Proponents of Low-carbohydrate diets claim that in order to lose weight, a person should severely lower his carbohydrate intake so that the body goes into a ketogenic state. That's when the body feeds off of body fat for energy. However, researchers discovered that people on low-carb diets do not really lose actual body fat, instead they lose muscle glycogen which quickly leads to muscle loss (this also happens to people on low-calorie diets). (The body stores carbohydrate, mostly in your liver and muscles, in the form of glycogen.) Low Carb Dieters also lose water weight since glycogen carries a lot of water. For this reason, people look slimmer when going on low-carb diets. However, after losing the initial 5-10 pounds, weight loss may begin to stagnate. If the diet is continued over a period of weeks or months serious side effects can ensue.
The problem with the theory that people must enter the ketogenic state to lose weight, is that fat burns much more slowly that carbohydrate. This means that if you’re on a strict low carbohydrate diet, you can say goodbye to weight training or any strenuous physical activity. But these activities add lean muscle to your body and boost your metabolism! The way it works is that being in the ketogenic fat burning mode promotes a slow and sluggish metabolism, for this reason people usually gain the weight right back when then stop the diet and in fact suffer from slow metabolism for months or years to come, making weight loss even harder in the long term.
When you deplete muscle glycogen, there is an increase in muscle fatigue, and also an increase in muscle catabolism (direct metabolism of your body’s own muscle protein). Many people on a low-carbohydrate diet simply stop exercising, because it can suck up so much energy. The theory behind the low carb diet simply makes no sense and even more concerning is that is can lead to muscle weakness, brittle bones, depression, mental deterioration, kidney disease, fatigue, severe digestive distress, and reduce immunity (susceptabilty to disease).
Also concerning is the high amounts of animal protein and dairy consumed by low carb dieters. Over-consumption of animal protein including red meat, chicken and fish severely taxes the kidneys, the heart, and the digestive system. The liver can break down some of the protein, but the body has to store the rest of the protein somewhere. The excess protein is converted into collagen fiber built into the basal membranes of the capillary walls. Collagen is 100% pure protein. This results in a thickening of the blood capillary walls. "If overconsumption of protein continues, the body begins to store the excessive protein in the walls of the arteries” from Timeless Secrets of Health and Rejuvenation by Andreas Moritz. When the main coronary arteries begin to thicken, a heart attack can occur.
Many Protein powders and shakes are a big concern due to high levels of free MSG, which is a brain neurotoxin. Free MSG is formed when protein chains are broken down. MSG can have a terrible effect on brain cells, is a known carcinogen and endocrine disrupter, and may also be linked to the development of cardiac problems, kidney problems, neurological disorders, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and Lou Gehrig's disease. Soy naturally contains a lot of MSG and unfortunately 93% of soy grown in the world is toxic GMO. Personally, I don't consume soy at all, not even organic soy.
High Protein Diets and Diabetes
The human body requires insulin to promote protein synthesis. In other words, to convert amino acids from a protein meal into usable protein, the pancreas has to secrete insulin. Eating a normal size steak forces the pancreas to secrete more insulin than consuming 12 times the amount of sugar in a can of soda! For this reason, overconsumption of meat products can lead to insulin resistance and diabetes.
THE UGLY TRUTH: THE OXFORD STUDY
The Oxford Vegetarian study followed 11,000 volunteers for a period of 15 years. The researchers found that "Meat eaters are twice as likely to die from heart disease, have a 60% greater risk of dying from cancer, and a 30% higher risk of dying from other causes"
Humans only have 1/20 of the stomach hydrochloric acid as carnivorous animals needed to digest animal protein. Which is why overconsumption of animal protein puts stress on the digestive system. One German study showed a 50% reduction in colon and rectal cancer in adult vegetarians.
Besides the increased cancer risk, the kidneys are placed under increased stress and will age more rapidly. It can take many, many years for such damage to be detected by blood tests, and by the time it is detected, irreversible damage might have already occurred. "Diabetics are at increased risk of kidney disease and are extremely sensitive to the stress a high protein diet places on the kidneys" from Eat to Live by Dr. Joel Fuhrman. In a study of 1500 patients, most of the diabetics on a high animal protein diet had lost over half of their kidney function and the damage was irreversible. The blood tests that monitor kidney function (creatinine) do not begin to raise red flags until more than 80% of the kidneys have become non-functional.
"If increasing one's risk for heart attack and cancer isnt enough of an argument against high-protein diets, the science is conclusive that they also cause kidney damage, kidney stones, and gout." Eat to Live Dr. Joel Fuhrman.
Our bodies are designed to run on carbs. The brain needs carbs to function properly. Many people who are deprived of carbs quickly become depressed and stressed. Anxiety attacks are quite common.
Obviously, the consumption of Refined Carbohydrates such as white flour, white pasta, most gluten free flours, potato flour, rice flour, potato starch, cookies, cakes, soft drinks, and sugar is not healthy and will contribute to high blood sugar levels and weight gain. (Even most store bought whole wheat bread is mostly white flour with a little bran and cellulose thrown in for color and fiber.) However, consumption of complex carbohydrates in the form of whole grains such as freshly ground stone ground bread, raw and cooked vegetables, leafy greens, fruits, nuts, seeds, and beans are suitable to meet the body's nutrient requirements, will promote healthy blood sugar levels, and combined with sleep and exercise, will result in healthy weight loss.
A study of 4000 men and women from 4 different countries ages cleary showed that the thinnest people in the world are the ones that eat the most complex carbohydrates. Study leader, Linda Van Horn, of Northwestern Univeristy said: "Without exception a high complex carbohydrate, high fiber, high-vegetable protein diet is associated with a low body mass index." "High protein diets were associated with higher body weight."
The most effective healthy long term strategy for weight loss is not counting calories or carbohydrates. To lose weight and keep it off without the health risks, focus on consuming foods that are high in natural (not added or synthetic) fiber and nutrients such as whole grains the best of which is freshly ground stone ground bread, raw and cooked vegetables, leafy greens, fruits, nuts, seeds, and beans. These foods have a high nutrient to calorie ratio and will ensure the maintenance of healthy blood sugar levels and reduced weight gain.