A friend of mine is extremely diet conscious, and what began as a friendly chat about his ‘low carb diet‘ grew into a detailed study of the effectiveness of ‘high protein low carb diet’ and its potential side effects. I am a vegetarian and hence I never tried Atkins diet or other low carb diet myself. However I will be the first person to admit that many people do lose weight using a low carb diet. What I don’t really agree is the frequently coined term “I lost weight and I feel great’. I especially don’t agree with the second part of it ‘feeling great’. A recent study on people on low carb diet proves that there are a few side-effects like mood swings, tiredness and a so on.
While we researched further we came across several literature that throws more light on the potential side effects. Dr. Michael Greger (Who wrote the book Atkin’s Facts), states that people who are under low carb diet, do lose weight but that is because they eat less calories. He adds that a lower calories may result in cravings and mood swings.
The basic theory behind low carb diet is that, carbs raise blood sugar and insulin levels. Raise in blood sugar and insulin is one of the root causes of gaining weight. By cutting on carbs the blood sugar level will fall along with the insulin levels and our body will burn the stored fat (the process is called as Ketosis) and eventually results in weight loss.
So this weight loss actually works but the real issue is the side effects. There are some worrisome research findings, the most prominent of them are the clogging of arteries and mood swings (lower quality of life). A research conducted on mice proved that Clogging of Arteries (atherosclerosis) is a common side effect. However the good thing this diet can be made very safe through better understanding of our bodies and tweaking the diet accordingly. One should tweak the diet based on the body type and their BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate). Calorie requirements are not unique, so based on one’s metabolic rate the low card diet should be tweaked, to make the diet very safe and effective. There are some very good resources online to formulate a safe low carb diet, my pick among those would be this low carb forum. Where thousands of people discuss and share their experiences on low carb diet and ways to make this diet safe and effective.