The Low Carbohydrate and High Protein Diets
Jun 15, 2007 by Peter Jameson
Right now low carbohydrate diets and high protein diets are all the rage but it's by no means clear that they are the best thing for either your health or for losing weight.
The American Heart Association (AHA) doesn't recommend high protein diets for weight loss and in fact says "some of these diets restrict healthy foods that provide essential nutrients and do not provide the variety of foods needed to adequately meet nutritional needs. People who stay on these diets may not get enough vitamins and minerals and may face other potential health risks".
A great number of people are currently using diets such as the 'Atkins Diet', 'Protein Power' or 'Sugar Busters' which are very high in protein and have their emphasis on meats, eggs and cheeses. However, part of the bad news is that all of them are extremely high in saturated fat.
According to "The American Heart Association" the typical short term success of these diets is due to the elimination of carbohydrates which causes a loss of body fluids. Additionally, in diets that are also high in protein, substances called ketones are formed and released into the blood stream which causes a condition known a ketosis.
The A.H.A. warns, "It (ketosis) may make dieting easier because it reduces appetite and may cause nausea" but sooner or later ketosis is generally thought to increase the risk of osteoporosis and kidney disease.
In addition, the 'Physician's Committee for Responsible Medicine' cautions, "Diets high in fat, especially saturated fat are associated with increased risk of kidney problems, osteoporosis and some types of cancer".
There are many alternative diets which focus on restricting carbohydrates without the high protein emphasis and they rely on increased cereals, grains, fruits, vegetables and low fat dairy products intake but this strategy unfortunately removes or limits many of the foods that are most likely to provide a wide variety of essential nutrients.
So What Should You Do?
The bottom line is this, if you take in more calories than you burn each day then your will store the extra calories as fat regards of how many carbohydrates you consume of don't consume.
Although fats are packed with calories (9 calories per gram of fat, compared to 4 calories in a gram of carbohydrate or protein) you need to consume both fats and protein in moderation because they both have a place in a healthy diet.
Once you've decided that you need to lose weight, consider lifestyle changes that will include healthy and varied foods over a sustainable period of time and plan for at least some exercise everyday.
If you are presently on a low carbohydrate, high protein diet, please consider that both their safety and effectiveness are in question.
Find out approximately how many calories you should be consuming based on your sex, age and body type and try not to consume more than that amount for a couple of weeks and see what happens to your weight. If it goes up then reduce the number of calories and if it seems to be going down to fast then perhaps indulge yourself a little.
Only start a diet that you will be able to stick with for perhaps your whole life and make sure that you at least get some exercise every day.