There are many diets that are now in the popular mainstream again as diet alternatives. These include low-carbohydrate and high-protein diets such as the Zone, Dr Atkins, Dr Stillman, and more.

These diets are controversial in nature, as many health studies question their effectiveness and the health risks that are involved. The American Heart Association (AHA) has completed extensive research on the effects of adhering to these types of diets.

While a low-carbohydrate, high-protein diet may be okay for body building and endurance training, the AHA reported that most Americans already consume more than enough protein that the body requires.

Some of the health risks that have been found in the studies are as follows:

  • High protein foods increase uric acid levels and cause gout, a form of arthritis.
  • Increased risk of diabetes and sometimes cancer often spread in progression as the kidneys must work too hard to work off the high protein amounts, which could lead to kidney failure.
  • Saturated fat consumed in the diet and limiting the amount of carbohydrates may also be linked to raised blood pressure levels.
  • Vitamin, minerals, and fibre deficiencies can lead to adverse health effects if they are not consumed in the body.
  • Some of the side effects caused by partaking in this type of diet are nausea, bad breath, and lightheadedness.
  • Healthy complex carbohydrates that protect against diseases such as heart disease and cancers are not consumed as part of the diet, which makes people more susceptible and at risk.

Marlene Veloso