Low carb diets are everywhere. Everyone seems to be doing them and everyone is supposedly losing weight and feeling great. I don’t believe it for one second (especially the “feeling great” part).
I have scoured many resources and listened to many people try to convince me that a low carbohydrate diet can be healthy, yet the very same people trying to convince me of that are tired all the time, moody, struggle to make their days work out and struggle to stay on the diet (if you are struggling to stay on a diet then its not going to help you long term so why put your body and mind through it? Struggling to stay on a diet means something is wrong).
Many people do lose weight using low carb diets, that can’t be denied. However, Dr Michael Greger who wrote Atkin’s Facts, states that the only reason people lose weight this way is because they eat less calories.
Eating fewer calories may be a good thing if you are over consuming on calories but if you are eating a low carbohydrate diet and fewer calories, you will feel terrible.
I mean, if low carbohydrate diets are so great then why is it we are still struggling to lose weight? Why is it that 2 out of 3 Americans are either overweight or obese?
Just like most other diets available or putting in the limelight, low carb diets work well in the short term. In the long term they fail because you are either too tired, exhausted, moody or you have serious health issues.
When we don’t eat enough carbohydrates we rely on fat for fuel. This creates toxic by-products like acetone/ketones. The kidneys use minerals such as potassium and calcium to help rid the body of these toxins. So by going on a low-carb diet you urinate out essential minerals, which lead to low levels in our bodies. This can result in fatal cardiac arrhythmias. Ketosis (the process in which your body converts fats into energy) is a potentially life threatening condition and can also cause other problems due to the unnecessary stress put on the liver (resulting in potential liver damage).
When there are insufficient carbohydrates present to convert to sugar, the body will transform fat and protein into sugar, but at a higher cost: more time and energy spent on digestion with the creation of toxic residues.
Unpleasant side effects to low carb diets also include bad breath, constant cravings for sweets, irritability, constipation and low energy (As mentioned several times). Is it really worth the outcome of being slim for a short period of time when there are healthier, more long-term ways of losing weight?
A number of independent medical studies have also shown that a low carb, high protein diet can be dangerous to your health and even life threatening. This danger increases over time – so the longer you stay on it, the greater the risk.
Another problem with low carb diets is that they require people to eat an unnaturally high amount of protein every day, and generally high-fat protein as well.
The American Heart Association recommends getting 10 to 15 percent of your daily calories from protein. High protein diets overload the body by cramming their menus with meals that deliver 35 to 50 percent of the daily calorie intake as protein.
According to the John Hopkins Hospital, a leading medical research institution, high protein low carb diets cause the body to excrete calcium, and are associated with increased risk of heart disease and risk of kidney failure.
According to a University of Chicago study done in 2002, participants who were on a high protein low carb diet for a mere six weeks had a sharply elevated rate of calcium excretion, which leads to an increased risk of osteoporosis (thinning bones). They also had a high “acid load” in their blood streams, leading to an increased risk of kidney stones.
A study published by the American College of Nutrition found that the long-term use of the Atkins Diet would result in a 25 percent increase of blood cholesterol levels.
And – as if that’s not enough – the low carb diet tends to lead to constipation and other health problems associated with low fiber diets, because high fiber cereals, fruits and many vegetables are eliminated from the meal plans
People who stay on low fiber diets long term are also at increased risk of diverticulosis – a condition in which areas of the intestines weaken and bulge outward. This condition is virtually unheard of in societies that have diets rich in fiber.
Yes, people do tend to lose some water weight right away on high protein low carb diets. But they also get fatigued, grouchy, and crave carbs constantly. And as we’ve just demonstrated, staying on those diets long term can be life threatening – AND as soon as you start eating normally again you will gain that water weight right back, at an alarming rate!
But here’s the good news: it is absolutely not necessary to risk your health with a high protein diet.
Eating a high carb is important to your health. For example, we all know that fruit is good for us. A typical item of fruit contains around 80-90% carbohydrates, 1-10% fats, 1-10% proteins. This should be evident enough to not risk your health.