Long Term Health Effects
of Low Carb Diets
Long Term Health Effects of Low Carb Diets
Effects of High Glycemic Carbs - Healthy
Nutrition in Carbs - Benefits
of Dietary Fiber
Health Questions About Low Carb Plans
To date, most clinical weight loss trials involving low carb eating plans have been relatively short term and small-scale. But larger, longer-term weight studies are underway. Until more data emerges about the effects of low carb diets on indicators such as cholesterol levels and blood pressure, as well as kidney and cancer issues, it is difficult to assess the long term consequences of following a low carb weight loss diet. Meantime, here are some current health questions and concerns about low carb plans which have been expressed to date. See also Possible Risks of Low Carb Diets
Long Term Health Concerns
That said, based on current knowledge of human biochemistry and dietary nutrition, here are some of the health concerns which have been expressed about the long term effects of low-carb dieting.
Carbs are one of only three macronutrients: the others being protein and fat. Diet experts are concerned that any diet which overly restricts the long term consumption of an entire macronutrient food group is likely to cause significant vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Dr Atkins himself recognized this likelihood, by advising dieters on the Atkins diet to use nutritional supplements. However, whether pills can replicate the health benefits of all micronutrients, including phytochemicals, is open to doubt.
Carbohydrates and Nutrition - 2 Reports
(1) A June 2002 study by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, listed the weight control and nutritional of a high-carbohydrate, low-fat diet. The study is based on food intake data from just over 10,000 adults across the United States. Participants on high-carbohydrate diets consumed 300 fewer calories per day than those on very low-carbohydrate diets. Adults who ate high-carbohydrate diets were more likely to be in the normal weight range, with the lowest average body mass index. High-carbohydrate diets were indicated to be more nutritious than low-carbohydrate diets, providing greater intake of vitamins A, C, carotene and folate, and the minerals calcium, magnesium and iron.
(2) A recent National Academy of Sciences Macronutrient Report recommended that 45 to 65 percent of calories be in the form of carbohydrates. The April release of the World Health Organization report recommended over 55 percent of calories come from carbohydrates.
Risk of Increased Pressure on Kidneys
Low carb diets typically contain large amounts of protein, which must be processed by the kidneys and liver. This will not harm a healthy kidney, but it may overwork a weak kidney. So if you have kidney problems, a low carb diet is not suitable.
Risk of Kidney Stones
Low carb/high protein diets can cause a rise in the level of uric acid in the blood. This is a risk factor for kidney stones and gout.
Risk of Heart Disease
Some low carb/high protein diets permit a worryingly high consumption of animal foods which are high in saturated fat. Over-consumption of saturated fat is a known risk factor for raised LDL cholesterol, heart disease and stroke. Dr Agatston, creator of the low carb South Beach Diet, voiced precisely these concerns about the Atkins diet, which contradicts numerous studies which have demonstrated the significant correlation between diets high in saturated fat and increased risk of heart disease
Risk of Cancer
According to the World Cancer Research Fund and the American Institute for Cancer Research, any low-carb diet which is low in fruits, vegetables and whole grains but high in animal foods increases the risk of many cancers.
Risk of Breast Cancer
Low carb diets typically permit higher fat intakes. Studies show that countries with a lower fat consumption have a low rate of breast cancer, while those with a high fat consumption have high rates. In addition, high fiber diets are linked with lower rates of breast cancer. (Source: The Breast Cancer Prevention Diet, Dr. R. Arnot, 2000)
Risk of Osteoporosis
Diets very high in protein (especially animal protein, like red meat) may also increase the risk for osteoporosis in women because the body takes calcium from the bone to neutralize the acids that build up in the blood as a result of digesting large amounts of protein. [Source: Massey LK. Dietary animal and plant protein and human bone health: a whole foods approach. J Nutr 2003; 133.]
Carbs and Glycemic
Carbs-Information.com provides general information about different types of carbohydrate, like monosaccharides, disaccharides, oligosaccharides, polysaccharides, as well as nutritional value of carbohydrates, carb-content of foods, plus details of GI values of all food groups, plus advice about diabetes, impaired glucose tolerance and insulin resistance. But no information is intended as a substitute for medical advice. Copyright 2003-2021.