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Side Effects of a Low Carb Diet

Updated April 17, 2017

On a low-carb diet plan, you reduce your intake of carbohydrates while increasing your intake of protein and fat. This is a widely followed diet worldwide. People go on low-carb diets to lose weight or as a treatment for diabetes. On a low-carb diet, foods like pasta, white rice and white bread should be avoided, while meat, soy products and a variety of vegetables should be included. A typical low-carb diet should contain between 20 to 60g of carbohydrates a day.

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Common Effects

One of the most common side effects of a low-carb diet is a decrease in blood sugar levels. This could be a problem for people on medication for reducing blood sugar as this diet may further reduce the levels. At times, blood pressure may also decrease because of the reduced level of carbohydrates. Consult with your doctor if you want to try a low-carb diet.

While a low-carb diet can result in weight loss, that decrease could lead to digestive or breathing problems. Once you give up the low carb-diet and resume a normal diet, your weight could increase along with the carbs.

Good Effects

Among the positive effects of a low-carb diet are a reduction in body fat, improved bowel movements, reduced cravings for sugar and starch items and improved cholesterol levels.

Uncomfortable Effects

Some side effects of a low-carb diet could be uncomfortable, including headache, nausea, dizziness, lethargy, constipation and irritability. These usually occur when you start the diet, likely in the first five days, because your body is adjusting to the considerable reduction of carbohydrate intake.

Serious Effects

Some serious side effects may occur rarely, such as bone loss. Excess protein might also lead to osteoporosis, and a deficiency of carbs could lead to metabolic disorder. If the low-carb diet contains high levels of fat, there is also a chance of heart disease. The right amount of carbohydrates, protein and fat is very important to avoid these side effects. Your health condition and the reason for following the low-carb diet determine the quantity of carbs, protein and fat to be consumed.

Women-Related Effects

A woman's menstrual flow may be reduced as a result of hormones reacting to the changes in the diet. This occurs during the first few weeks of the new diet.

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About the Author

Priya Hariharan is a technical writer and a Web coordinator at a state agency in New York. She has been writing user manuals for three years and holds a Bachelor of Science in electronics engineering.

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