Recent trends in weight loss routines include high protein diets for weight loss. The basic idea behind all these diets is to keep your protein intake high while decreasing your intake of carbohydrates. This creates a deficit of calories in your body and the idea is to prompt the body to burn stored fat due to the created calorie deficit. The principle behind these diets is that the body prefers burning body fat than protein. Secondly, it is highly unlikely to transform protein into stored fat. For these reasons, many diets recommend high intake of proteins.
Some of these diets have become very famous and they work just fine. But these diets come with many side effects. These side effects don’t cause much trouble if these fad diets are followed for a small period of time. But sticking to these diets for long can cause problems. First of all, high intake of protein can cause undue stress on your kidneys. The problem starts off when high intake of protein (More than 200 grams a day) causes additional re-absorption of NaCl by the kidneys. Since the kidneys are responsible for protein filtration (glomerular filtration), this increase in NaCl re-absorption causes decreased sensitivity of tubuloglomerular feedback causing an increased strain on the kidneys. This can possibly lead to renal failure in advance cases.
The second problem associated with high protein diets is related to your GI tract. Since most high protein diets include limited or no fiber, the food you eat finds it really hard to move through your GI tract. This can start problems like constipation and increases the risk of colon cancer. To add to these problems is the increased fat intake which most of these diets recommend (Atkin’s diet can be seen as an example). Fat doesn’t improve your food’s movement through the small and large intestines. It even slows the rate of absorption of macronutrients and micronutrients. The result is exacerbation of your constipation.
High protein diets also lead to nutritional deficiencies. Since you’re not consuming any vegetables and fruits, you’re missing out on all the vitamins and minerals. High protein diets may recommend supplementation but it is just not the same as eating actual fruits and vegetables. Macro nutritional deficiencies results as well since you’re limiting your carbohydrate intake as well. This means that you will have reduced glycogen and blood sugar levels most of the time causing you to feel listless and lethargic. During workout or exercise, muscle cramping can result as well.
Another important adverse effect of high protein diets is that it may compromise your ability to think clearly. The brain is always hungry for glycogen which comes from carbohydrates. A reduced level of glycogen means that your brain may not function as brilliantly as it does in the presence of simple and complex sugars. Body can also switch to fat reserves for fuelling its glycogen levels but nothing beats simple sugars in the blood stream. So, cutting it short, high protein diets in the long run may compromise brain function.
A good idea is to use such diets for good head starts. Recommended time period could be anywhere between 7 days and two weeks. But this is the maximum period you should go for. Even during these inductions periods, try to include some fiber in your diet. Maybe a few green, leafy vegetables to help your digestion process? Remember, a little carbohydrate never hurts no one! This is pretty everything that can be summarized about High protein Diets for weight loss.