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Article

Beliefs and Experiences of Individuals Following a Zero-Carb Diet

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Psychological Sciences and Health Sciences Research Institute (HSRI), University of California, Merced, 5200 N. Lake Road, Merced, CA 95343, USA
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Department of Psychology, University of Cape Town, Rondebosch, Cape Town 7701, South Africa
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Research Group of Industrial Microbiology and Food Biotechnology (IMDO), Department of Bioengineering Sciences, Faculty of Sciences and Bioengineering Sciences, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Pleinlaan 2, B-1050 Brussels, Belgium
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Faculty of Sport and Health Sciences, University of Jyväskylä, Seminaarinkatu 15, FI-40014 Jyväskylä, Finland
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Joseph Ciorciari
Behav. Sci. 2021, 11(12), 161; https://doi.org/10.3390/bs11120161
Received: 20 August 2021 / Revised: 9 November 2021 / Accepted: 19 November 2021 / Published: 23 November 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health Behavior Change: Theories, Methods, and Interventions)
The adoption of carbohydrate-restrictive diets to improve health is increasing in popularity, but there is a dearth of research on individuals who choose to severely restrict or entirely exclude carbohydrates. The present study investigated the beliefs and experiences of individuals following a diet that severely limits, or entirely excludes, dietary carbohydrates, colloquially known as a ‘zero-carb’ diet, for at least 6 months. Zero-carb dieters (n = 170) recruited via a social networking site completed an online qualitative survey prompting them to discuss their motives, rationale, and experiences of following a low-carb diet. Transcripts of participants’ responses were analyzed using inductive thematic analysis. Results revealed that participants’ decision to follow a zero-carb diet was driven by health concerns and benefits. Participants expressed a strong social identity and belongingness to online zero-carb communities. Participants reported strong intentions to follow the diet indefinitely. Shortcomings of the diet centered on experienced stigma; lack of support from healthcare providers and significant others; limited access to, and high cost of, foods; and limited scientific data on the diet. Further research into the benefits and shortcomings of zero-carb diets across settings and populations is warranted, and guidelines for healthcare professionals on how to support individuals following a zero-carb diet are needed. View Full-Text
Keywords: carbohydrate restriction; ketogenic-type diets; wellbeing; quality of life; thematic analysis; lived experience carbohydrate restriction; ketogenic-type diets; wellbeing; quality of life; thematic analysis; lived experience
  • Externally hosted supplementary file 1
    Doi: 10.17605/OSF.IO/HTXPV
    Link: https://doi.org/10.17605/OSF.IO/HTXPV
    Description: Supplementary materials for "Beliefs and Experiences of Individuals Following a Zero-Carb Diet"
MDPI and ACS Style

Protogerou, C.; Leroy, F.; Hagger, M.S. Beliefs and Experiences of Individuals Following a Zero-Carb Diet. Behav. Sci. 2021, 11, 161. https://doi.org/10.3390/bs11120161

AMA Style

Protogerou C, Leroy F, Hagger MS. Beliefs and Experiences of Individuals Following a Zero-Carb Diet. Behavioral Sciences. 2021; 11(12):161. https://doi.org/10.3390/bs11120161

Chicago/Turabian Style

Protogerou, Cleo, Frédéric Leroy, and Martin S. Hagger. 2021. "Beliefs and Experiences of Individuals Following a Zero-Carb Diet" Behavioral Sciences 11, no. 12: 161. https://doi.org/10.3390/bs11120161

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