Because of the physical and emotional problems that obesity can cause coupled with some people's obsession with being thin, the weight loss (diet) industry takes in $40 - $50 billion per year. There are hundreds of different diets including the South Beach Diet, cabbage soup diet, grapefruit diet, Sonoma Diet, metabolism diets, low carb diet, raw diet, Mayo Clinic Diet, macrobiotic diet, the liquid diet. Popular diet plans include Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, NutriSystem, Slim Fast, and LA Weight Loss.
Weight loss programs and diets come and go; however, one diet that has been around in some form or fashion since the 1960s is the high protein diet. High protein diets such as the Scarsdale Diet, Dr. Atkins' Diet, and the Calories Don't Count Diet have one major advantage: quick weight loss. How do people lose weight so quickly when following these diets?
When someone eats only protein and fat, in just a few short hours the body goes into starvation mode because the brain prefers to get its energy from glucose (blood sugar). Glucose comes from digested carbohydrates such as foods made with sugar (e.g., candy and soda) or flour (e.g., crackers and bread), starches, vegetables, fruits, and dairy products. When the body does not have enough carbohydrates to convert into glucose, the body uses blood sugar that is stored in the muscles and liver. This process leads initially to the loss of muscle protein and electrolytes. Because muscles are mostly water, the loss of it leads to weight loss. Prolonged restriction of carbohydrates will cause ketosis (meaning the brain gets its energy from fat stores). In this case, more fat stores equal greater weight loss. However, there is a price to be paid for the rapid weight loss that a high protein diet causes. Listed below are a few of the risks to health and well-being that a high protein diet poses.
A high protein diet does not promote a healthy, well-balanced diet. Because the diet is primarily protein, dieters do not get the essential vitamins, minerals, fiber, and other nutritional substances that complex carbohydrates (e.g., whole grains) and vegetables provide.
A high protein diet can cause the following side effects: fatigue, low blood pressure, constipation, diarrhea, thinning hair, dry skin, and muscle cramps.
A high protein diet can place people at higher risk for developing the following medical conditions: gall stones, gout, low calcium levels, cancer, heart disease, etc.
High proteins diets will help those who are desperate or eager to lose weight accomplish their goals, but at what cost?