Low Carb Diet Plans: Finding the Right Fit

May 7th 2016

Consult with your doctor before embarking on any diet plan. Low-carb diet plans go by several names, including Atkins, Paleo, Dukan, Medifast and South Beach. Costs associated with these diets may increase since you reduce your consumption of less expensive foods that contain high amounts of carbohydrates, salt and sugars.

Short-Term Benefits

One of the short-term benefits of a low-carb diet is weight loss when you body enters a state of ketosis. Normally, humans consume carbohydrates for fuel. When you cut carbs, your body starts to burn fat for fuel, and you may lose weight by reducing the size of fat cells.

Low-carb diets may help reduce your risk for metabolic diseases such as diabetes and metabolic syndrome. This diet also works if you want to change your eating habits by eliminating "bad" carbs such as white bread, pasta, sweets, potatoes and fruits.

Foods You Eat

A low-carb diet represents the perfect plan if you enjoy the types of foods you can eat on this regimen. Most low-carb diets allow meat, poultry, fish, eggs and some nonstarchy vegetables. Expect to exclude grains, legumes, fruits and seeds. Some diets gradually add fruits, vegetables and whole grains later in the plan. If you add more protein to your diet, be prepared to spend more money on healthier, leaner cuts of meat.

Risks

Scientists and doctors have noticed several long-term risks associated with low-carb diets. Although some diet plans claim you lose 15 pounds in the first two weeks, that is largely due to water loss because of the diuretic properties of the diet.

Fatty cuts of meat may cause a rise in cholesterol in some patients. However, studies done on followers of the Atkins Diet showed most participants actually lowered cholesterol because they ate low-fat cuts of meat.

Eating too much protein may put more strain on your kidneys, so you should avoid this type of diet if you have a history of kidney difficulties. More protein in the diet may cause you to urinate more calcium, which could lead to kidney stones or osteoporosis. Studies are inconclusive as to the correlation between high-protein diets and kidney stones or osteoporosis.

Cutting out fruits and certain vegetables may increase your risk for dementia, stroke and certain cancers. Find a diet, such as the South Beach diet, that incorporates some of these elements for a better approach.

Conclusion

Low-carb, high-protein diet plans were popularized by the Atkins Diet, which touted quick weight loss with the consumption of more protein and fewer carbohydrates. These diets recommend between 60 and 130 grams of carbohydrates per day, or approximately 240 to 520 calories per day from carbs. This is about one-third of American dietary guidelines, which recommend between 225 and 325 grams of carbohydrates per day, or between 900 and 1,300 calories daily, based on a 2,000-calorie diet.

Sources

WebMD.com "High-protein, low-carb diets explained" http://www.webmd.com/diet/high-protein-low-carbohydrate-diets
MayoClinic.org "Low-carb diet" http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/weight-loss/in-depth/low-carb-diet/art-20045831
Harvard.edu "Low-fat, low-carb, or Mediterranean: Which diet is right for you?" http://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/low-fat-low-carb-or-mediterranean-which-diet-is-right-for-you
USNews.com "Low carbohydrate diets" http://health.usnews.com/best-diet/low-carbohydrate-diets

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