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.
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.
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.