Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Low Carb Diet and its effects

Carbohydrates constitute the major portion of our diet and the major source of fuel for our body. A low carbohydrate diet restricts the consumption of carbohydrates. Though this is usually followed as a diet for obesity and might present short term weight loss, it is not recommended. As it may lead to serious health issues if followed on a long term basis. By being on a low carb diet our body is being deprived of many vital nutrients and minerals.

There are also other reasons why low carbohydrate diets are not advised. When a person consumes a usual diet the glucose required for the body is obtained from carbohydrates being converted. However when there is a restriction in the amount of carbohydrates consumed the body starts to convert protein and fats for glucose and this may result in muscle loss. Since this diet restricts the usage of carbohydrates, sources of calories recommended in this diet comes from proteins and fats. Most often the fats consumed will be high saturated fats and cholesterol, which over a period of time may lead to heart disease and other cardiovascular problems. It also restricts the body of important nutrients and minerals.

According to a study by Dr. Frank Hu in the "Annals of Internal Medicine," people who followed a low-carb vegetable-based plan resulted in reduced rates of death from cardiovascular disease and cancer, and a lower rate of all-cause death overall. Whereas people who had a low carb diet high in animal products had a 23 percent greater risk of death, 14 percent higher risk of heart disease and 28 percent higher risk of cancer. Since low carb diets includes more animal based proteins and fats, there is also a higher risk for the type 2 diabetes and coronary heart disease.

So if at all you are on a low carb diet try to get your fats mostly from vegetable oils, nuts and peanut butter. Proteins from legumes, nuts, soy, tofu and whole grains instead of bacon and sausage.  Being on a low carb diet also leads to a situation known as Ketosis. Ketosis is when the body starts to burn fat instead of burning carbs. If not properly monitored this may lead to strain on kidneys and thereby increasing the risk of developing kidney stones as more calcium is excreted through urine. A low carb and a high protein diet is not recommended. 

Therefore if you are going for a low carb diet see to that you do not avoid carbs completely as you need some in your body to metabolize fat. Choose carbohydrate-rich foods that are unrefined or unprocessed, including whole grains and fruit, rather than the more refined and energy-dense forms such as cakes, sweets and soft drinks. Have a variety of vegetables daily. Select protein rich foods that are low in saturated fat and also plant based proteins should be included. Examples for them are fish, lean chicken, nuts, legumes etc.

1 comment:

  1. Hi, I'm Sophia from Greece, I saw your blog and it's very interesting.
    I have a blog with healthy recipes if you are interested in is the
    will be glad to exchange recipes and views on nutrition.