A high protein low carb diet can be just the thing to help you cut back on your carbs, and diets like the Atkins have become incredibly popular for those that are serious about losing weight. However, as with all diets, there are pros and cons to this diet, so it’s important that you understand what are the best choices for you if you’re going to be going on a high protein low carb diet. On this page you will find everything you need to know about this amazing diet, including the benefits, drawbacks, and potential risks of this diet.
The high protein low carb diet is a pretty simple one: you eat lots of protein while cutting way back on the carbs that you consume.
Protein is one of the most important nutrients that your body needs, as it provides the building blocks of all of your muscles, keeps your heart and brain working, and basically keeps your body functioning properly. Protein is usually accompanied by a lot of fat, especially in food like meat, dairy products, etc. The high protein part of the diet involves your getting something like 30 to 50 percent of your total caloric intake in the form of protein, and all forms of protein are acceptable with this diet.
Carbs are basically the sugar in your blood, and rest assured that it will be important. However, having blood sugar that is too high can lead to all kinds of problems, so controlling the amount of carbs in your diet is important. Cutting back carbs to incredibly low levels will help to reduce blood sugar levels, and it will be a good way for you to restore a healthy balance to your body.
The combination of these two nutrients for the high protein low carb diet sparks ketosis in your body. Ketosis is when your body starts burning fat for fuel, rather than the sugar that it normally burns. Usually your body will turn to your blood sugar when you need a spike of energy, as sugar is a lot more convenient and easier to burn. However, if you aren’t getting a lot of sugar in your diet – usually in the form of carbs – your body has no choice but to look around for another source of fuel. When it sees all of your fat reserves, it starts burning to provide your body with the energy it needs to function.
This fat ketosis is actually an excellent thing, as it will lead to weight loss if you keep burning fat for long enough. Your body needs a certain amount of energy on a daily basis just to function, as your brain, heart, lungs, and other organs will need energy in order to work. This means that your body has to provide you with energy, and it will have to continue burning fat in order to provide you with that energy. The fact that these diets can often lead to fat burning and weight loss is one of the things that has made it such a popular one!
Another thing that has made diets like this so popular is that you don’t feel as hungry when on a high protein low carb diet. This means that those trying to lose weight or control their blood sugar will have an easier time avoiding the temptation to eat, as they will be on a diet that will stifle their hunger effectively. The less you eat, the less likely you will be to eat something that contains a lot of carbs, and the more likely you will be to see great results from your efforts!
Now, as mentioned above, all diets come with some kind of risks, and the high protein low carb diet is associated with a number of potential problems. It’s important that you understand the risks before getting into the diet, as that way you can be certain that you know what to expect when going on a high protein low carb diet. Here are some of the things that may be potential risks of this diet:
- Cholesterol Problems – When you eat a lot of protein, you are going to be getting a whole lot more fat in your diet. Sure, you’ll be cutting out all the fat and sugar that you were eating with the carbs, but you will be getting more fat from meat, dairy, etc. The more protein you eat, the more likely you are to build up your cholesterol levels – which can be dangerous if you are older or have a history of heart problems. Not only will the triglyceride levels get higher, but your bad LDL cholesterol can get out of control and threaten to cause strokes or heart attacks if you follow the high protein – and ergo, high fat – diet for too long.
- Kidney Failure – Protein is great for your body, but it requires that your kidneys process it in order to break it down properly. If you eat too much protein, you will put a whole lot of wear and tear on your kidneys. When you strain your kidneys, you will increase your risk of developing any number of kidney diseases. It doesn’t matter if you eat low or high fat protein, as all protein has to be dealt with by the kidneys.
- Cancer – This is an interesting potential risk of eating a high protein low carb diet, and it is all thanks to the fact that fruits and vegetables are the best sources of antioxidants. Without the antioxidants getting rid of free radicals in your body, you will give the free radicals free rein to run around and cause all kinds of problems – cancer being one of them. The grains, fruits, and veggies that you need to eat to prevent cancer often tend to be higher in carbs, but cutting them out altogether can lead to this serious problem.
- Kidney Stones and Osteoporosis – When you eat a lot of protein, you actually urinate a lot more than normal thanks to the fact that your kidneys have to produce more urine to get rid of the castoff nutrients from the protein that it is absorbing. There is a lot more calcium in the urine of those following these diets, which means that there is a much higher chance of calcium forming into kidney stones. At the same time, your body is leeching away calcium from your bones, meaning that you have a much greater risk of developing osteoporosis.
- Unhealthy Metabolism – When your body starts to burn a lot of fat but very little sugar, the state of ketosis can cause ketones to form. These ketones can be the cause of gout, as well as organ failure, kidney failure, or even kidney stones. While ketosis can be a good thing in moderation, too much burning fat for energy can actually have a very negative effect on your body. It can make your breath smell terrible, and will reduce your appetite — which can be both good and bad. The secret to avoiding problems with ketosis is to consume at least 100 grams of carbs a day.
As you can see, there are a few potential risks of your high protein low carb diet, which is why it’s essential that you consult a doctor before trying the diet. If you want to be certain that you are going about your high protein low carb diet the right way – the healthy way that won’t cause any of these side effects to be a serious threat – it’s imperative that you check with a doctor to be certain that it is the right thing for your body.
If you are serious about a high protein low carb diet, chances are that you will see good results for your dieting efforts. The diet can be a good way to not only lose weight, but also to help control your blood sugar. However, rest assured that those problems mentioned above can be a serious threat, so it’s important that you counsel with a doctor before trying any kind of diet.
The fact that the diet doesn’t allow you to eat a whole lot of fruits and veggies means that it definitely has the potential for more serious problems to arise, but it may be an effective choice if you are diabetic and need to take drastic action to control your blood sugar levels.
Example Meal Plan
Here is an example of a meal plan for a day in the life of your high protein low carb diet:
For breakfast, you will enjoy a bowl of cooked oatmeal, free of any sugar, butter, or added ingredients – aside from the quarter cup of cranberries that you will add. The total calories will be 302, with only 62 grams of carbohydrates.
You will make yourself a sandwich for lunch, using cracked wheat bread with 4 thin slices of turkey as the filler. You can add 2 cups of spinach to the sandwich or eat them on the side, and you can add ½ a cup of alfalfa sprouts. A fat free, mayonnaise-style dressing is acceptable for the sandwich or spinach. The total calories will be 248, with just 28 grams of carbohydrates.
Dinner will be a fillet of salmon weighing 5 ounces, prepared on the grill or in the oven. It is accompanied by 2 cups of pineapple, 1/8 of a cup of walnuts, and 3 cups of spinach prepared according to your tastes. The total calories will be 449, with just 44 grams of carbs.
Delicious menu, no? It contains a balanced diet of all your favorite foods, and will be a healthy choice if you are trying a high protein low carb diet. Happy eating!