Food hypes can be described as a food, nutrient or diet that is popularized by (social) media or a person with a large following, often only popular for a short period of time. We discuss the historical context of one of the most popular food hypes: weight-loss diets based on carbohydrate reduction. Supporters of these low-carbohydrate diets claim that they suppress appetite, increase energy expenditure, stimulate fat loss and are superior to other diets in terms of weight loss. We checked these claims against the available scientific evidence and put them into context of a whole-foods based approach. Studies show that low-carbohydrate diets are no more effective than other energy-restricted diets for weight loss. Furthermore, few popular weight-loss hypes are successful in the long term. We propose that the focus on macronutrients is counterproductive in efforts to promote a healthy diet and sustained weight loss.
Conflict of interest and financial support: none declared.