High Protein Low Carb Diets – Do They Work & Are They Safe?

There are a number of High Protein Low Carb Diets out there, though most people are familiar with Dr. Atkins program. The media is full of stories about people who have lost huge amounts of weight in a very low amount of time using a high protein low carb diet. I myself am one of them. I lost 68 pounds that I was unable to lose any other way using a High Protein Low Carb diet. (Not the Atkins program, I was unable to keep losing weight with that.)

So it’s obvious that people CAN lose weight with a High Protein Low Carb Diet, but SHOULD they?

I have been a weightloss coach for 9 years. The first question that people have about using a High Protein Low Carb diet is usually "Is it safe?".

This remains a controversial subject. Since I am not a Doctor, I certainly can not tell you that it is safe for YOU. I always suggest to my clients that if they have major health issues they should ask their Doctor before using any weight loss program, but let’s assume you get the go ahead from your Doctor (And why would not you? Losing weight is GOOD for your health!) What would the concerns be about using a High Protein Low Carb Diet?

First of all, a diet that is primarily protein is going to be harder on your kidneys. So if you have kidney problems, you will want a doctor to guide you in how much protein it is safe for you to eat in one day and stay within those guidelines. Some people who bodies can not use excess protein effectively may also be at higher risk of liver disorders, and osteoporosis as well as kidney problems.

The second major concern with a High Protein Low Carbohydrate diet is that it can be so incredibly high in fat. Especialally animal fat and other high saturated fats. A diet full of fat is NOT going to be good for your long term health. Think about your poor arteries and heart before you dig into that bacon and sausage.

The bottom line? While a High Protein Low Carb diet can be considered safe for some people, you need to still watch your fat to protect your long term health.

So now that we have determined that no matter what kind of diet you use, you need to watch your heart health, that brings up the question are all fats bad? Certainly not!

Most people are familiar with the need for Omega 3 Fatty Acids. If you did not realize it, those are fats. (See the word fatty in there?) Healthy fats are good for you, and in fact necessary for life. People who try to lose weight with NO fat in their diet will often get anxiety and concentration problems because of your brain NEEDS fat. So do not skimp on sources of good fat.

Sources of good fats are fish like mackerel, lake trout, herring, sardines, albacore tuna and salmon. You can also use tofu and other forms of soybeans, canola, walnut and flaxseed. If you are worried about calories (which we will talk about next) use a supplement.

What About Calories?

Well, here’s the kicker. While you may be able to lose weight with a High Protein Low Carb Diet, faster at first, if you do not watch your calories, you may have trouble losing the last 20 pounds or so. Especially if you are a woman over 30.

Here is a story from one of my cliets that illustrates this. She has used a traditional High Protein Low Carb diet for several months and was able to lose quite a bit of weight, however, she was having trouble with the last 20 pounds and specifically her thighs. She also was running low on energy by then. When we switched to a High Protein Low Carb diet that was also high in GOOD fat, low in bad fat, and low in calories, she dropped the last 20 pounds in a month AND she lost 10 inches off of her thighs!

So anyone who tells you that you do not need to think about calories on a High Protein Low Carb diet is not right. Of course you have to think about calories.

Bad Breath?

Ok, what’s the deal with the terrible breath that people on a High Protein Low Carb Diet have? This is a symptom of ketosis. Ketosis is a phase in metabolism occurring when the liver converts fat into fatty acids and ketones which can be used by the body for energy. This happens when your body is not getting enough carbohydrates, which is what it would normally use for fuel. So if you have decided on a High Protein Low Carb diet, this is a good thing. It means that your body, in the absence of easy to burn carbs, is now burning all those ugly fat cells for energy. There’s nothing to do about the breath.

At least you know that you’re burning fat if your breath stinks. Try not to get too close to other people while you’re talking and chew some sugarless gum.

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