For years, there’s been debate about the effects of a low carb diet. It’s supposed to be an effective way to lose weight quickly by eating high-protein and low-carbohydrate foods.
But research by Arizona State University (ASU) scientists may give you some insight into the effects of a low carb diet.
For diets like Atkins that restrict carbohydrates to severely low levels, dieters can go into ketosis.
Ketosis is a metabolic disorder in which chemicals called ketones build up in your body. This causes a greater than normal loss of sodium and water from your body.
Muscle Loss And Dehydration
A low carb or ketogenic diet depletes the stored form of glucose in your muscles and liver, which is used as fuel for your body.
This muscle loss and dehydration produces most of the weight loss from a low carb diet. It’s not fat loss for the most part.
When you lose muscle, your metabolism may slow down. So you’ll burn fewer calories.
You may feel tired and sluggish with a low level of energy. That may cause you to reduce your activity level.
But intense exercise could hurt your body more than it helps in this situation.
Ketosis may also reduce your appetite.
Then There’s The Bone Effect
The ASU studies showed that a ketogenic diet may increase bone loss.
This happens because acid increases in your body. You’re not taking in enough alkalizing minerals like potassium so the acid isn’t neutralized.
Another potential effect of a low carb, ketogenic diet is higher calcium in your urine.
This finding led the scientists to conclude that your bones would be “leaching” calcium on this type of diet.
The researchers also say that such a strict diet could stress your body enough to cause systematic inflammation.
But What About Weight Loss?
If you start eating carbohydrates again, it’s been found that ketosis will diminish. But you’ll probably regain your lost weight, too.
For people who do lose weight, it’s often because you can only eat so much of the same food all the time. The monotony may cause you to restrict your calories out of sheer boredom with the diet.
Other times, people will customize a low carb diet so much that it’s not really low carb anymore. But it’s an easier diet to stay on.
To maintain the normal function of your body, it’s believed that you need about 150 grams of carbohydrates a day. Some researchers believe 120 grams is enough if you exercise moderately.
But with Atkins, you can go down to about 20 grams a day for the induction phase. So talk to your doctor before trying this type of weight loss plan.
Other effects of a low carb diet may include gas, constipation, diarrhea, excess protein in your body, muscle cramps, headache, bad breath, general weakness, and rashes.