Are there health benefits to a low carb diet?

Yes.

But weight loss isn’t one of them. Weight loss (or gain) depends on calories in versus calories out much more than on the ratio of macronutrients in your diet. A low-carb diet, however, can preserve muscle mass during weight loss and improve your levels of cholesterol, triglycerides, insulin, and fasting glucose.[1][2][3][4][5][6][7][8][9]


References

  1. Golay A, et al. Similar weight loss with low- or high-carbohydrate diets . Am J Clin Nutr. (1996)
  2. Golay A, et al. Weight-loss with low or high carbohydrate diet . Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. (1996)
  3. Parker B, et al. Effect of a high-protein, high-monounsaturated fat weight loss diet on glycemic control and lipid levels in type 2 diabetes . Diabetes Care. (2002)
  4. Noakes M, et al. Effect of an energy-restricted, high-protein, low-fat diet relative to a conventional high-carbohydrate, low-fat diet on weight loss, body composition, nutritional status, and markers of cardiovascular health in obese women . Am J Clin Nutr. (2005)
  5. Keogh JB, et al. Long-term weight maintenance and cardiovascular risk factors are not different following weight loss on carbohydrate-restricted diets high in either monounsaturated fat or protein in obese hyperinsulinaemic men and women . Br J Nutr. (2007)
  6. Farnsworth E, et al. Effect of a high-protein, energy-restricted diet on body composition, glycemic control, and lipid concentrations in overweight and obese hyperinsulinemic men and women . Am J Clin Nutr. (2003)
  7. McLaughlin T, et al. Effects of moderate variations in macronutrient composition on weight loss and reduction in cardiovascular disease risk in obese, insulin-resistant adults . Am J Clin Nutr. (2006)
  8. Boden G, et al. Effect of a low-carbohydrate diet on appetite, blood glucose levels, and insulin resistance in obese patients with type 2 diabetes . Ann Intern Med. (2005)
  9. Effects of macronutrient composition of the diet on body fat in indigenous people at high risk of type 2 diabetes