Could Cutting Down on Carbs Put Your Health at Risk?
Wellness enthusiasts and dieters worldwide have a certain level of disdain for carbs, but do carbs really deserve his bad reputation? Many people believe that it’s better for your weight loss, as well as your wellbeing, to eat foods that are low in carbs and high in protein, but sometimes this isn’t always the right solution. Before you clear out your bread bin, you need to understand a little more about the benefits and the side effects of low-carb, high-protein diets.
When you’re eating foods that are low in carbs and high in protein, you aim to get up to 40% of your daily calorie needs from proteins alone. This is the case with weight loss plans such as the Atkins Diet, but even though this eating programme has been a dieting craze for years, the Atkins Diet has come a lot under scrutiny. Those opposed to the diet argue that the main focus of the diet is mainly on the intake of very few carbohydrates, rather that the consumption of plenty of protein. Moreover, while a diet such as this one poses no serious threat to your wellness when consumed over a short period of time, if you follow the Atkins Diet for too long, you could suffer from mild to severe health risks. The severity of the impact on your health will depend on how strictly you follow the low-carb, high-protein diet, as well as how long you plan to continue it.
If you eat a diet that’s low in carbohydrates for even a short period, you could realistically be looking at:
- Constipation, due to a lack of fibre
- Loss of appetite
Unfortunately, the wellness risks don’t end there. If you follow such a diet for a long period of time, you can experience some serious repercussions to your health. These include:
Kidney failure: When your diet contains high levels of protein, you put a lot of strain on your kidneys
High cholesterol: If your diet is high in protein, this probably means you’re consuming a lot of meat, and red meat in particular. Not only does this raise the levels of cholesterol in your body, but is also increases your risk of strokes and heart diseases.
Osteoporosis: When your protein levels are high, your body excretes too much calcium. This can cause you to develop osteoporosis or even kidney stones
Nutrition deficiency: High protein diets cause you to eat far fewer fruits and vegetables than is advised to stay healthy. You need to eat at least five fruits and vegetables a day, otherwise you could experience nutritional deficiencies. This can lower immunity in your body, and even heighten your risk of fatal diseases like cancer.
Ketosis: Initially, Ketosis burns off your body’s fat reserves, meaning that many dieters appreciate a bit of this process. However, by staying the state of ketosis for too long – which high-protein, low-carb diets promote – you expose your body to many dangers. The proper functioning of your organs could fail, especially in your kidneys.
To avoid these side effects, you need to eat a minimum of 100 grams of carbohydrates every day. Your body requires a steady source of carbohydrate every day in order for your organs to function in a healthy way. Carbs are necessary as they metabolise fats, you just have to make sure you eat the right ones. Stick to unrefined, complex carbs with a low glycaemic index and high content of fibre. Good examples include fruits, vegetables, oats and whole grain breads, which should be eaten in moderation.