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Dangers Of Low Carb Diet

The Problem With Not Eating Carbs

Mayo Clinic Minute: Low-carb diet findings and cautions

As a weight loss strategy, cutting carbs clearly works pretty well for some people. If it didnt, then Atkins would have never been popular in the first place.

Heres the thing, though: Carb reduction costs us.

You see, most of us require some level of carbohydrates to function at our best over the long term.

Sure, we can cut carbs temporarily if we need to lose weight quickly. But for most of us, keeping carbs too low for too long can have disastrous consequences.

This is especially true for those of us who work out.

If youre sedentary, your carb needs are lower. So you might be able to get away with more restriction.

But if you like to exercise regularly and enthusiastically, restricting your carb intake too drastically can lead to:

  • impaired mood and cognitive function
  • muscle catabolism
  • suppressed immune function.

In other words: Your metabolism might slow, your stress hormones go up and your muscle-building hormones go down.

You feel lousy, spaced-out, sluggish, cranky and maybe even sick.

Most vexing of all: You probably dont even lose that much weight in the long term.

If youre interested in the details and some research, read on. If you just want to know what to do, skip to the end.

What About The Other Diets

The popular low-carb diets modify a true keto diet. But they come with the same risks if you overdo it on fats and proteins and lay off the carbs. So why do people follow the diets? “They’re everywhere, and people hear anecdotally that they work,” McManus says. Theories about short-term low-carb diet success include lower appetite because fat burns slower than carbs. “But again, we don’t know about the long term,” she says. “And eating a restrictive diet, no matter what the plan, is difficult to sustain. Once you resume a normal diet, the weight will likely return.”

What Are Some Signs That You May Be On A Low

If youre feeling particularly exhausted after eating, for example, you may be on a low-carb diet. low-carb diet is a type of diet that is typically lower in carbohydrates than the average American Diet. The idea behind a low-carbohydrate diet is to help keep your blood sugar down so you can function at your best and not feel as exhausted after eating.

This way, youll be able to stay focused on tasks at hand and not have any problems with waste or bloated feeling. You may also experience headaches or brain fog if youre not getting enough sleep. And if your triglycerides are high, that might be a sign that youre on a low-carb diet.

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Is The Keto Diet Healthy

Wellness Dietitian Mary Condon, RN, LDN, said the keto diet may result in weight loss and lower blood sugars, but its a quick fix. More often than not, its not sustainable. Oftentimes weight gain may come back, and youll gain more than what you lost, Condon said.

Condon said you should always consult your primary care doctor before starting any new diet.

The Most Common Side Effects


The most common side effects that are experienced when restricting carbohydrates are:

It is important, however, to consider how common these symptoms actually are. In studies that put obese patients on a ketogenic diet for 6 months or longer , no side effects or complications were reported.

People on the opposite end of the activity spectrum like marathoners, Ironman competitors, and cyclists have been on a ketogenic diet for up to 3 years without any reported side effects.

In fact, the ketogenic diet helped them burn more fat for fuel than athletes who were on a high-carbohydrate diet.

Even ketogenic diets used to treat epilepsy in children rarely lead to serious complications. The research on children does suggest, however, that they should take magnesium, zinc, vitamin D, and B vitamins as a prophylactic. Researchers also suggest that children should take trace minerals after two years of the ketogenic diet.

Although major side effects are rare on low-carbohydrate diets even after three years of sticking to the diet we must understand what this kind of diet does to the body. With this knowledge, we can prevent or relieve almost all potential side effects and feel better on a low-carbohydrate diet than we did while eating more carbohydrates.

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A Few People Do Best With Low Carbs

  • In fact, ketogenic diets are actually prescribed for people with epilepsy, as they seem to reduce their symptoms and cut down on seizure frequency. There is also preliminary evidence that ketogenic diets benefit other neurological disorders, such as Parkinsons disease and Alzheimers disease.
  • Very sedentary people, as well as people who are extremely metabolically dysregulated , may benefit from a lower-carb diet for a while as part of an overall transition towards more activity and healthier metabolism.

Glycogen Ketones And Water Loss

Humans can handle food shortages with some assistance from liver and muscle glycogen the storage form of sugar in the body. Once we start a low-carbohydrate diet, our body tends to rely on glycogen for energy.

For each gram of glycogen used as energy, twice this mass is lost in the water. This is because glycogen retain and attract water.

Once the body enters ketosis, the body is finally able to spare glycogen, but the water loss does not stop. The ketones that are created by the process of fat burning will also lead to more water excretion.

When you are on a low-carbohydrate diet, you will have lower insulin and glycogen levels and higher ketone levels.

This will cause your body to retain much less water and fewer minerals than it did before. This is why it is imperative to maintain adequate fluid and mineral intake, especially in the beginning of a low-carbohydrate diet.

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Low Carbs Are Not Better For Fat Loss

The logic seems so clear and appealing: High carbs lead to insulin which leads to fat storage. Low carbs keep insulin low, which should get you effortlessly lean while you enjoy chicken wings, salmon, eggs, and butter.

Indeed, many people who try low-carb dieting are initially pleased by an immediate weight loss which is mostly water and glycogen. So, in the short term, it seems like low-carb diets are superior.

But does long-term evidence support low-carb dieting?

Research says no. Over the long haul, any differences between low-carb and other diets even out.

What Are The Side Effects Of A Low

Low Carb diets and ketosis is it dangerous like diabetic ketoacidosis?

A low-carb diet can look different for everyone. For instance, many people consume more carbohydrates than their bodies need, and reducing carbohydrates can bring them back into an ideal moderate carbohydrate intake. However, some individuals prefer to minimize carbohydrates further to control their blood sugar or lose weight.

While cutting carbs is not necessary to lose weight, some people prefer to limit the number of carbs they eat because it helps them feel better overall. The best diet for you is one that you can sustain for the long term or that enables you to become healthier. Before beginning a low carbohydrate diet, it is essential to discuss the options with a health care professional.

In general, a low carbohydrate diet restricts carbohydrate intake to 130 grams or fewer each day.Very low-carb diets may restrict carbs to 5 to 10% of total calories.

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The Hidden Dangers Of A Low Carbohydrate Diet

If you’re a frequent visitor to this website, or listener to the BenGreenfieldFitness podcast, you’ve probably gotten the idea that I’m a pretty big fan of limiting your carbohydrate intake.

And you’d be right.

Or go read about how physically active individuals may be able to actually benefit from strategic low carbohydrate intake in my article 4 Reasons To Think Twice About Eating Carbohydrates Before A Workout or you can read5 Ways to Get A Big Carbohydrate Restricting Performance Advantage.

In a nutshell, pun intended, as you begin to increase carbohydrate consumption above the levels that you need for survival or periods of intense physical activity, you lose your ability to rely on fat burning mechanisms, and you experience the damaging effects of chronically elevated blood sugars, including neuropathy , nephropathy , retinnopathy , increased cardiovascular disease risk, potential for cancer progression and bacterial or fungal infection.

Unfortunately, whether due to a misinterpretation of what low carbohydrate dieting actually is or an all-or-nothing approach to restricting carbohydrates or perhaps the influence of low-carbohydrate-done-wrong diets like Atkins, many people try or attempt to try a low carbohydrate diet and end up messing the whole thing up, experiencing the hidden dangers of a low carbohydrate diet and hurting their bodies.

So what are the hidden dangers of a low carbohydrate diet?

Here are the low carbohydrate risks, in ten steps:


Other Dangers Of Keto

One other danger of the ketogenic diet comes to mind. And thats the deluge of unnatural foods that have become popular on Keto blogs and called for in Keto recipes. Mozzarella cheese: Im talking to you. Were talking about how animals are raised. If we drink the milk of animals housed in feed lots who are fed on grains and antibiotics, that milk, long term and short term, is inflammatory and disease causing . Conversely, grass-fed animals meat and fat are more nutritious . Many Keto recipes call for cheap cream cheese, cheap mozzarella cheese, cheap heavy cream, cheap eggs and lots of almond flour . What matters isnt just high fat. Its the quality of fat.

If were going to eat a lot of bacon and beef and butter, it needs to be well-sourced . We need to budget for pasture-raised meat and eggs, pasture-raised, A2 dairy, and we need to try low-carb nuts beyond almonds, like pecans, hazelnuts, Brazil nuts and macadamia nuts .

Otherwise, if used over time, the Keto diet sabotages wellness goals by creating a new set of health problems. And the Keto diet, when tapping into feedlot ingredients, plus California-grown almonds, has to be one of the least sustainable diets on the planet.

Risk #9 Disease from low quality food. Solution Budget for better quality meats, fats, dairy, eggs and produce.

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Cortisol Up Testosterone Down

Research consistently shows that people who exercise regularly need to eat enough carbs or their testosterone will fall while their cortisol levels rise. This is a sure-fire recipe for losing muscle and gaining fat.

Incidentally, its also a marker for excessive training stress.

In a study in Life Sciences, men who ate a high carbohydrate versus a low carbohydrate diet for 10 days had higher levels of testosterone and sex hormone binding globulin, and lower levels of cortisol.

A few years later, another study took this research a step further. This time the subjects included men and women who exercised regularly. And in addition to considering the effect of their diet on hormones, researchers put them through some performance tests.

Once again, when the subjects ate a low carb diet, their testosterone went down, while their cortisol went up.

And, after following a low carb diet for just three days, only two of the six participants were able to complete the cycling test! Meanwhile, when following the higher carb diet for three days, all six participants were able to complete the test.

In 2010, researchers reconsidered the same question this time in relation to intense exercise. In this particular study, subjects eating the low carb diet saw a drop of 43% in their testosterone to cortisol ratio. Not good. Meanwhile, the control group saw no change in their testosterone/ cortisol ratios.


The Benefits And Risks Of A Low Carb Diet

Can You Eat Pineapple On Low Carb Diet

It’s easy to find a diet plan. The hard bit comes as we try to weigh up the pros and cons of a particular diet.

It’s a good idea to ask yourself the following questions while you’re looking around:

  • Which one will best help you reach our weight loss goals?
  • What method will be easiest to fit into your lifestyle?
  • Which type of diet could you manage to stick to?
  • What about the health implications?
  • Will it help you to change your eating habits for the long term?

Here we boil down the main pros and cons of low carb dieting.

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Ancestral Nutrition And Our Modern World

Ancestral nutrition says that our ethnic heritage plays a significant role in the foods that help us thrive. There are remote people groups who subsist largely off of starches and thrive, free of heart disease, obesity or premature death. There are also distinct people groups who live mostly off of fat. And we see people groups who decline in health when, in recent history, they change their diets to include more simple carbs

Ultimately no people group is going to benefit from processed vegetable fats or refined sugar. But it can be helpful to look back a century or more to where our ethnic heritage leads. If we are not a mix of several races, we may do best eating foods from our ancestral origins: more fats or more meat or more carbs.

Humans have more amylase, a digestive enzyme, than other creatures. This means were designed to be able to digest starches and digest them well. However, in our modern world, because many of our bodies have been thrown off balance, this innate ability may be offset by the fact that blood sugar regulation is more challenged today than it was by our ancestors. If someone is predisposed to insulin resistance, starchy foods arent going to benefit their bodies but fat is.

In this case, ancestral nutrition is overthrown by the imbalances created by a modern world.

Dangers Of Low Carbohydrate Diets For Women

In the paleosphere, it is very common to hear low carbohydrate diets recommend for all sorts of reasons: weight loss, insulin management, stable blood sugar, gut health, and mental health.

Yet after several years doing research and working with women in the scene, I have discovered that there are in fact many potential risks of being on a low carbohydrate diet.

Of course, not all women suffer from these dangers and risks. I know that. Thats obvious. Plenty of women do well on low carbohydrate diets.

Yet plenty do not, too. As the paleo worlds go-to resource on womens health, then, it is my duty to broadcast warnings about low carbohydrate diets.

I am not saying you need to stop being low carb. Really. There are just some potential problems you should be aware of, so you can prevent them, or at the very least keep your eye open for them.

Here are the 7 most major dangers of low carbohydrate diets for women:

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What Is A Low

Low-carb diets significantly restrict the portion of carbohydrates in a persons daily food diet for health and weight loss purposes.

There are three types of macronutrient in the food we eat every day: fat, carbohydrates, and protein. Each one performs an essential role in our body. And humans have long known that tweaking the ratio of macronutrients, as well as the quantity and frequency of meals, can induce changes in the body.

For example, a low-carb, high-fat diet is able to control seizures caused by refractory epilepsy that doesnt respond to treatment with drugs. A plant-based diet can lower blood cholesterol, while a high-protein diet can help build muscle mass in athletes.

But that is not to say that low-carb diets do not have positive outcomes for health. Indeed, there is plenty of science indicating a range of short-term benefits in treating and managing chronic, preventable diseases of the modern world, like diabetes type II, obesity, and cardiovascular disease.

Thats because reducing the amount of carbs can help stabilise blood sugar and lipid levels while improving hypertension and reducing excess fat build-up around the liver.

But such applications must be overseen by a doctor and have a medical purpose. However, even medical practitioners agree that the long-term outcomes have yet to be determined.

The Takeaway For Women

HIDDEN CARBS! – Low Carb Diet Tips – Keto Diet Dangers – Highfalutin’ Vlog #2

Sometimes a ketogenic diet can lead to menstrual cycle irregularities. If you are experiencing this, its better to increase carbohydrate consumption until you are experiencing normal cycles. A pregnant woman and her child may benefit from a slightly higher carbohydrate intake. A minimum carbohydrate consumption of 175 grams per day is suggested for healthy child development during pregnancy.

P.S. Have a look at the Keto Academy, our foolproof 30-day keto meal planner. It has all the tools, information, and recipes needed for you to succeed.

+ The food will always fit to your macros and cooking preferences!

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Ketogenic Diets And Chronic Disease: Weighing The Benefits Against The Risks

  • 1Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, Washington, DC, United States
  • 2Brenda Davis Nutrition Consulting, Kelowna, BC, Canada
  • 3Department of Medicine, New York University Grossman School of Medicine, New York, NY, United States
  • 4Department of Medicine, New York City Health + Hospitals/Bellevue, New York, NY, United States
  • 5College of Liberal and Professional Studies, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, United States
  • 6School of Public Health, Loma Linda University, Loma Linda, CA, United States
  • 7Adjunct Faculty, Department of Medicine, George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Washington, DC, United States

No Magic Weight Loss Potion

There are many unhealthy misconceptions about weight loss. There are no magical foods or ways to combine foods that melt away excess body fat. To reduce your weight, make small, achievable changes to your lifestyle.

If youre overweight, the best way to lose and maintain your weight in the long term is to change the way you eat and increase your level of physical activity.

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