High-Protein Low-Carb Diets
The high-protein low-carb diet was popular
in the 1970's, before saturated fat and heart disease became closely associated.
Now, high-protein low-carb diets are once again popular due to the faster
initial weight loss they can achieve. However, many dietitians
retain doubts about the long term health effects of these carb-restricted
weight loss plans.
That said, recent (albeit small-scale)
studies suggest that high-protein low-carb diets may be less harmful and
more beneficial than supposed.
A futher long-term study is underway. This
should help to clarify the health and safety issues of high protein diets.
Healthy High-Protein Low-Carb Diet
Some low-carb plans provide insufficient
carbohydrates and permit excessive fat-intake, including saturated fat.
type of low-carb diet provides a reasonable amount of 'healthy'
carbohydrate and a moderate amount of healthy (ie. unsaturated) fat.
Weight Loss or Water Loss?
- Although high-protein low-carb diets
may lead to fast weight loss in the short term, much of this may be
water loss. This is because when the body is starved of carbs it takes
energy from it's glycogen stores. And each gram of glycogen has 4 grams
of water attached. So although weight loss looks good, much of it is
water. As soon as carb intake returns to normal, much of this 'water-weight'
- High-protein low-carb diets tend to
encourage over-consumption of saturated fat and cholesterol, which in
turn leads to increased risk of heart disease and some cancers.
Weight Gain When Diet Stops
According to sceptics, high-protein low-carb
ketogenic diets can bring about changes in a dieter's fat cells causing
these fat cells to accumulate even more fat when the person comes off
They can also cause mood changes like tension
and irritability, which may result in cravings for high carb foods and
High-protein low-carb diet plan
- The diet is based on eating lots of
protein like meat and eggs but almost no carbohydrates like bread, potatoes,
pasta, or rice, at least for a period of time.
- Most versions recommend large quantities
of protein in unrestricted amounts, including red meat, fish, shellfish,
poultry, eggs, and cheese. They forbid (or limit) pasta, bread, potatoes,
fruit, many vegetables, plus any foods with large amounts of refined
What Sceptics Say About High-Protein
- High protein diets tend to cause problems
with mood changes, resulting in cravings for carbohydrate-rich foods
- By contrast, higher carb diets tend
to raise the level of serotonin (the feel good brain hormone) thus improving
mood and appetite. A recent study, reported in Obesity journal,
followed a number of obese women with a long history of yo-yo dieting
who followed either a higher carb diet, or a high protein diet of 1400
calories. The higher carb dieters had fewer cravings and better overall
moods than those on the high protein diet. These also lost significantly
more weight than those on the high protein diet plan.
- High protein diets violate several dietary
and nutritional guidelines of the US Government and the American Heart
Association. In addition, the dietary guidelines laid down by the World
Cancer Research Fund contradict many of the recommendations in many
high protein diets, with the exception of those concerning refined sugar.
- By overloading dieters with protein,
high protein diets can lead to loss of calcium from bones, which may
lead to osteoporosis. They also pressurize the kidneys as they try to
eliminate large amounts of urea, a by-product of protein metabolism.
- Carbohydrate is a nutrient group which
is readily converted to energy. By minimizing carbohydrate consumption,
high protein diets can quickly lead to tiredness and fatigue.
- Carbohydrates are also good for your
brain. A shortage of carbohydrate can cause loss of concentration and
a slow down in reactions.
Although some recent studies suggest that high protein diets may be
less harmful and more beneficial that some of the sceptics experts suggest,
it is not yet possible to form a clear opinion on the long-term health
benefits of high-protein low-carb diets. So if you want to follow a high
protein diet, choose a healthy one.
A Note about Healthy Weight Control
Fad diets, unbalanced diets, diet pills, diet supplements, weight loss
surgery and other short term weight loss methods are not recommended for
permanent weight control. The best way to lose excess fat and maintain
a healthy weight in the long term is to follow a balanced calorie-controlled
diet (that improves your eating habits) and take regular aerobic exercise.
An excellent option is this
Weight Loss Program