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Is my low-carb, high protein diet dangerous?


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I've been on a low-carb, high protein diet for about a month now.  I've lost almost 20 lbs so far, and I feel pretty good on it.  My family, however, is trying to convince me that my diet is dangerous and bad for my heart.  I know alot of people tend to eat very fatty foods and alot of red meat on a high protein diet, but I tend to stick to the same foods every day...chicken breast, green beans, guacamole, one whole egg daily plus egg whites, a protein shake, some low-carb condiments, sugar-free jello, coffee in the morning and lots of water all day.  I don't even add salt to anything.  It's makes for a somewhat boring diet, but I am actually ok with what I eat and enjoy it for the most part.  I don't really think that I am making unhealthy high-protein choices, but they still insist that any high protein, low-carb diet is dangerous for me.  I was wondering if anyone out there had any opinions or facts about this that would help me on deciding what is the right thing to do.  Do I continue what I am doing, or try to find a different approach to my weight-loss?  Should I consider my diet to be dangerous or am I making healthy choices?

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you lost 20lbs in a month? that is insanely dangerous no matter what the protein:carb ratio...unless your starting weight was like 400lbs. 

Maybe I misread and you didn't lose it all in 30 days. Regardless, though, your diet sounds sad and depressing and somewhat anorexic. It also seems to be lacking most nutrients. And yes, protein overload is bad for your body, especially your kidneys. I don't know about your heart because it doesn't sound like you're overloading saturated fat, but you aren't getting a good balance, which includes carbs.

Low carb is a fad. Yes, it's effective for weight loss in the short term, but just because something produces weight loss doesn't mean it is a healthy lifestyle.

Why not try a more balanced approach that is focused on health and not on eliminating entire categories of food?

Hey =)

I totally agree with the above poster and don't think what you are doing is healthy at all.  It sounds like you are severly undereating and are missing so many important nutrients.  There are much healither ways to loose weight which will probably get you much better results long term (unless of course you are aiming to be low in just about every vitamin and mineral (calcium, iron, vit d, vit b ect,ect.), weak / tired, struggling with osteoporosis and hooked up to a dialysis machine... then keep going exactly as you are!)  Eating is about nourishing your body and giving it the fuel it needs and you are just not doing this!

Libby =)

I did Atkins low carb years ago. I lost weight but couldn't keep it off. Plus it limits many common foods. But a few years ago when my weight was back up too high I decided to make a serious change. I started eating normal but healthy foods(not much processed) and started exercising. I dropped 50lbs and corrected all my bad health measurements like lowering my BP to 100/65...lowering my cholesterol from 252 tp 200...took 7 inches off my waist. I now eat three main meals and three in between snacks all day. I'm never hungry and run a ton of miles. I feel great. I do what everyone hears but ignore.....eat right and exercise. You will lose weight. Check my gallery to see the improvement.

Thanks for your input everyone...much appreciated :)

#5  
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I didn't see any fruit and veg in your description. You should definitely incorporate more of that and if you do take grains try stuff like quinoa and oatmeal:whole grains. Not necessarily bread if you don't want.

I'm sure I will get a lot of flack for this, but I don't think your diet is that deficient nutrient-wise. Sure, I would encourage you to add some fruit, nuts, and seeds, (I would replace the sugar-free jello with these) but otherwise, your diet sounds very healthy to me. With that being said, I have no idea how many calories you are eating, or how many calories you should be eating for that matter. I would recommend that you use the tools on this website to calculate what you should be eating and make sure that you are reaching that.

Your 20 pound weight loss after one month could indicate that you are undereating, but then again, it might not. People (especially people with a lot to lose) generally lose quite a bit of weight during the first two to four weeks on a low carb diet because carbs hold water. Therefore, much of this loss is water weight. Even though I am at a very low weight and do not need to lose any, I can lose four pounds in one week by lowering my carbs, even if I keep my calories stable. If you are eating the recommended amount for your height and weight, I wouldn't worry too much about a large loss in the first month. Now, if that rate of loss continues, you should definitely increase your calories. 

Eating low carb is NOT bad for you and you shouldn't gain the weight back because this is supposed to be a lifestyle change, not a diet. Of course if you go back to how you were eating before, you will gain the weight back, but that's no different on any other diet. There are many published studies in scientific journals that have found benefits to eating low carb (reduced rates of diabetes, cancer, and Alzheimer's/memory loss to name a few). Fat is not bad for you, and from your description of what you are eating, I would actually say that you are probably not getting enough fat. 

Ok, bring on the criticism... 

It's only dangerous if you getting too much protein and not enough carbs.

I've been eating between 1200-1300 calories a day.  I'm not really hungry for anymore, really.  I add chia seeds to my protein shakes to get in my fiber, and I take iron, calcium, potassium and vitamin supplements everyday.  The thing is, I don't miss the carbs!  I actually feel so much better now that they aren't in my diet.  I work out everyday with aerobic/strength training, about 45 mins a day.  My protein intake is right around 120-130g daily...my carbs I try to keep below 30g daily...my fat intake is always right around 60g with about 10g of that saturated.  I just don't see the need for the carbs...I'm getting more than enough fiber everday with the chia seeds, so what else are carbs good for really?  I wanted to lose about 60lbs total.  Other diets I've tried I just can't stick to...this one I have no problem.  You won't get any criticism from me...I agree with you 100%!  Thank you so much for your input!

What else are carbs good for really?

They give you tons of important vitamins, minerals and antioxidants naturally and do away with the need for suppliments.  

By eating the way you are you are missing the whole point of food.  It is meant to be used to give your body the fuel and nutrients it needs.  Its not something just to manipulate for weight loss.  Any diet that needs tons of suppliments to make it nutritionally complete isn't healthy.  The odd suppliment here and there to top up your intake is fine, but not for everything.

Please do your poor body a favor and add some fruit and vege!

There is absolutely NOTHING wrong with supplementing and unless you are buying 100% organic meat fyi that **** you are eating is way more unnatural then supplements, its so pumped full of antibiotics and chemical that meat you are eating is so far from its natural state that if you honestly think thats a natural diet you must be high.

Original Post by caitlinelise10:

I'm sure I will get a lot of flack for this, but I don't think your diet is that deficient nutrient-wise. Sure, I would encourage you to add some fruit, nuts, and seeds, (I would replace the sugar-free jello with these) but otherwise, your diet sounds very healthy to me. With that being said, I have no idea how many calories you are eating, or how many calories you should be eating for that matter. I would recommend that you use the tools on this website to calculate what you should be eating and make sure that you are reaching that.

Your 20 pound weight loss after one month could indicate that you are undereating, but then again, it might not. People (especially people with a lot to lose) generally lose quite a bit of weight during the first two to four weeks on a low carb diet because carbs hold water. Therefore, much of this loss is water weight. Even though I am at a very low weight and do not need to lose any, I can lose four pounds in one week by lowering my carbs, even if I keep my calories stable. If you are eating the recommended amount for your height and weight, I wouldn't worry too much about a large loss in the first month. Now, if that rate of loss continues, you should definitely increase your calories. 

Eating low carb is NOT bad for you and you shouldn't gain the weight back because this is supposed to be a lifestyle change, not a diet. Of course if you go back to how you were eating before, you will gain the weight back, but that's no different on any other diet. There are many published studies in scientific journals that have found benefits to eating low carb (reduced rates of diabetes, cancer, and Alzheimer's/memory loss to name a few). Fat is not bad for you, and from your description of what you are eating, I would actually say that you are probably not getting enough fat. 

Ok, bring on the criticism... 

Yes there are a million articles online that explain why eating low carbs is healthy, and a million others articles that explain that we need a certain amount of carbs for our bodies to even function. The misinformation out there is so ridiculous.

 

FYI I asked my doctor, YOUR BODY NEEDS CARBS.  But honestly who can believe a 90 year old man with a 70 year old education!!

 

Original Post by mrsdennisbarnes2010:

What else are carbs good for really? 

Oh you know, only fueling your organs and brain, helping you poop, assisting you in absorbing nutrients like calcium (you're just peeing out those vitamins you're taking), helping regulate cholesterol, regulating your blood sugar... and much more.... 

 

but WHATEVs man, carbs are BAD

Original Post by shosho420:

Yes there are a million articles online that explain why eating low carbs is healthy, and a million others articles that explain that we need a certain amount of carbs for our bodies to even function. The misinformation out there is so ridiculous.

FYI I asked my doctor, YOUR BODY NEEDS CARBS.  But honestly who can believe a 90 year old man with a 70 year old education!!

 

FYI, no it doesn't.

Edit: Just because I posted the above link stating carbohydrates aren't an essential nutrient doesn't mean I think they aren't useful.

I cannot eat high protein diets.  I feel tired and out of sorts.  I need pasta and bread to feel energy.  I have always needed high carbs in my diet. 

I eat protein with every meal though, but without carbs, I still feel hungry.

Original Post by serapa:

I cannot eat high protein diets.  I feel tired and out of sorts.  I need pasta and bread to feel energy.  I have always needed high carbs in my diet. 

Me too, but my carbs pretty much all come from veggies, fruits (rare), nuts and dairy. I don't eat grains very often (maybe once a week?). If I'm not around the 175g mark on carbs, my running suffers, I'm constantly tired and have a hard time concentrating.

Original Post by bierorama:

Original Post by serapa:

I cannot eat high protein diets.  I feel tired and out of sorts.  I need pasta and bread to feel energy.  I have always needed high carbs in my diet. 

Me too, but my carbs pretty much all come from veggies, fruits (rare), nuts and dairy. I don't eat grains very often (maybe once a week?). If I'm not around the 175g mark on carbs, my running suffers, I'm constantly tired and have a hard time concentrating.

I need hard core carbs.  I need bread, pasta, rice, etc.  I just need them for some reason.

Original Post by bierorama:

Original Post by shosho420:

Yes there are a million articles online that explain why eating low carbs is healthy, and a million others articles that explain that we need a certain amount of carbs for our bodies to even function. The misinformation out there is so ridiculous.

FYI I asked my doctor, YOUR BODY NEEDS CARBS.  But honestly who can believe a 90 year old man with a 70 year old education!!

 

FYI, no it doesn't.

Edit: Just because I posted the above link stating carbohydrates aren't an essential nutrient doesn't mean I think they aren't useful.

FYI lots of things online say it does and lots of things say it doesn't.  SCIENCE says your body needs carbs.  I will believe my old doctor, two personal trainers and the nutritionist I have talked to about carbs over random online articles and wiki pages.

Original Post by jamminatorr:

Original Post by mrsdennisbarnes2010:

What else are carbs good for really? 

Oh you know, only fueling your organs and brain, helping you poop, assisting you in absorbing nutrients like calcium (you're just peeing out those vitamins you're taking), helping regulate cholesterol, regulating your blood sugar... and much more.... 

 

but WHATEVs man, carbs are BAD

LOL you mean this ISN'T common sense by now? Surprised

Original Post by shosho420:

Original Post by bierorama:

Original Post by shosho420:

Yes there are a million articles online that explain why eating low carbs is healthy, and a million others articles that explain that we need a certain amount of carbs for our bodies to even function. The misinformation out there is so ridiculous.

FYI I asked my doctor, YOUR BODY NEEDS CARBS.  But honestly who can believe a 90 year old man with a 70 year old education!!

 

FYI, no it doesn't.

Edit: Just because I posted the above link stating carbohydrates aren't an essential nutrient doesn't mean I think they aren't useful.

FYI lots of things online say it does and lots of things say it doesn't.  SCIENCE says your body needs carbs.  I will believe my old doctor, two personal trainers and the nutritionist I have talked to about carbs over random online articles and wiki pages.

Your body can survive without carbs. They are not an essential nutrient. That is science.

Your 90 year old doctor is still practicing medicine? My husband's 88 year old grandfather, an MD, has been retired for as long as I remember which is at least 15 years. You know what he told me? His medical advice is not to run more than 1 mile at a time because it's bad for my heart. Undecided

Edit: as I said above, just because carbs aren't technically an essential nutrient doesn't mean I think they should be eliminated or even restricted.

Original Post by shosho420:

Original Post by jamminatorr:

Original Post by mrsdennisbarnes2010:

What else are carbs good for really? 

Oh you know, only fueling your organs and brain, helping you poop, assisting you in absorbing nutrients like calcium (you're just peeing out those vitamins you're taking), helping regulate cholesterol, regulating your blood sugar... and much more.... 

 

but WHATEVs man, carbs are BAD

LOL you mean this ISN'T common sense by now?

A few quotes from this PubMed article:

"The elimination of dietary carbohydrate did not diminish the energy supply to the CNS under the conditions of these experiments."

"...an adequate amount of substrate for the CNS is provided through gluconeogenesis and ketogenesis (6)."

"The usual way to discover the essentiality of nutrients is through the identification of specific deficiency syndromes (4). I found no evidence of a carbohydrate deficiency syndrome in humans. Protein deprivation leads to kwashiorkor, and energy deprivation leads to marasmus; however, there is no specific carbohydrate deficiency syndrome."

"I was surprised to find that there is similarly little evidence to conclude that extreme restriction of carbohydrate is harmful.  In fact, the consequential breakdown of fat as a result of carbohydrate restriction may be beneficial in the treatment of obesity (7). Perhaps it is time to carefully examine the issue of whether carbohydrate is an essential component of human nutrition."

Edit: Of course, you won't get all the necessary micronutrients you need by restricting carbs so you either need to eat them, or supplement.

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