The annoying low-carbohydrate diet side effects could mean further health problems down the road, according to a scientist who reviewed five different diet studies. The survey is published in The Lancet by Dr. Arne Astrup, an obesity expert.
The conclusions of the study state that there are several conditions -- or side effects -- common to the Atkins diet:
- muscle weakness
- diarrhea or constipation
These side effects are reported more often by Atkins dieters than people on conventional diets. In addition, these side effects may be signs that the eating plan is not healthy in the long run.
The Atkins diet, which allows unlimited amounts of protein and fat, but severely restricts carbohydrate intake, and does not restrict calories, has had a following for decades. Recently, it has come under serious scientific scrutiny due to many reported health issues related to those practicing the diet.
Experts suspect that the weight loss on a low-carbohydrate diet is largely due to water loss, because lots of fluid is bound up on the body's carbohydrate stores that are depleted. However, body composition studies indicated the weight loss also is fat, not just water.
The most frequent complaints with low-carbohydrate diets are constipation and headache, which are readily explained by the lack of fruit, vegetables and whole grains.
In addition, bad breath, muscle cramps, diarrhea, general weakness and rashes are more often reported on low-carbohydrate diets than on low-fat diets.
These side effects are consistent with carbohydrate deficiency, because the brain and muscle do not get enough sugar from carbohydrates to maintain their normal function.
The body can coast along for a while with the carbohydrate stores in the liver and the muscles, but eventually problems start to occur -- some of which can be very serious.
In summary, it is now thought that perhaps a long-term low carbohydrate diet is not such a good idea - especially if you find yourself among those who suffer the side effects noted.
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