Why Low Carb Diets May Be Counterproductive

April 20, 2011

Dieting, Low Carb

There are many different kinds of diets on the market, they all promise results, but they do not all work effectively. Some diets can even have detrimental side effects. Low carb diets have been popular for the last 10 to 20 years or more, however they may not be all that safe.

While low carbs diets are a huge fad in recent years, there are some things that should be considered about these diets before deciding to get a start on them. Low carb diets, which are referred to as ketogenic diets in the medical world, are known to deplete your body’s natural storage of glycogen. Glycogen is a polysaccharide that exists in the liver and muscles of the body; it is used to store glucose for energy. It is the sugars in carbs such as pasta that provide you with an energy boost, for this reason it is common practice for marathon runners to load up on pasta or other carbs before a marathon.

When you deplete the amount of glycogen in the body, you are dehydrating it, which causes the scale to drop significantly in the first stages of a low carb diet. While the dieter thinks they are losing weight, what they are actually doing is dehydrating their body and depleting it of muscle mass. This quick loss is what makes it so popular, but the results are actually deceptive.

As a result of lowered glycogen in the body, the dieter may feel fatigue, and may actually be uncomfortable when exercising. This further confuses them because the dieter who is possibly increasing their activity through cardio-vascular exercise, figures the fatigue is as a result of the exercise, but what they are actually feeling is the loss of glycogen to the body.

When losing weight and partaking in cardio exercise your energy should be increased rather than depleted. When the dieter feels fatigue they are likely to quit exercise, which is counterproductive to their weight loss. This can also affect the dieter’s metabolism which actually is counterproductive to dieting.

If the body suffers too much glycogen depletion it may go into atrophy. Atrophy is the result of lost muscle glycogen and is the shrinking or reduction of muscle mass. This further causes less drive to exercise, and can lead to the inability to maintain muscle tone. Obviously if you are trying to improve your physical condition and appearance, the last thing you want to do is reduce your muscle tone.


This site is for information and support only and NOT a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment!
diet, dieting, fitness, health, healthy, low carb

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