A high-protein diet is yet another weight-loss regimen in which about 50% of the calories are obtained from protein in one's diet. Proteins for the diet include fish, skinless chicken, pork, and low-fat dairy. The carbohydrates used in this diet are rich in fibers, like whole grains, vegetables, and fruits.
As the protein content is high and carbohydrate content is low in this diet, the body resorts to burning fats to meet the energy requirement. This metabolic state is referred to as ketosis. The breaking down of fats produces ketones, which are now used as the source of energy for the body. Ketosis is effective in reducing hunger, which brings down the intake of calories. Thus, the body depends more and more on the fat storage of the body resulting in weight loss. On the other hand, when a person takes in more of carbohydrates, the body depends on them for energy leaving the fat in place. High-protein diets are known to cause considerable weight loss in some cases, but it is not without any risks.
High-protein diets are associated with several health risks:
- Kidney troubles – Kidneys are affected because of the presence of too much protein in the diet. As the strain increases, it increases the risk of kidney diseases.
- Osteoporosis – As the diet changes to a high-protein one, the amount of calcium excreted through urine also increases. This increases the risk of osteoporosis and also kidney stones.
- Cancer – Many carbohydrate-rich foods contain healthy nutrients, like vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber. These nutrients are important in that they reduce the risk of cancer. Thus, a high-protein diet restricts the amount of these nutrients, but increases the risk of this health issue.
- High cholesterol – Studies have shown that taking high-protein diet increases the cholesterol levels in the body. High cholesterol is associated with a hoard of other health issues, like heart disease, stroke, and even cancer.
- Ketone production – Low carbohydrate diets result in ketosis, a different metabolic state, where the body fat is used for the production of energy. In ketosis, ketones are produced, which may lead to gout, kidney stones, and kidney failure. Ketones also result in nausea and bad breath.
Experts are of the opinion that low carbohydrate diet results in the several health issues, particularly in those people who have a high risk of heart disease.