Looks like the Atkins craze isn’t quite over. Not only is Kim Kardashian saying it helped her drop the baby weight, but the Swedish government recently released a report, commissioned by the Swedish Council on Health Technology Assessment, that advised people in their country to eliminate carbs if they want to lose weight.
But before you go and stock up on a lifetime supply of IKEA meatballs, consider this: The experts say that this plan is best for short-term—not long-term—weight loss. “If you are worried about your weight, then eliminating carbohydrates for a short period can help,” says Jonas Lindblom, the report’s project director.
American dieticians agree. “Low-carb diets may jumpstart your weight loss in the short-term, but it doesn’t last in the long-term,” says Rebecca Scritchfield, R.D., a Washington, D.C.-based weight loss expert. What’s more, Scritchfield cautions that ditching bread and potatoes entirely may actually curb your weight loss efforts in the long run. “Starting a low-carb diet leads to weight cycling and yo-yoing, which is potentially harmful to your metabolism overall,” she says. “That’s because when you lose weight, you’re losing muscle and fat, but when you gain it back, you may be gaining only fat.”
So, what’s the verdict? If you want to lose weight for the long haul, Scritchfield recommends ditching the diet thing completely and sticking with the daily American dietary guidelines, which say you should fill your plate half full with fruits and veggies, a quarter full with starches (aka, carbs), and a quarter full with protein—at every meal.
But if you need—keyword need—to do a crash diet to fit into your bridesmaid’s dress or something, then fine. Maybe hold up on the bread for a bit. Otherwise, though, just stick with a healthy lifestyle that you know you can keep up for the long haul.
*This story was originally published on WomensHealth.com.