Low carb (carbohydrate), high protein
diets are the latest dieting craze.
However, before you jump on the band wagon,
you may want to consider a few things:
1. Low carb
(ketogenic) diets deplete the healthy glycogen
(the storage form of glucose) stores
in your muscles and liver. When
you deplete glycogen stores, you also dehydrate,
often causing the scale to drop significantly
in the first week or two of
the diet. This is usually interpreted as fat loss
when itís actually mostly from
dehydration and muscle loss. By the way,
this is one of the reasons that low carb diets are
so popular at the moment - there
is a quick initial, but deceptive drop
in scale weight.
(formation of glycogen) occurs in the liver and
muscles when adequate quantities of
carbohydrates are consumed -
very little of this happens on a low carb diet.
Glycogenolysis (breakdown of glycogen)
occurs when glycogen is broken
down to form glucose for use as fuel.
of muscle glycogen causes you to fatigue easily,
and makes exercise and movement uncomfortable.
Research indicates that muscle
fatigue increases in almost direct proportion
to the rate of depletion of muscle glycogen. Bottom
line is that you don't feel energetic
and you exercise and move less
(often without realizing it) which is not good for
caloric expenditure and basal
metabolic rate (metabolism).
3. Loss of
muscle causes a decrease in your basal metabolic
rate (metabolism). Metabolism happens
in the muscle. Less muscle and
muscle tone means a slower metabolism which
means fewer calories burned 24 hours-a-day.
4. Your muscles
and skin lack tone and are saggy. Saggy muscles
don't look good, cause saggy skin, and cause you to
lose a healthy, vibrant look (even
if youíve also lost fat).
5. Some proponents
of low carb diets recommend avoiding carbohydrates
such as bread, pasta, potatoes, carrots, etc.
because of they are high on the glycemic
index - causing a sharp rise
in insulin. Certain carbohydrates have always
been, and will always be the bad guys:
candy, cookies, baked goods
with added sugar, sugared drinks, processed / refined
white breads, pastas, and rice, and
any foods with added sugar.
not good for health or weight loss. However,
carbohydrates such as fruits, vegetables, legumes,
whole grain breads and pastas, and
brown rice are good for health
and weight loss. Just like with proteins and fats,
these carbohydrates should be
eaten in moderation. Large volumes of
any proteins, fats or carbohydrates are not conducive
to weight loss and health.
of high glycemic foods is often exaggerated. It's
does matter, but to a smaller
degree than is often portrayed. Also, the
total glycemic effect of foods is influenced by the
quantity of that food that you
eat at a sitting. Smaller meals have a lower
overall glycemic effect. Also, we usually
eat several types of food at
the same time, thereby reducing the average glycemic
index of the meal, if higher glycemic
foods are eaten.
6. Much of
the weight loss on a low carb, high protein diet,
especially in the first few weeks,
is actually because of dehydration
and muscle loss.
7. As someone
recently told me, "it must work - people
are losing weight". People that
are truly losing fat on low
carb, high protein diets, are doing so because they
are eating fewer calories - that's
the bottom line. There is no
magic - the same can be done on a healthy diet.
8. Low carb
diets are lacking in fiber. Every plant-based
food has some fiber. All animal products
have no fiber. A lack of fiber
increases your risk for cancers of the digestive
track (because transit time is lengthened)
and cardiovascular disease (because
of fibers effect on fat and cholesterol). It
also puts you at a higher risk for
constipation and other bowel disorders.
9. Low carb
diets lack sufficient quantities of the the many
nutrients / phytonutrients / antioxidants
found in fruits, vegetables,
legumes, and whole grains, necessary for health
and aiding in prevention of cancer
and heart disease. In fact, you
need these nutrients even more so when you're consuming
too much fat as is often the case on
a low carb high protein diet.
10. Low carb,
high protein diets cause an unhealthy physiological
state called ketosis, a type of metabolic acidosis.
You may have heard the phrase, "fat
burns in the flame of carbohydrate".
Excess acetyl CoA cannot enter the Krebs Cycle
(you remember the old Krebs Cycle) due to insufficient
OAA. In other words, for fat to burn
efficiently and without production
of excess toxic ketones, sufficient carbohydrate
must be available. Ketosis can lead
to many health problems and
can be very serious at itís extreme.