Low Carbohydrate, High Protein Eating: A Very Risky Business?

low carb high protein dietPeople who want to lose weight and gain muscles are usually familiar with low carbohydrate and high protein diet. High-protein, low-carbohydrate diets have been widely promoted in recent years as an effective approach to losing weight. These diets generally recommend dieters receive 30% to 50% of their total calories from protein.

Indeed a diet which is low in carbohydrates and high in protein can help in resolving obesity problems. On the other hand, you may not know that strictly observing them can be risky to your health. What could be the reasons?

 The Risks of Low Carbohydrate Eating

This nutritional approach made the Atkins diet so popular among dieters. Drastic restriction of carbohydrates in your diet can result in developing ketosis
When carbohydrates are substantially reduced to a  fraction of that found in the typical diet, the body goes into a different metabolic state called ketosis and it burns its own fat. A person in ketosis is receiving energy from ketones – carbon fragments created by the breakdown of fat stores. When the body is in ketosis, a person tends to feel less hungry, and thus more likely to eat less and lose weight.

Normally, the main source of fuel to the brain, heart and other organs are carbohydrates. They are burnt by the body to produce the fuel needed by these organs but when there’s lack of it, your body will burn its own fat. This will make you feel less hungry. It may be advantageous to people who want to lose weight; however, that may cause serious health problems including kidney failure.

The Risks of High Protein 

Having too much of protein makes you prone to osteoporosis. In fact, the Journal of Gerontology found that menopausal women who observe protein rich diets tend to lose bone density quicker than those who go more for moderate protein diets.

What are the possible reasons that make too much protein intake risky to your bones? Studies show that meat is rich in sulfur-rich amino acids. This content brings about the production of acid that can cause the bones to become weak. This can even worsen during the menopausal stage because the condition itself can reduce the bone protecting estrogen in them. Due to this risk, it is advised that people take in only the sufficient amount of protein needed by the body. It is also better to get this nutrient from plant based sources other than meat. These sources include beans, whole grains, nuts and lentils.

The popularity of high protein diet to lose weight and to build muscles has widely spread all throughout the world. But only a few may know that it is also risky. Aside from bone problems, your heart may also be affected. That is because the consumption of meat is  often high in cholesterol. Other than that, you will also be prone to kidney and liver disorders.

The best thing that you can do is try to shift your dietary approach gradually. Add more vegetable to your diet, while minimizing your red meat intake. You can also get guides from a nutritionist on what other sources of protein you can go for aside from meat.

Barbara Komorek

Barbara is the founder and owner of www.leanhealthyandwise.com. She is a former research scientist with a serious passion for health. She enjoys writing about nutrition, wellness and lifestyle and empowering people to take control of their health.