Harvard Catalyst Profiles

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David S. Ludwig, M.D., Ph.D.

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Other Positions

First Incumbent, The John Fielding Crigler, Jr. Chair in Pediatric Endocrinology
The E.V. McCollum Award for Clinical Research
Oded Bar-Or Award for Pediatric Obesity Research

Dr. Ludwig is a practicing endocrinologist and researcher at Boston Children’s Hospital. He holds the rank of Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and Professor of Nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health. Dr Ludwig Founded the Optimal Weight for Life (OWL) program at Children's Hospital, one of the country’s oldest and largest multidisciplinary clinics for the care of overweight children. He also directs the New Balance Foundation Obesity Prevention Center at Children’s Hospital. His research focuses on the effects of diet on hormones, metabolism and body weight. In particular, he developed a novel “low glycemic load” diet (i.e., one that decreases the surge in blood sugar after meals) for the treatment of obesity and prevention of type 2 diabetes and heart disease. In addition, he conducted some of the original studies linking sugar-sweetened beverages and fast food to obesity. Described as an “obesity warrior” by Time Magazine, Dr. Ludwig has fought for fundamental policy changes to improve the food environment. He received the E.V. McCollum Award (2008) of the American Society for Nutrition and the Oded Bar-Or Award (2015) of The Obesity Society. Dr. Ludwig is Principal Investigator on numerous grants with 20 years of continuous NIH funding, including a current K24 mid-career mentoring grant. He has published over 150 scientific articles and serves as Contributing Writer for JAMA. Dr. Ludwig has written 2 books for the public, including the #1 New York Times bestseller Always Hungry? Conquer Cravings, Retrain Your Fat Cells, and Lose Weight Permanently (Grand Central Publishing, 2016). He appears frequently in national print and broadcast media.

The Effects of Popular Diets on Energy Expenditure After Weight Loss
Summer, 06/15/09 - 08/07/09
Endocrinologic and metabolic effects of popular diets during weight maintenance after weight loss in obese young adults
Full Time/Year Long, 07/01/08 - 06/30/09

The research activities and funding listed below are automatically derived from NIH ExPORTER and other sources, which might result in incorrect or missing items. Faculty can login to make corrections and additions.
  1. R01HL104215 (LUDWIG, DAVID S) Aug 14, 2010 - Jun 30, 2016
    Sugar-sweetened beverages and cardiovascular disease risk: an RCT
    Role: Principal Investigator
  2. R01DK085109 (LUDWIG, DAVID S) Jul 1, 2010 - Jun 30, 2016
    A Novel Diet-Phenotype Interaction Affecting Body Weight
    Role: Principal Investigator
  3. K24DK082730 (LUDWIG, DAVID S) Jan 1, 2009 - Sep 14, 2019
    Effects of Diet on Hormones, Metabolism and Body Weight
    Role: Principal Investigator
  4. R03DK073335 (LUDWIG, DAVID S) Aug 15, 2006 - Jun 30, 2009
    Glycemic Load and infant birth weight in pregnant/glucose intolerant women
    Role: Principal Investigator
  5. R01DK073025 (LUDWIG, DAVID S) Feb 21, 2006 - Dec 31, 2011
    Reducing Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Consumption in Overweight Adolescents
    Role: Principal Investigator

Publications listed below are automatically derived from MEDLINE/PubMed and other sources, which might result in incorrect or missing publications. Faculty can login to make corrections and additions.
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PMC Citations indicate the number of times the publication was cited by articles in PubMed Central, and the Altmetric score represents citations in news articles and social media. (Note that publications are often cited in additional ways that are not shown here.) Fields are based on how the National Library of Medicine (NLM) classifies the publication's journal and might not represent the specific topic of the publication. Translation tags are based on the publication type and the MeSH terms NLM assigns to the publication. Some publications (especially newer ones and publications not in PubMed) might not yet be assigned Field or Translation tags.) Click a Field or Translation tag to filter the publications.
  1. Ebbeling CB, Ludwig DS. Treatment for childhood obesity: Using a biological model to inform dietary targets. J Pediatr. 2022 Dec 10. PMID: 36509158.
    Citations:    Fields:    
  2. Heymsfield SB, Ludwig DS, Wong JMW, McCarthy C, Heo M, Shepherd J, Ebbeling CB. Are methods of estimating fat-free mass loss with energy-restricted diets accurate? Eur J Clin Nutr. 2022 Sep 08. PMID: 36076068.
    Citations:    Fields:    
  3. Ludwig DS, Apovian CM, Aronne LJ, Astrup A, Cantley LC, Ebbeling CB, Heymsfield SB, Johnson JD, King JC, Krauss RM, Taubes G, Volek JS, Westman EC, Willett WC, Yancy WS, Friedman MI. Competing paradigms of obesity pathogenesis: energy balance versus carbohydrate-insulin models. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2022 09; 76(9):1209-1221. PMID: 35896818; PMCID: PMC9436778.
    Citations:    Fields:    
  4. Ludwig DS, Ebbeling CB, Rimm EB. Carbohydrates, Insulin Secretion, and "Precision Nutrition". Diabetes Care. 2022 06 02; 45(6):1303-1305. PMID: 35653600.
    Citations: 1     Fields:    Translation:Humans
  5. Ludwig DS, Norwitz NG, Feldman D, Soto-Mota A, Kalayjian T. Reply to M Mindrum and J Moore et al. Curr Dev Nutr. 2022 May; 6(5):nzac029. PMID: 35670750; PMCID: PMC9154284.
  6. Norwitz NG, Soto-Mota A, Kaplan B, Ludwig DS, Budoff M, Kontush A, Feldman D. The Lipid Energy Model: Reimagining Lipoprotein Function in the Context of Carbohydrate-Restricted Diets. Metabolites. 2022 May 20; 12(5). PMID: 35629964; PMCID: PMC9147253.
  7. Stefan N, Sippel K, Heni M, Fritsche A, Wagner R, Jakob CEM, Preißl H, von Werder A, Khodamoradi Y, Borgmann S, Rüthrich MM, Hanses F, Haselberger M, Piepel C, Hower M, Vom Dahl J, Wille K, Römmele C, Vehreschild J, Stecher M, Solimena M, Roden M, Schürmann A, Gallwitz B, Hrabe de Angelis M, Ludwig DS, Schulze MB, Jensen BEO, Birkenfeld AL. Obesity and Impaired Metabolic Health Increase Risk of COVID-19-Related Mortality in Young and Middle-Aged Adults to the Level Observed in Older People: The LEOSS Registry. Front Med (Lausanne). 2022; 9:875430. PMID: 35646955; PMCID: PMC9131026.
    Citations: 1     
  8. Ludwig DS, Sørensen TIA. An integrated model of obesity pathogenesis that revisits causal direction. Nat Rev Endocrinol. 2022 05; 18(5):261-262. PMID: 35136206.
    Citations: 1     Fields:    Translation:Humans
  9. Ludwig DS, Lennerz BS, Mey JT. Reply to R Kirwan et al. Curr Dev Nutr. 2022 May; 6(5):nzac038. PMID: 35669043; PMCID: PMC9154227.
  10. Wong JMW, Yu S, Ma C, Mehta T, Dickinson SL, Allison DB, Heymsfield SB, Ebbeling CB, Ludwig DS. Stimulated Insulin Secretion Predicts Changes in Body Composition Following Weight Loss in Adults with High BMI. J Nutr. 2022 03 03; 152(3):655-662. PMID: 34587231.
    Citations:    Fields:    Translation:Humans
  11. Jansen LT, Yang N, Wong JMW, Mehta T, Allison DB, Ludwig DS, Ebbeling CB. Prolonged Glycemic Adaptation Following Transition From a Low- to High-Carbohydrate Diet: A Randomized Controlled Feeding Trial. Diabetes Care. 2022 03 01; 45(3):576-584. PMID: 35108378; PMCID: PMC8918196.
    Citations: 1     Fields:    Translation:Humans
  12. Bikman BT, Shimy KJ, Apovian CM, Yu S, Saito ER, Walton CM, Ebbeling CB, Ludwig DS. A high-carbohydrate diet lowers the rate of adipose tissue mitochondrial respiration. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2022 09; 76(9):1339-1342. PMID: 35177807; PMCID: PMC9381644.
    Citations: 1     Fields:    
  13. Ludwig DS, Aronne LJ, Astrup A, de Cabo R, Cantley LC, Friedman MI, Heymsfield SB, Johnson JD, King JC, Krauss RM, Lieberman DE, Taubes G, Volek JS, Westman EC, Willett WC, Yancy WS, Ebbeling CB. Reply to A Drewnowski et al, O Devinsky, D A Booth and E L Gibson, and D J Millward. Am J Clin Nutr. 2022 02 09; 115(2):595-597. PMID: 35139162; PMCID: PMC8990105.
    Citations:    Fields:    
  14. Ludwig DS, Wong JMW, Yu S, Ma C, Mehta T, Dickinson SL, Allison DB, Heymsfield SB, Ebbeling CB. Reply to DA Booth. J Nutr. 2022 02 08; 152(2):641-642. PMID: 35137123.
    Citations:    Fields:    
  15. Dickinson SL, Henschel B, Ludwig DS, Allison DB. Errors and incorrect conclusions need correction in "The low-carbohydrate-diet score is associated with resting metabolic rate: an epidemiologic study among Iranian adults". J Diabetes Metab Disord. 2022 Jun; 21(1):1189-1190. PMID: 35673479; PMCID: PMC9167155.
  16. Ebbeling CB, Knapp A, Johnson A, Wong JMW, Greco KF, Ma C, Mora S, Ludwig DS. Effects of a low-carbohydrate diet on insulin-resistant dyslipoproteinemia-a randomized controlled feeding trial. Am J Clin Nutr. 2022 01 11; 115(1):154-162. PMID: 34582545; PMCID: PMC8755039.
    Citations: 9     Fields:    Translation:Humans
  17. Willett WC, Ludwig DS. Dietary trials on chronic disease: learning from the past to avoid repeating it. Am J Clin Nutr. 2021 12 01; 114(6):2119-2120. PMID: 36017655.
    Citations: 1     Fields:    Translation:Humans
  18. Ludwig DS, Aronne LJ, Astrup A, de Cabo R, Cantley LC, Friedman MI, Heymsfield SB, Johnson JD, King JC, Krauss RM, Lieberman DE, Taubes G, Volek JS, Westman EC, Willett WC, Yancy WS, Ebbeling CB. The carbohydrate-insulin model: a physiological perspective on the obesity pandemic. Am J Clin Nutr. 2021 12 01; 114(6):1873-1885. PMID: 34515299; PMCID: PMC8634575.
    Citations: 19     Fields:    
  19. Norwitz NG, Feldman D, Soto-Mota A, Kalayjian T, Ludwig DS. Elevated LDL Cholesterol with a Carbohydrate-Restricted Diet: Evidence for a "Lean Mass Hyper-Responder" Phenotype. Curr Dev Nutr. 2022 Jan; 6(1):nzab144. PMID: 35106434; PMCID: PMC8796252.
    Citations: 5     
  20. Lennerz BS, Mey JT, Henn OH, Ludwig DS. Behavioral Characteristics and Self-Reported Health Status among 2029 Adults Consuming a "Carnivore Diet". Curr Dev Nutr. 2021 Dec; 5(12):nzab133. PMID: 34934897; PMCID: PMC8684475.
    Citations: 2     
  21. Ludwig DS, Ebbeling CB. Letter to the Editor: Reply to Guyenet and Hall. J Nutr. 2021 08 07; 151(8):2497-2498. PMID: 34363483.
    Citations:    Fields:    
  22. Holsen LM, Hoge WS, Lennerz BS, Cerit H, Hye T, Moondra P, Goldstein JM, Ebbeling CB, Ludwig DS. Diets Varying in Carbohydrate Content Differentially Alter Brain Activity in Homeostatic and Reward Regions in Adults. J Nutr. 2021 08 07; 151(8):2465-2476. PMID: 33852013; PMCID: PMC8349124.
    Citations: 3     Fields:    Translation:Humans
  23. Ludwig DS, Ebbeling CB. Reply to R Prentice et al. J Nutr. 2021 06 01; 151(6):1674. PMID: 34075414.
    Citations:    Fields:    
  24. Ludwig DS, Dickinson SL, Henschel B, Ebbeling CB, Allison DB. Do Lower-Carbohydrate Diets Increase Total Energy Expenditure? An Updated and Reanalyzed Meta-Analysis of 29 Controlled-Feeding Studies. J Nutr. 2021 03 11; 151(3):482-490. PMID: 33274750; PMCID: PMC7948201.
    Citations: 14     Fields:    Translation:Humans
  25. Speakman JR, Yamada Y, Sagayama H, Berman ESF, Ainslie PN, Andersen LF, Anderson LJ, Arab L, Baddou I, Bedu-Addo K, Blaak EE, Blanc S, Bonomi AG, Bouten CVC, Bovet P, Buchowski MS, Butte NF, Camps SGJA, Close GL, Cooper JA, Creasy SA, Das SK, Cooper R, Dugas LR, Ebbeling CB, Ekelund U, Entringer S, Forrester T, Fudge BW, Goris AH, Gurven M, Hambly C, El Hamdouchi A, Hoos MB, Hu S, Joonas N, Joosen AM, Katzmarzyk P, Kempen KP, Kimura M, Kraus WE, Kushner RF, Lambert EV, Leonard WR, Lessan N, Ludwig DS, Martin CK, Medin AC, Meijer EP, Morehen JC, Morton JP, Neuhouser ML, Nicklas TA, Ojiambo RM, Pietiläinen KH, Pitsiladis YP, Plange-Rhule J, Plasqui G, Prentice RL, Rabinovich RA, Racette SB, Raichlen DA, Ravussin E, Reynolds RM, Roberts SB, Schuit AJ, Sjödin AM, Stice E, Urlacher SS, Valenti G, Van Etten LM, Van Mil EA, Wells JCK, Wilson G, Wood BM, Yanovski J, Yoshida T, Zhang X, Murphy-Alford AJ, Loechl CU, Melanson EL, Luke AH, Pontzer H, Rood J, Schoeller DA, Westerterp KR, Wong WW. A standard calculation methodology for human doubly labeled water studies. Cell Rep Med. 2021 02 16; 2(2):100203. PMID: 33665639; PMCID: PMC7897799.
    Citations: 15     Fields:    Translation:Humans
  26. Lennerz BS, Koutnik AP, Azova S, Wolfsdorf JI, Ludwig DS. Carbohydrate restriction for diabetes: rediscovering centuries-old wisdom. J Clin Invest. 2021 01 04; 131(1). PMID: 33393511.
    Citations: 12     Fields:    Translation:Humans
  27. Keddie S, Ziff O, Chou MKL, Taylor RL, Heslegrave A, Garr E, Lakdawala N, Church A, Ludwig D, Manson J, Scully M, Nastouli E, Chapman MD, Hart M, Lunn MP. Laboratory biomarkers associated with COVID-19 severity and management. Clin Immunol. 2020 12; 221:108614. PMID: 33153974; PMCID: PMC7581344.
    Citations: 18     Fields:    Translation:HumansCells
  28. Ludwig DS. Reply to S Joshi. J Nutr. 2020 10 12; 150(10):2836-2837. PMID: 33044523.
    Citations:    Fields:    Translation:Humans
  29. Ebbeling CB, Bielak L, Lakin PR, Klein GL, Wong JMW, Luoto PK, Wong WW, Ludwig DS. Energy Requirement Is Higher During Weight-Loss Maintenance in Adults Consuming a Low- Compared with High-Carbohydrate Diet. J Nutr. 2020 08 01; 150(8):2009-2015. PMID: 32470981; PMCID: PMC7398766.
    Citations: 1     Fields:    Translation:Humans
  30. Ebbeling CB, Feldman HA, Steltz SK, Quinn NL, Robinson LM, Ludwig DS. Effects of Sugar-Sweetened, Artificially Sweetened, and Unsweetened Beverages on Cardiometabolic Risk Factors, Body Composition, and Sweet Taste Preference: A Randomized Controlled Trial. J Am Heart Assoc. 2020 08 04; 9(15):e015668. PMID: 32696704.
    Citations: 10     Fields:    Translation:Humans
  31. Boucher JL, Kirkpatrick CF, Ludwig DS, Guyton JR. JCL roundtable: Low-carbohydrate diets. J Clin Lipidol. 2020 Jul - Aug; 14(4):384-395. PMID: 32921363.
    Citations: 1     Fields:    Translation:Humans
  32. Stefan N, Birkenfeld AL, Schulze MB, Ludwig DS. Obesity and impaired metabolic health in patients with COVID-19. Nat Rev Endocrinol. 2020 07; 16(7):341-342. PMID: 32327737; PMCID: PMC7187148.
    Citations: 209     Fields:    Translation:HumansCellsPHPublic Health
  33. Willett W, Ludwig DS. Milk and Health. Reply. N Engl J Med. 2020 06 04; 382(23):e86. PMID: 32492325.
    Citations: 1     Fields:    Translation:Animals
  34. Ludwig DS. The Ketogenic Diet: Evidence for Optimism but High-Quality Research Needed. J Nutr. 2020 06 01; 150(6):1354-1359. PMID: 31825066; PMCID: PMC7269727.
    Citations: 30     Fields:    Translation:Humans
  35. Patterson B, Marks M, Martinez-Garcia G, Bidwell G, Luintel A, Ludwig D, Parks T, Gothard P, Thomas R, Logan S, Shaw K, Stone N, Brown M. A novel cohorting and isolation strategy for suspected COVID-19 cases during a pandemic. J Hosp Infect. 2020 Aug; 105(4):632-637. PMID: 32485197.
    Citations: 13     Fields:    Translation:HumansCellsPHPublic Health
  36. Shimy KJ, Feldman HA, Klein GL, Bielak L, Ebbeling CB, Ludwig DS. Effects of Dietary Carbohydrate Content on Circulating Metabolic Fuel Availability in the Postprandial State. J Endocr Soc. 2020 Jul 01; 4(7):bvaa062. PMID: 32666008; PMCID: PMC7326475.
    Citations: 8     
  37. Ludwig DS, Greco KF, Ma C, Ebbeling CB. Testing the carbohydrate-insulin model of obesity in a 5-month feeding study: the perils of post-hoc participant exclusions. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2020 07; 74(7):1109-1112. PMID: 32435054.
    Citations: 2     Fields:    Translation:Humans
  38. Willett WC, Ludwig DS. Milk and Health. N Engl J Med. 2020 Feb 13; 382(7):644-654. PMID: 32053300.
    Citations: 36     Fields:    Translation:HumansAnimals
  39. Ludwig DS, Ebbeling CB, Bikman BT, Johnson JD. Testing the carbohydrate-insulin model in mice: The importance of distinguishing primary hyperinsulinemia from insulin resistance and metabolic dysfunction. Mol Metab. 2020 05; 35:100960. PMID: 32199816.
    Citations: 5     Fields:    Translation:Animals
  40. Duggan CP, Brennan L, Christian P, Fanzo J, Ludwig DS. Knowledge and debate in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: new sections, new science, and looking forward and outward. Am J Clin Nutr. 2020 01 01; 111(1):1-3. PMID: 31665209.
    Citations: 1     Fields:    Translation:Humans
  41. Ludwig DS, Ebbeling CB, Heymsfield SB. Discrepancies in the Registries of Diet vs Drug Trials. JAMA Netw Open. 2019 11 01; 2(11):e1915360. PMID: 31722021.
    Citations: 1     Fields:    Translation:Humans
  42. Ludwig DS, Ebbeling CB, Wong JMW, Wolfe RR, Wong WW. Methodological error in measurement of energy expenditure by the doubly labeled water method: much ado about nothing? Am J Clin Nutr. 2019 11 01; 110(5):1253-1254. PMID: 31667511.
    Citations: 1     Fields:    
  43. Ludwig DS, Ebbeling CB, Heymsfield SB. Improving the Quality of Dietary Research. JAMA. 2019 Oct 22; 322(16):1549-1550. PMID: 31403656.
    Citations: 10     Fields:    
  44. Ludwig DS, Lakin PR, Wong WW, Ebbeling CB. Scientific discourse in the era of open science: a response to Hall et al. regarding the Carbohydrate-Insulin Model. Int J Obes (Lond). 2019 12; 43(12):2355-2360. PMID: 31586125; PMCID: PMC6892734.
    Citations: 6     Fields:    Translation:Humans
  45. Ludwig DS, Astrup A, Bazzano LA, Ebbeling CB, Heymsfield SB, King JC, Willett WC. Ultra-Processed Food and Obesity: The Pitfalls of Extrapolation from Short Studies. Cell Metab. 2019 07 02; 30(1):3-4. PMID: 31230987.
    Citations: 7     Fields:    Translation:Humans
  46. Ludwig DS, Willett WC, Volek JS, Neuhouser ML. Dietary fat: From foe to friend? Science. 2018 11 16; 362(6416):764-770. PMID: 30442800.
    Citations: 62     Fields:    Translation:Humans
  47. Ebbeling CB, Feldman HA, Klein GL, Wong JMW, Bielak L, Steltz SK, Luoto PK, Wolfe RR, Wong WW, Ludwig DS. Effects of a low carbohydrate diet on energy expenditure during weight loss maintenance: randomized trial. BMJ. 2018 11 14; 363:k4583. PMID: 30429127; PMCID: PMC6233655.
    Citations: 77     Fields:    Translation:HumansCells
  48. Ludwig DS, Ebbeling CB. 90th Anniversary Commentary: Obesity among Offspring of US Immigrants: After 20 Years, a Need to Safeguard Children from the Obesogenic Environment. J Nutr. 2018 10 01; 148(10):1674-1677. PMID: 30281107; PMCID: PMC6669943.
    Citations: 1     Fields:    Translation:HumansPHPublic Health
  49. Ludwig DS, Lennerz BS. Authors' Response. Pediatrics. 2018 08; 142(2). PMID: 30065003; PMCID: PMC7590514.
    Citations:    Fields:    Translation:Humans
  50. Ludwig DS, Ebbeling CB. The Carbohydrate-Insulin Model of Obesity: Beyond "Calories In, Calories Out". JAMA Intern Med. 2018 08 01; 178(8):1098-1103. PMID: 29971406; PMCID: PMC6082688.
    Citations: 91     Fields:    Translation:HumansAnimals