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High protein diet

Several people who are into fitness and weight loss are now following a high protein low carbohydrate diet. Many health experts strongly recommend and promote a high protein diet, since it is believed to be one of the most effective approaches to weight loss. A high protein diet, as the name suggests contains mainly high protein foods. For people who are following a high protein diet plan to lose weight, it is recommended that anywhere between 30% and 50 % of their daily intake of calories should come from protein, which is an essential nutrient for maintaining, building and repairing the cells and tissues in the body. Since there are many popular and well known commercial diet plans based on a high protein low fat diet, there are now several people who wonder how a high protein low carb diet works.
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A typical American diet consists of a high amount of carbs, which is a source of fuel, burned by the body for energy. Therefore, when you eat a lot of carbs, the stores of fat remain untouched by the body. However, by restricting your consumption of carbs, you change your basic body functioning from a carbohydrate burning engine into a fat burning engine. This means that when there are no carbs to burn, your body will start burning fat. Therefore, the amount of fat you burn when you follow a low carb high protein diet is much higher as compared to several other types of diets. Foods that are a regular part of a high protein low carb diet are chicken, turkey, fish, lamb, pork, beef, duck, almonds, milk, peanuts, eggs, cashew nuts, yogurt, pecans, cheese, flaxseed, soybean, sunflower seeds, tofu, pumpkin seeds, soy milk, beans, and split peas.

Unfortunately, there could be various side effects that have been associated with a high protein diet that limits the consumption of carbohydrates. It is important to keep in mind that most of these side effects are associated with a high protein diet that includes protein supplements. Some of the most common high protein diet side effects are:

•    High cholesterol: Most of the foods that are a part of the high protein diet, such as red meats, high fat foods, and whole dairy products and so on are also very high in cholesterol. Increasing consumption of such foods can increase a person’s risks of heart diseases, strokes and even cancer.
•    Kidney failure: A diet that that consists mainly of high protein foods and a limited variety of other nutrients like fat, vitamins, minerals, fiber and carbohydrates can put an additional pressure on the kidneys. This can leave a person more susceptible to several kidney diseases, which also includes kidney failure.
•    Kidney stones: Research has indicated that people who eat mainly a high protein diet tend to excrete a higher amount of calcium, than normal, through their urine. Therefore, if a high protein diet is followed for a long period of time, it is quite likely to lead to kidney stones in a person, eventually.
•    Osteoporosis: Since following a high protein diet makes a person excrete a much higher amount of calcium in the urine, following this diet for an extended period of time could lead to calcium deficiency in the body. This can be a big problem, especially for older people, as it could also lead to osteoporosis.
•    Cancer: Following a high protein diet plan that is low in carbs usually implies that a person naturally tends to cut down on the consumption of foods that contain minerals, vitamins, fibers and other nutrients. Therefore, this can increase the risks of several health problems and diseases in a person, including cancer. However, it is possible to avoid the risk of cancer even while following a high protein diet. This can be done by obtaining a major part of the protein, through the intake of foods like whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Doing so will help you meet your targeted protein intake and at the same time, will reduce the risks of cancer and other diseases.
•    Unhealthy metabolism: The lack of carbs in your diet can result in your body going into a dangerous metabolic state, because your body starts burning fat for energy, in place of the usual glucose. This state is known as ketosis, which leads to the formation of a substance known as ketones in the body. These ketones can cause several health problems, some of which include gout, kidney problems, and organ failure. However, you can prevent the state of ketosis, by making sure that you consume at least 100 grams of carbs each day.
•    Body odor and bad breath: A diet that is very high in protein leads to a build up of ketones in the body. An excess of ketones in the body can lead to several unfavorable symptoms like bad breath and body odor. There are other symptoms that can be associated with the buildup of ketones too, which include loss of appetite and nausea.

Therefore, while you may lose a lot of weight while following a high protein diet, there may be several unfavorable side effects that are associated with it. Many health experts recommend the high protein low carb diet plan for people who are trying to combat obesity and weight problems. However, it should always be recommended only for a short period - a couple of months or so. After that it is best to go back to a normal balanced diet that includes healthy foods. Before following any kind of diet plan, it is important to consult a doctor or a certified health expert.
Submitted on January 16, 2014
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