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Nutrition: High Protein, Low Carbohydrate Diets

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Low carbohydrate diets have been very popular recently. Many people today are going on variations of the high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet. Describe what happens in the body when only proteins and fat are ingested but carbohydrates are excluded. Are diets that are high in proteins and fat healthy weight-loss alternatives?
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Solution Summary

This detailed solution addresses the benefits and dangers of high-protein, low-carbohydrate diets. It describes what happens in the body when only proteins and fat are ingested but carbohydrates are excluded. It also discusses if diets that are high in proteins and fat healthy weight-loss alternatives, and the benefits of carbohydrates to the body. Includes APA formatted references.

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Eating a "balanced" diet makes a person look better, feel better, and be healthier. Eating too much protein (more than 30 percent) can harm your body, according to Gail Butterfield, PhD, RD, nutrition lecturer at Stanford University (Nelson, 2002). It can put your bodily systems under stress since you can develop a build up of ketones. This causes your kidneys to work harder to flush out the ketones, which can cause dehydration. You will lose muscle mass and bone calcium as a result, and dehydration puts a stress on your heat. Excessive protein can cause elevated blood levels of insulin, and "high protein intakes have been implicated in various chronic diseases" (Williams, 2007), including cardiovascular disease and cancer. High protein and fat diets may ultimately lead to kidney failure, in addition to high cholesterol and osteoporosis (large amounts of calcium are typically excreted, weakening bones). High protein diets can lead to excessive production of ketones, which can adversely affect liver and kidney function, cause dehydration, and negatively impact bone and joint health. At the point your body is not burning carbohydrates for fuel the body goes into ketosis (fuel created by the breakdown of fat in the body). This makes the person feel less hungry and eat less but, as discussed it leads to health problems. An example of an individual eating too much protein might be an athlete involved in weight training, who is consuming protein powder as a supplement or a Crossfitter on the Paleo diet. This puts a strain on the athlete's bodily functions, and ...

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  • BA, University of Southern California
  • MSS, United States Sports Academy
  • Ed.D, Boise State University
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