The diets, which were all the rage in the 1970s contained large amounts of protein but very few carbohydrates. You can lose weight on liquid-protein diets, and/or other high-protein, low-carbohydrate diets. But you can also lose your health, and possibly your life. Here’s how these diets work: Your body can burn either carbohydrates, fat, or protein for energy. Your body prefers to burn carbohydrates because they are burned the most efficiently and are the safest energy source. Carbohydrates are stored as an energy source in the liver and muscles in the form of glycogen. But after a couple of days on a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet, the glycogen will be completely depleted. As they are exhausted, your body begins to lose a great deal of water, causing you to lose a lot of weight. You also lose a great deal of sodium and other minerals, especially magnesium and potassium (which are essential for the health of your heart). As you continue on the diet your body goes into an unnatural state (ketosis) due to the influx of ketones (incompletely burned fat) into the bloodstream. This causes the blood to become more acidic and is dangerous to your health. (This is especially dangerous when you’re pregnant, since ketones in the bloodstream can harm the fetus. Don’t ever go on this kind of diet if you are or might possibly be pregnant.) As water and precious minerals are lost, and the level of ketones in your bloodstream rises, your immune system may become damaged.

Meanwhile, your body will be searching for a different energy source since there are no carbohydrates left in the body. Seizing upon any fat or protein it can find, it begins to break down organs and muscles to release protein for energy. This is akin to pulling down the walls in your house to burn in the fireplace for warmth. It may be effective for a while, but disastrous in the long run.

If, and only if, you are perfectly healthy, you may be able to get away with this kind of diet for a while; but even if you are in perfect health, you will be taking years off your life. You may weather the storm now, but the damage you sustain will take its toll at some point later in your life.

Liquid-protein diets attempted to get around some of these problems by supplying the dieter with predigested animal protein. It was believed that the body would burn the liquid protein for energy when its supply of carbohydrates was gone, rather than eating into the muscles and organs. Unfortunately, the theory doesn’t pan out. What really happens is that many people suffer marked fatigue, dehydration, cardiac arrhythmias, and other serious problems. In the 1970s when these kinds of diets were the rage, they caused the deaths of over 50 people.


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This entry was posted on Thursday, March 12th, 2009 at 4:07 am and is filed under Weight Loss. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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