Low Carbohydrate Diet Risks

Low Carbohydrate Diet Risks

About Low Carb Diets

The impressive results of minimum effort low-carb dieting have led to its growing popularity over the past 50 years.

But in reality, much of the weight loss is actually due to a drop in water retention, not in fat. And there is the issue of low carb dieting risks that are often overlooked by those who practice the diet and its advocates.

This kind of diet became popular during the Swinging Sixties, but the same philosophy is still being espoused even to this day, despite a number of concerns over potential health risks.

The main approach of low carbing is one where the diet centers around eating low to no carbohydrate and filling up and fighting hunger with lots of protein.

Advocates of this style of diet believe that by cutting out carbs, you can reduce the body’s insulin production, and interrupt the way that the body converts what you eat into fat.

Additionally, supporters of this type of diet say carbohydrates do not leave one feeling sated, and so you eat more calories to make up for the deficiency.

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Low Carb Diet Successes

Recent research has demonstrated that low carbing can help people to lose a maximum of about 10 pounds. However, science has shown that the bigger the dieter, the more weight they are able to lose by following a carb-restricted diet.

In fact, over a period of six months to a year, dieters who followed low-carb diets, lost considerably more than those on other traditional types of diet.

When people followed a low carb lifestyle, they also saw a positive increase in their HDL cholesterol and a reduction in triglycerides – which help the body store fat and are the main cause of heart disease.

Low Carb Diet Successes

Previously, most people believed that a high-fat diet would be very bad for a person’s overall health. However, most of our culture’s obsession with low-fat products was a result of flawed research carried out in villages in a China a long time ago.

Of course, like all diets, unless the dieter maintains a commitment to living healthily, eventually, they will regain their lost weight.


Low Carb Diet Problems

Despite the high levels of success for many people following low-carb diets such as the Atkins and South Beach diet, there are low carb dieting risks. And many weight loss professionals and doctors are concerned about the unknown health problems that might be caused by low carb diets.

For instance, there’s no reliable scientific research to determine if those following this type of diet can continue to lose weight or keep weight off after the first year.

Would dieters who had initially restricted carbs simply pile it all back on again if they reduce their restrictions?

Additionally, there has not been sufficient research to determine the long-term impact of diets that emphasizes eating protein and a lot of fat.

And although a correlation between low carb diets and heart disease has not yet been established, it’s not too early to rule it out.

Low Carb Diet Problems

Furthermore, medical practitioners and dieticians have not yet ruled out the deleterious effects of a high protein diet upon our health.

Whenever we consume a lot of protein, it tends to force our organs (our kidneys and liver) into overworking, because they have to filter a higher amount of waste from the protein.

Health problems such as kidney stones are common when someone has a richly protein filled diet.

It can also introduce problems like gouty arthritis due to the unusual levels of uric acid that high amounts of protein introduced into the body.

For those with existing kidney problems, these low carb/high protein diets can exacerbate their medical condition – even when the diet isn’t sustained for a long period.

Some people even believe that high levels of protein consumption are responsible for deteriorating calcium and an increased risk of osteoporosis.

Restricting carbs might also be a poor health choice. The sudden reduction in carbohydrate could trigger ketosis.

Ketosis is a condition that is dangerous to people with certain health conditions such as heart problems, diabetics and those with poor kidney functions.

Furthermore, when you choose to reduce your carb intake, it’s possible to miss out on some important nutrients. People on low carb diets tend to avoid grains, fruit, and veggies.

This can lead to a considerable deficit in certain fibers, vitamins and minerals.

This is the problem with most low-carb diets, they do not ‘normalize’ health eating or habituate a balanced diet. They are a form of extreme eating.


What We’d Advise

You should always consult a health professional before starting any form of new diet.

While, we know that low carb diets can cause rapid and exciting weight loss, at present, there’s not enough research done into low carb diet risks.

In order to prevent this type of diet from causing you health problems, you should consider balancing your meals in line with traditional eating guidelines.

But if you want to remain at the low carb end of the spectrum, you could stick with about 1/3 carbs, 1/3 protein, and 1/3 fat.

Of course, the simplest advice of all is to eat less and move more.

Eating less unhealthy food and building additional calorie burning activities into your day, is an effective long-term strategy that comes without any health risks.

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17 thoughts on “Low Carbohydrate Diet Risks

  1. I’m of the opinion that any diet that restricts certain food groups should only be done for short stints of time, then we should go back to a balanced eating lifestyle. If most of us would pay more attention to the type of carbs we are ingesting on a daily basis, we would do ourselves a huge favor to limit the amount of refined sugar in our diet and work a little harder on including the fruits and vegetables.

    1. Hi Jen, 

      Well that’s usually the point of this type of diet – to use it to lose weight. I mean, I can’t imagine staying on this sort of meal plan for the rest of my life as your health would drop over time (sometimes we NEED to eat the bad stuff – in moderation it can be good for you overall!). 

  2. I follow a low carb, moderate protein, and high fat diet (keto diet). I regularly am in ketosis as I minimize the amount of carbs I eat. I occasionally slip up and eat bad carbs (or do so by choice). So it will take between 24-48 hours to go back into a ketosis state. I see my family doctor every 6 months because I am diabetic. At the moment, I am waiting for the results of my blood work. But I have lost 30 pounds from my previous doctor’s visit. 

    1. Hi Glen, 

      Well that all sounds like good news really – congrats on the loss of 30 pounds, and discovering the ability to get healthy (a way that works for you!). 🙂

  3. Chris,

    Great post with great content. I am going to play devils advocate for you….

    I myself see low carb as a way of life and not a diet. I agree that low carbs can be a little painful and maybe a little shocking to the body, but in my opinion that is what the body needs to get back on the correct path.

    I am a believer in a rendition of the Keto diet, burning fat as fuel instead of carbs. We as humans have become so accustomed to burning carbs and sugars the body doesn’t understand when you stop taking in so many and switch it over to fats.

    When the body is eating more a percentage of fatty foods it will raise ketone levels and diminish carbs. 

    Everyone has there own opinion when it comes to dieting and fitness. I like your take…I just like mine better. I appreciate the great information.

    That is my devils advocate for the day. 

    Cheers,

    Nic

    1. Ah a Keto man are you Nic – no problems! 🙂

      As you point out, everybody has their own opinion when it comes to dieting and fitness, and I also like your take…but mine is much better LOL!

  4. I have heard of countless success stories from low carb dieting, some of them come with undoubtable proof, but I have always wondered if it was a one time thing. Do they have to stick with this diet forever to maintain their new body size? Or there is a specific time frame to monitor your progress with and then switch to regular dieting? These are just thoughts I had while reading through the article. Thanks for sharing

    1. Hi Samson, 

      Well most diets usually try and change the mindset of the individual, so they stick to them AFTER they have achieved the weight loss they are looking for! 

  5. Very helpful and informative. I am thinking about dieting and am now looking for the best recommendation. Of course I understand eating less and moving more is the best option but for me at the moment at least the moving is not easy to do.

    I am hungry a lot, especially around 5 pm and again after 9pm again. In the morning I have to force myself if I want to eat. For lunch I eat not too much and feel full but in the evening it get’s difficult.

    Could I just do carb dieting after lunch? Or would it be better not to eat a full carb portion for lunch and then maybe not get too hungry in the evening?

    1. Hi Stefan, 

      Well low carb is low carb mate, it should stretch throughout your daily diet really. But, each to their own – see what works for you and go from there! 

  6. This post was so enlightening. It opens up a lot of concerns with people who try to reduce or cut out carbs from their diet. Though I am not too sure if low fat milk is good or bad, whether the body needs some cholesterol, maybe this might be discussed in a further post. My opinion on the topic would be that maybe reducing the amount of carbs might be the way to go, but of course we probably need to do our own personal research on how much is too much and how little is too little. 

    1. Hi David, 

      Yes, certainly do your own research before jumping into something. Also make sure you check with your doctor first – we don’t want you making the wrong health choice! 

  7. That’s a very interesting post. I sometimes wonder why we would be on a loose guard to put on more weight before we become aware of the need to cut down carbohydrates in our diet. I think preventing this situation in the first place will be the best thing to do because I wouldn’t want to starve myself of certain foods because I had a bad eating habit some time ago. Guarding our choice of food for a healthy living is the best thing to do. 

  8. Thank you for sharing with us this wonderful post on Low Carbohydrate Diet risks. Most of the time taking some food can help us to lose weight but our body is like a machine which can balance what we eat and choose what is important to our body and ejects what is not necessary .

    I don’t believe in restriction of food to lose weight because I have seen many people who refused to take some food to avoid increasing weight but they continue to increase it.

    Doing physical exercises and taking water is a good advice I always give to people who need to lose weight.

    1. Yes I tend to go down the cardio route as opposed to dieting Julienne – I like my food too much to cut certain things out! 

  9. Hey there,

    As far as low carb diets go, well it’s definitely not something that I would be particularly interested to implement into my life, I think it would make much more sense to filter out our daily intakes of unhealthy carbs and replace them with healthy ones, rather than just simply cutting the significant amount of carbs consumed per day. I choose the quality over quantity any day. Keep up the good work Chris!

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