Are "Low Carb" Diets Safe?
In most parts of the country, it's about 30 days 'til bathing suit season -- are
you searching for the perfect diet to get ready? Many people rave about the
low-carbohydrate or "carbohydrate controlled" diets -- like the Atkins Diet -- but
they're raving both pros and cons. What should you believe?
These diets generally recommend reducing your carbohydrate intake for two weeks to 20 grams
for two weeks and then very slowly increasing that amount so long as weight
loss is still achieved. Foods that are strongly encouraged are generally proteins
such as meat, fish, eggs, and cheese. While vegetables can be eaten liberally,
these diets are often low in grains and fruits. As a result, they promote
the breakdown of fat forming appetite-suppressing substances called ketones.
If you have a build-up of ketones, you go into a state called ketosis, which
may cause dehydration, dizziness, weakness, or headaches in some people. It
is essential to drink ample amounts of water while on these diets and to take
the recommended dietary supplements. As with any diet, these diets "work" much
better when accompanied by a regular exercise program.
While it is unclear whether these diets are truly "safe" for people with diabetes,
heart or kidney problems (known or unknown), these diets are safe for young,
healthy people in the short term. . .and are probably preferable to their
previous "diet" (the "average American diet"). Small studies have also
demonstrated that these diets may have a positive benefit in reducing cholesterol.
These diets are appealing because they often result in rapid weight loss, however,
as with most diets, people tend to regain the weight quickly if they "go off"
the diet and resume their former unhealthy eating habits.
The most successful diet is the one that works for you. Generally, those formerly
overweight individuals who have maintained long-term success are those who followed
balanced and calorically appropriate diets combined with regular exercise.
Click here for related information.
Created: 5/1/2001  - Donnica Moore, M.D.