Do they work? Yes — you do lose weight initially on a High Protein/Low Carb diet but 90% of your initial weight loss is water. And that’s where the problems begin.
What happens after your body has shed its water weight? It starts to burn the leftover fat and then because it lacks carbohydrates to burn for energy, it starts to burn protein – your muscles. These diets induce a metabolic condition known as ketosis which is really an unhealthy condition found in people who suffer from kidney disease and diabetes. It is not usually found in healthy people. Burning protein is not healthy because protein is nature’s building material and is vital for repairing and rebuilding your body’s cells, tissues and organs. Advocates of the Low Carb/High Protein/Fat diets play down ketosis and claim it’s proof your body’s burning fat. That’s true in part. Ketosis does burn fat but will also, eventually, burn your body’s muscle tissue.
If you’ve ever been on one of these diets, you’ve noticed that your urine gets yellow. This is due to ketones which is a by-product of ketosis. This is evidence that your body is burning and breaking up muscle tissue which is protein. That’s dangerous because if too much of your body’s protein is broken down you could suffer irreparable liver and kidney damage. Further symptoms of muscle breakdown are evident in general weakness, fatigue and lack of energy.
Another thing to consider about Low Carb/High Protein diets is that during the process of ketosis your body also breaks down fatty acids and converts them to ketones and acetones which are used for fuel. A side effect of this is that your body loses vital minerals like potassium and sodium. This reduces your thyroid hormone level which in turn slows down your metabolism and subsequently your rate of weight loss. Furthermore, ketosis could boost your blood cholesterol levels which is definitely not a safe situation.
Once you stop the regimen the weight piles right back on and then some.
There’s a simple way to avoid this. Do not restrict your diet to any one food group or category.
Rather than blindly cutting Carbohydrates and increasing protein and fat intake, you should opt for a healthy ratio of 30% protein, 15% fat, and 55% Complex Carbohydrates. This ratio will help you to lose weight steadily and safely. The key is to reduce fat and SIMPLE carbohydrates, not Carbohydrates in general.
Another downside of Low Carb/High Fat diets is that studies show that the less carbs you consume the more likely you are to consume more fat. And this excess fat is stored up in your body’s fat cells where they’ll linger indefinitely, clogging up your arteries with unhealthy cholesterol. Thus the more fat you eat the more your body will retain no matter how little carbs you eat, even if you eat no carbs at all.
Now here’s the secret about eating complex carbs. Because complex carbs have a low glycemic index your body has to use 250% more energy to convert these carbs into fuel than it does to convert fat into fuel. Your body works harder to metabolize and burn calories from complex carbs than it does High Protein/Low Carb. The result? Safe, systematic weight reduction – the best way to avoid health problems and sagging skin caused by too rapid weight loss.