Dangers of Low Carb Diet
High-protein, low-carb diets advocate consuming more protein-rich foods such as eggs, meat, fish and cheese and less carbohydrate-rich foods like bread, potatoes and pasta. The reasoning behind these diets is that too many carbohydrates cause the body to overproduce insulin, leading to weigh gain. Insulin transports sugar from the bloodstream and stores it in muscle and liver cells as backup energy. When these stores get full, insulin stores sugar as fat.
Another theory is that eating carbohydrates throughout the day causes a constant release of insulin, making cells less receptive to the effects of it, leading to insulin resistance. This means that glucose cannot be transported to muscle and liver cells, causing it to be stored as fat.
Flaws in Low Carb Diet Theory
The problem with these theories is that insulin only turns carbohydrates into fat if you consume more calories than your body needs. Also, obesity causes insulin resistance, not carbohydrates.
Following this type of diet means that your body will also be lacking fibre and antioxidants. A diet too high in protein can also adversely affect your bone strength and place strain on your kidneys.
Low Carb Diet & Ketosis
Ketosis is another possible side-effect of following this diet. If your carbohydrate intake is so low that the glucose needs of your brain are not met, your body will burn fat incompletely to produce a substance called ketone, which is a substitute brain fuel. This may cause light-headedness, nausea and bad breath.
Balanced Diet is Best for Weight Loss
So why do people who swear by these diets look so good? Probably because they consume fewer calories than people who follow other diets. Protein curbs hunger better than carbohydrates or fat. It is obvious, though, that this is not a long-term solution. Nutritionists still recommend that 50 per cent of your diet should come from carbohydrates. Cut out pastries and sugary foods, but include vegetables, seeds, nuts, oats, pulses and wholewheat bread, rice and cereal in your diet. These have a low glycaemic index (GI), meaning that they are slow-releasing carbohydrates. Also opt for monounsaturated fats like olive oil.