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Side Effects of a No-carb Diet

Scholasticus K Mar 6, 2019
There are several fad diets for quick weight loss that constantly come and go. Such low- and no-carb diets do not always work wonders, and have their own share of side effects like nausea, dizziness, and also an increase in deposition of ketone in the body.
'Carb' is an abbreviation of the word 'carbohydrates'. The main drawback of no-carbohydrate diets is that they can cause certain side effects, due to total elimination of carbohydrates. This may result in weight loss in the short run, but some side effects tend do occur in the long run.

What is a No-carb Diet?

Let us understand the logic, meaning, and scope of the diet plan that avoids carbohydrates completely. These diet plans, basically aim at cutting down the amount of complex sugars and carbohydrates on a daily basis. This diet is helpful in the cure of diseases, like epilepsy and diabetes mellitus.
It is also very helpful in quick weight loss, as carbohydrates make up a huge portion of our daily calorific intake, since they are easily converted into sugar and starch. A similar diet plan is the low-carb diet plan, which involves the reduction of daily consumption of carbohydrates.
Side effects of both diets are similar, however, since moderate use of carbohydrates in daily diet is recommended, a low-carb diet is preferred. One should not follow a no-carb diet over a long period of time.
Therefore, the guidance of a diet expert or a physician is a must, before you start the diet plan. Generally, medical practitioners prescribe this diet to diabetic patients, but under strict supervision.

Associated Side Effects

● Many people start this diet while already on certain medication. However, this is extremely detrimental, since medication dosages are prescribed after taking into consideration the weight and daily diet of the individuals. Patients of diabetes, therefore, should not start following this diet, without consulting a nutrition expert or their physician.
This diet involves reduced consumption of carbohydrates, and at the same time, diabetes medication also curbs the blood sugar level. This double reduction in the levels of blood sugar, can be very harmful for them, and may induce a hypoglycemic shock.
● Since there is no active consumption of carbohydrates, in normal people, this will lead to a lack of energy. This may be compensated by the body to some extent, by utilizing fats and proteins for energy, but the brain cannot do the same, and hence suffers.
Therefore this affects the mental and cognitive abilities of the person, and manifests in the form of confusion, difficulty in concentrating and understanding, and memory formation and retention.
● Most of the vitamins and minerals needed for proper functioning of the body, are obtained from foods that contain carbohydrates as well. Hence on this type of a diet, the person will eventually suffer from vitamin and other nutritional deficiencies.
● Plant-based carbohydrates provide the body with the required amount of fiber necessary for smooth bowel movements. Therefore the absence of this fiber leads to constipation.
● The consumption of carbs induces the brain to release the neurotransmitter serotonin. This molecule is responsible in inducing the feelings of joy and happiness. Therefore on a no-carb diet, the food does not induce the release of this molecule, and in turn results in the development of depression-like symptoms such as increased sadness, anger, etc,.
● Another side effect is the excessive formation of ketone. When the body does not get the sufficient amounts of carbohydrates and sugar, it breaks down the fat deposits, to substitute these substances. This breakdown produces a by-product called ketone, which is a toxic material, which increases the excretion of water and electrolytes from the body.
The buildup of ketone in the body results in ketosis, which is symptomized by nausea, headache, mental fatigue, and bad breath. It also causes excess production of uric acid, which leads to painful swelling of the joints and kidney stones.
Many small and not very severe side effects include nausea, dizziness, low energy levels, etc. These are experienced, as the body gets adjusted to the new diet. Some people have also experienced sugar cravings, constipation, and irritability in the long run.
So, if you are a diabetic or suffer from blood pressure problems, it is best not to follow a no-carb diet plan. Even if you do, its best to do it for a short period of time only.
Disclaimer: The information provided here is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a dietitian or nutritionist.