Why this low-carb diet could be putting your health at risk
Tightening up your diet is practically a no-brainer when it comes to fast, easy ways to lose weight. But cutting carbs? Don’t even think about it. Not only does a low-carb (also called ketogenic) diet leave you feeling drained and foggy-brained, but it could also backfire if you’re trying to get healthy, experts say.
There’s a simple reason why this happens, according to registered dietitian Rachel Clare. Here’s the basic rundown: Your body gets the energy it needs by breaking down the carbohydrates you eat. But because it lacks this vital nutrient, it will begin to break down fat, instead.
Sounds good so far, right? But it’s not what you think. As your body breaks down fat, it releases ketone bodies, which are molecules produced by the liver from fatty acids. High levels of these bodies can, in turn, cause dehydration and change the chemical balance of your blood. What’s more, a low-carb diet is difficult to sustain, which could cause your weight to fluctuate if you can’t stick to it. All of this spells bad news for your health. (Is Gwyneth Paltrow right about the keto diet after all?)
“In some small medical cases, the ketogenic diet is actually used for benefit,” such as for people who suffer from epilepsy, Clare said. “But for the general public, the ketogenic diet is quite dangerous.”
So, what’s a well-meaning dieter to do? In order to drop pounds, doctors recommend swapping out your favourite carbohydrates for whole grain versions, instead. Opt for brown rice, whole wheat bread, and even whole oat oatmeal. When in doubt, search for brands that include the word “whole” in front of the first ingredient and have at least three grams of fibre per serving. Not only will this swap be more sustainable in the long run, but your body will also thank you, guaranteed.
Originally published as This Popular Diet Could Sabotage Your Health, According to a Nutritionist on ReadersDigest.com.