for Health Literacy, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, United States
Laura Saslow, Department of Health Behavior and Biological Sciences, School of Nursing, University of Michigan, United States
Thomas R. Wood, Division of Neonatology, Department of Pediatrics, University of Washington, United States


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.


obesity; metabolic syndrome; type 2 diabetes; low carbohydrate diet


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Crossref Citations

1. Implementing a low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diet to manage type 2 diabetes mellitus
Eric C. Westman, Justin Tondt, Emily Maguire, William S. Yancy
Expert Review of Endocrinology & Metabolism  vol: 13  issue: 5  first page: 263  year: 2018  
doi: 10.1080/17446651.2018.1523713