High-protein weight loss programs like the Dukan, Atkins, and South Beach Diets are growing in popularity. They challenge traditional medical guidelines, which suggest that overweight individuals should consume small portions of only low-fat foods in order to lose weight. Instead, diets such as the Atkins suggest that eating an unlimited quantity of high-protein, low-carb foods can leave people feeling fuller for longer and achieve superior results.
While a high-protein nutritional balance is proven to be effective for weight loss, many nutritionists, dieticians, and doctors worry that it could have a harmful impact on health. So what are the possible risks?
Ketosis is an unhealthy metabolic state that your body enters when you eat less than 100g of carbohydrate per day. During ketosis your body is forced to bum fat from meat to obtain energy, as a replacement for the glucose it would usually get from carbohydrates. Appetite suppressing substances called ketones are formed as a result. Though the substances help you to deal with the hunger caused by low calorie consumption, they have potentially serious side effect including nausea, bad breath, gout, and even organ failure.
Eating too much protein rich food can put your kidneys under extra strain. Though high-protein diets have little effect on healthy individuals, they have been shown to worsen the condition of those with an existing kidney problem. Unfortunately, some people unknowingly put themselves at risk because many kidney diseases do not cause noticeable symptoms until their later stages.
Osteoporosis and Kidney Stones
Studies have shown that high-protein diets make your body excrete a higher than usual concentration of calcium in urine. If you continue the diets long term, the process can result in a calcium deficiency, which leads to osteoporosis and kidney stones.
The majority of high-protein diets recommend eating foods like red meat, dairy products, and eggs, which also have a significant saturated fat content. The increased
Cholesterol in these foods put you at a greater risk of developing a number of life-threatening health problems, including heart disease and stroke.
High-protein weight loss plans are unlikely to cause any harm to your body over a short period, and for overweight and obese individuals a healthy reduction in body weight is very beneficial. However, continuing these diets on a calong-term basis or doing them repeatedly can be detrimental to health, especially for anyone with kidney problems or high cholesterol to start with. If you are considering undergoing a drastic slimming program, it is advisable to visit a medical professional before you begin.
WebMD (2014). Atkins Diet Plan Review: Foods, Benefits, and Risks. Retrieved April 1, 2014, from http://www.webmd.com/diet/atkins-diet-what-it-is
WebMD (2014). Dukan Diet Review: Phases, Menu, & More. Retrieved April 1, 2014, from http://www.webmd.com/diet/dukan-diet
WebMD (2014). South Beach Diet Review: Foods, Products, and More. Retrieved April 1, 2014, from http://www.webmd.com/diet/south-beach-diet-what-it-is
WebMD (2014). Low-Carb, High-Protein Diets: Risks (Ketosis) and Benefits. Retrieved April 1, 2014, from http://www.webmd.com/diet/high-protein-low-carbohydrate-diets
Quick Weight Loss and Your Health by UrbanSculpt Principal Health Education Practitioner Brenda Rivera-Billings M.Sc. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
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