High protein, low carb diets receive a lot of attention because in our desperation to lose weight we will often consider almost anything! But losing weight at the cost of our health is clearly an unwise (to say the least) strategy. In fact, low carb dieting – or even worse, no carb diets – are NOT a good idea. So the answer to the question of which high protein low carb diet is healthy is: none of them.
Reasons Why High Protein Low Carb Diets Are A BAD Idea
First of all, research has discovered (so far) that ‘human food’ is categorized in three ways:
Simple common sense tells us that avoiding a food category is extremely unwise. Mother Nature’s wisdom will always exceed ours and clearly the human body needs all three: protein + carbohydrates + fat. Does it really make sense logically that we should shun one particular group as suggested by various diet regimes?
There are certain substances that the human body needs that can only be obtained from fruits and veggies which are the essence of carbohydrate. Where will our vitamins and minerals come from without these life-giving substances? Yes, I take supplements as you most likely do. But, helpful though they are, a pill will never, ever take the place of the life energy that is present in fruits and vegetables.
In recent years, we have become aware of the critical importance of fiber. Fiber is roughage and comes from the cell walls of plants. Without fiber, our colons and intestines don’t get the ‘scrubbing’ that they need and this is a prime cause of all kinds of ailments we do not want … like colon cancer, constipation, hemorrhoids, polyps and even diabetes.
Most high protein, low carb diets are ketosis diets. Ketosis weight loss depends upon driving the human body into a states of ketosis. There is a technical explanation for ‘ketosis’ which has to do with fat oxidation byproducts. There’s no need to be a chemist, though, to understand that it’s dangerous and uncomfortable.
Those who love high protein, low carb diets traditionally recommend ketosis as a desirable state – because the body will burn fat when it goes into ketosis. Yes, that’s true. NOW INSERT COMMENT ABOVE …
I once involuntarily went into a state of ketosis. At the time, I’d never heard of the subject and if you had mentioned it to me, you would have received a blank start. But I was doing one of my 14 million diets which involved eating … not much of anything.
At any rate, suddenly I was dizzy, nauseated, light headed and felt like I was going to pass out. It was horrible! My husband called a doctor who asked the right questions and made the right diagnosis, fortunately. He instructed my husband to give me milk and a sandwich – especially for the bread. AND … the doctor stated that if I wasn’t recovered within an hour that my husband should bring me to the Emergency Room!!! Fortunately, I recovered almost as soon as I ate but it was an experience I will do almost anything to avoid again.
First of all, ketosis increases insulin resistance and glucose intolerance. Those are the sadly magical words that mean your chances of getting diabetes are drastically increased. Diabetes is an extremely serious disease and one to take seriously, as you no doubt already know.
Insulin resistance increases our chances for heart disease, the biggest killer in the western world.
Ketosis also dehydrates the body and overburdens our kidneys. These symptoms include headaches, nausea, exhaustion and dizziness, which is probably what happened to me when I went into ketosis. Continuing this state can cause permanent kidney damage.
Meat and animal products are very acidic. The number one mineral for combating excessive acidity is calcium and if your body is too acidic, your calcium will be drained from your bones to neutralize the acid. This increases the odds of contracting osteoporosis since that calcium comes directly from your bones.
As a side note: vegetables, fruits, grains and beans promote calcium, rather than draining it.
Elevated blood pressure is a possibility with low carbs in a diet because high-fiber foods – those high in carbohydrates – protect against hypertension.
It is well known that building muscle and getting some exercise help to promote both health and a normal weight. But to move our bodies we need energy – energy which is provided by glycogen. Our glycogen stores come from – guess what? – carbohydrates.
No carbs = low energy = no exercise or muscle
One of my mentors is Dr. Robert Young, author of the The pH Miracle. He asserts that our need for protein is highly overrated. When I first ready his teachings, I, too, believed in the mythology that ‘we can’t get too much protein. I read his every word with skepticism and a mental, “Yeah, right! Not!”
But my mind opened when he wrote that mother’s milk is only 3% protein.*
Think of the implications of this startling fact. There is no time in our lives when we grow more, and have a great need for nutrition, than when we’re babies and young children. Surely if we had a strong need for protein it would be then.
So, the original questions was: which high protein, low carb diets are healthy? None of them. Please, please don’t sacrifice your precious health just to look good. It’s not worth it. Eat your carbs.
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* I talked with a pediatrician who verified Dr. Young’s assertion.