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Is a High Protein Low Carb Diet Right for You?
When it comes to dieting and losing weight, men and women have countless diet options, which can make choosing the right weight loss plan for you quite confusing and expensive, especially if you have to purchase a program and eat special portion controlled foods. You have the Atkins Diet, Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers, Nutrisystem, Dash Diet and more. With most diets, the problem is staying motivated when it gets tough so you don’t give up on yet another diet, and not only put back on any weight you lost, but worse you put more weight on. When asked what is the best diet, most doctors and nutritionists will say “the one that works.”
One of the best types of diet that is good for people who are considered significantly overweight or obese and need to lose 50 pounds or more, is a low carb high protein diet. This has been one of the most poplar types of diets for over 20 years, due to eating a diet high in protein and low in carbohydrates promotes rapid weight loss, which is critical for significantly overweight people to jump start their weight loss. Once you lose the weight, the key is keeping it off. This is where you want to find a high protein diet with support system to keep you focused when it gets tough.
Along with benefits of a low carb high protein diet, there are risks as well. In this article, you will learn both the benefits and risks of a low carb high protein diet, so you can make the decision if this is the weight loss program for you.
Note: Before beginning any diet or exercise program, see your doctor and make sure you are healthy enough to use a high protein low cab diet.
What is a Low Carb High Protein Diet?
A low carb high protein diet differs from other types of diets that focus weight loss primarily on portion control or reducing consumption of sugar, sodium, red meat and fats, but do not focus on adjusting protein or carbohydrate consumption. With a high protein diet low carb diet, the dieter increases consumption of proteins to 40% to 50% of total foods consumed, and decreases carbohydrate consumption to 10% or 20% of total foods consumed.
How Does a Low Carb High Protein Diet Work?
This type of high protein diet promotes rapid weight loss by increasing consumption of protein and restricting intake of carbohydrates, fat and refined sugar, but is designed for short-term use to reach the dieter’s weight goal; it’s length is generally measured in days or months, unlike many other types of diets that the person can be on long-term. Increasing protein stimulates the metabolic rate, so food is turned into energy more efficiently and not allowed to be stored as fat. The body actually burns the fat for energy with the absence of carbohydrates. This is important to jump start a weight loss program, especially for people who are overweight or obese.
After completing the 100% protein phase of the diet, which can take days or weeks depending on the amount of weight to be lost, the dieter still remains on a 100% protein diet, but is allowed to introduce fruits, vegetables and other healthy carbohydrates to offer a balanced eating program, yet still eliminates consumption of refined or processed sugars, unhealthy fats and cholesterol as a basis to maintain a healthy weight.
A low carb high protein diet is not for everyone, and is recommended for people who are obese or need to lose 50 pounds or more, as the rapid weight loss at the beginning of a high protein low carb diet is critical to jump start a weight loss program and keep the dieter motivated to continue losing weight. The dieter should not stay on a high protein or protein only diet for an extended period of time, to prevent health risks.
Health benefits and risks of a high protein low carb diet are discussed in separate sections.
Low Carb High Protein Diet Benefits
- Promotes rapid weight loss.
- By restricting carbohydrates drastically to a mere fraction of that found in the typical American diet, the body goes into a different metabolic state called ketosis, whereby it burns its own fat for fuel.
- A high-protein diet generally isn’t harmful if followed for a short time, such as six months or less.
- High protein low carb diets result in lower calorie consumption.
- Certain healthy proteins can be eaten until dieter feels full.
- No counting points or calories, as with some other popular diets.
- Eating fewer carbohydrates, the brain receives fewer hungry signals from the body, thus less food needs to be consumed to feel full.
- Most high protein diets now have a modified version for teenagers.
Low Carb High Protein Diet Risks
- A high protein low carb diet is an excellent short-term weight loss tool, but should not be used for long period of time, due to potential health risks, such as ketosis or kidney damage.
- This type of diet is not required for people that need to lose less than 25 lbs, as the rapid weight loss can result in too much weight loss during the 100% protein phase of the diet.
- Some high-protein diets that heavily restrict carbohydrate intake for long periods of time can result in nutritional deficiencies or insufficient fiber consumption, which can cause health problems such as constipation and diverticulitis.
- Some high-protein diets promote eating proteins, such as red meat and full-fat dairy products, which may increase your risk of heart disease.
- A high-protein diet may damage kidney function in people with kidney disease, because your body may have trouble eliminating all the waste products of protein metabolism. It is recommended to choose a high protein diet that recommends eating healthy protein, such as lean chicken or fish.
- While ketosis is beneficial to jump start a weight loss program in people needing to lose significant weight, by using fat for fuel, this is not a healthy option in the long term or when significant amount of body fat has been eliminated, which is why most protein only diets are used for short-term.
There are many doctors and nutritionists who are critical of a high protein low carb diet, due to the potential health risks associated with what they claim is an unbalanced diet high in proteins, but restricts or eliminates carbohydrate and fat consumption as a means to lose weight. Proponents of the high protein low carb diet say that over consumption of carbohydrates, fat, and refined sugar is what leads to weight gain and obesity. They stress that using a high protein low carb diet is not a way of life, but rather a short-term tool to lose excessive weight rapidly and jump start a weight loss program to stay motivated to lose the desired or required amount of weight, to achieve a healthy weight and lifestyle.
Any doctor will tell you the best diet is the one that works.