3 minute read

Cutting Carbs Can Help with Weight-Loss, But You May Also Be Cutting Nutrients 

Published June 6, 2023

Carbohydrate-rich foods, also known as carbs, have been on the chopping block of dieters for many years. Low-carb diets are not only a popular way to lose weight, but they may also help decrease your risk of developing type-2 diabetes and high-blood pressure, both which can damage kidneys and other major organs. Cutting out carbs, may also mean adding more protein and fats to your diet, and you should be aware of the health risks for doing so. Excess fat intake can lead to increased cholesterol which can be a concern for those at risk for heart disease. 

Carbs shouldn’t always have such a bad reputation! Some, like whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, are good and contain many important vitamins and minerals. Eliminating these foods can lead to nutritional deficiencies and serious health problems. Though, it is important to note that more than just what you eat influences how nutrients work in your body. Other factors include genetics, age, health conditions, medications, metabolism, and how well your body absorbs nutrients.  

It’s also valuable to be aware of any deficiencies before starting a low-carb diet, or just trying to cut down on carbs, to ensure you are not already deficient in any of these nutrients. You could become more deficient and further impair your health when you eliminate certain foods from your diet. If you have any health issues, concerns, or questions, you should talk to a doctor before starting a low-carb diet. 

What is a low-carb diet?

A low-carb diet typically restricts foods that contain high amounts of carbs such as grains, (bread and pasta), fruits (bananas, pineapples, and apples), and starchy vegetables (potatoes, squash, seeds, and beans). Processed foods don’t have a lot of nutritional value and are usually eliminated on a low-carb diet. Healthy carbs, containing important nutritional value including fiber, essential vitamins, and minerals, may also be limited. 

Quest Low-Carb Diet Vitamin Deficiency Test Panel 

We make it easy to check the levels of these important micronutrients with the: Low-Carb Diet Vitamin Deficiency Test Panel. It is available to purchase online; no doctor’s visit is required. This panel measures the levels of vitamin B1, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, vitamin D, vitamin E, calcium, folate, iodine, iron, magnesium, potassium, and zinc. 

Common low-carb diet vitamin/mineral deficiencies 

Depending on the types of foods that you have restricted to lower your carb intake, you may be missing these micronutrients in your diet: vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin B3, vitamin B5, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, vitamin D, vitamin E, calcium, folate, iodine, iron, magnesium, potassium, and zinc. These are all essential nutrients that your body needs to function properly. Our bodies don’t produce most of these vitamins and minerals, so we must get them daily from the food we eat or with supplements.  

B vitamins are necessary for turning your food into energy and for healthy cells and organ function. Vitamin B5, B6, B12, and iron help build healthy red blood cells. Vitamin D and calcium are essential for strong bones. Vitamin E, magnesium, and zinc are important for the immune system. Iron, iodine, and zinc are necessary for healthy thyroid function and metabolism, and potassium helps regulate blood pressure and heart rate.  

Dietary alternatives for a low-carb diet

It is possible to get most of these nutrients, even while following a low-carb diet. Because carbs are limited, it is important to make sure that the whole foods you consume that contain carbs also have proper nutritional value and aren't just empty fillers. Here are some ideas for alternative foods that contain those needed vitamins and minerals that may be lacking.  

Meat, poultry, and pork are good sources of the B vitamins (B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, and B12), vitamin D, and iron. Vitamin B2 and B6 are also found in eggs along with folate, iodine, and zinc. 

Many vegetables, especially leafy greens, are full of magnesium, folate, and potassium. 

You can get calcium from dairy products including milk, cheese, and yogurt, but also from black soybeans, greens, almonds, and fortified plant milks. 

Test your micronutrient levels with Quest 

Quest is here to support you on your journey to good health. We offer a convenient way to check vitamin and mineral deficiencies commonly associated with a low-carb diet. The Quest Low-Carb Diet Vitamin Deficiency Test Panel is available to purchase online today. 

No doctor visit is required to buy your own lab test at questhealth.com. PWNHealth and its affiliates review your purchase to ensure it is medically appropriate before submitting the test order for processing. PWNHealth also reviews your test results and will contact you directly if they require prompt attention. Included in each purchase is the option to discuss your test results with an independent physician; however, you are also encouraged to speak with your primary healthcare provider.  


  1. Low-carb diet: Can it help you lose weight? Accessed April 4, 2023 https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/weight-loss/in-depth/low-carb-diet/art-20045831 
  2. 6 Signs of Nutrient Deficiency. Accessed April 2, 2023 https://www.rush.edu/news/6-signs-nutrient-deficiency  
  3. Vitamin B6 Deficiency. Accessed April 4, 2023 https://www.merckmanuals.com/home/disorders-of-nutrition/vitamins/vitamin-b6-deficiency 
  4. Low carb diet: History, benefits & risks. Accessed April 9, 2023 https://www.livescience.com/52769-low-carb-diet-facts.html  
  5. What you need to know about a low-carb diet and your kidneys. Accessed April 9, 2023 https://www.dietdoctor.com/low-carb/kidney-health