Did you know an estimated 45 million Americans diet each year and spend $33 billion annually on weight loss products? Not surprisingly, nearly twice as many Americans say they are actively trying to avoid fat & carbohydrates in their diet (56%). Insert low carb dieting.
Have you tried it? We have.
Initially, we found the concept of low-carb dieting very appealing. The process seemed simple & “doable.” The idea behind low-carb dieting was to cut our carb intake in favor of high-protein, high fat food options so we could lose weight quickly. By cutting the carbs, the body goes into a metabolic state called ketois, and it begins to burn its own fat for fuel.
Normally, your body burns carbohydrates for fuel. With the low-carb dieting, your fat stores become a primary energy source. As a result, you MAY lose weight.
So like most people, we jumped right into it not knowing the intricate details, including the many risk factors associated with adopting a low-carb diet.
Here are 8 hidden risks of low-carb dieting.
High Cholesterol: Some protein sources, like certain cuts of meat, dairy products, and high-fat foods can raise your bad cholesterol and increase your chance of heart disease.
Eating Too Much Protein: Increasing your protein in your diet helps improve satiety, reduce hunger, and preserve lean body mass when losing weight. However, if you eat more protein than your body needs, some of the amino acids in the protein will be turned into glucose. This will reduce the body’s ability to burn fat and may hinder fat loss.
Poor Gut Health: Gut bacteria lives off what you eat. Those who consume more animal protein tend to eat fewer vegetables and fruit. As a result, they consume less fiber. Low-fiber/high protein diets have been found to increase inflammatory gut bacteria which is one of the reasons why eating meat is often linked to greater risk for gastrointestinal disease.
Kidney Stones: When you’re on a high-protein diet, you may urinate more calcium than normal. There are conflicting reports, but some experts think this could make osteoporosis and kidney stones more likely.
Bad Breath: Often called “keto breath” or “acetone breath,” it’s caused by production of acetones in a state of ketosis.
Ketosis: Ketosis is a type of metabolic acidosis. Ketosis can lead to many health problems and can be very serious at it’s extreme.
Imbalance Blood Sugar: Low-carb diets can significantly improve blood sugar tolerance and insulin health in people with insulin resistance and diabetes. However, in the long term, it can cause the metabolic hormones, insulin, and leptin to get out of balance.
Neglecting Other Body Processes: Carbohydrates are what our body uses for energy. We need the RIGHT carbs. Often times we forget that we need energy beyond physical movement. This includes things like our brain working, our immune system fighting off disease and illness, repairing wounds and even things as simple as breathing.
Truth is, while we experienced some initial results, it was not a long-term resolution. Our long term success & sustainability is a result of creating a healthy lifestyle balance. No more. No less. #HealthFocused
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-Eric & Maleka Beal
Eric and Maleka Beal are health coaches and co-founders of BetterChoices, a health & wellness company and social community focused on educating, advocating, and promoting better health and wellness through lifestyle, nutrition, and fitness education.