Metabolic effects of high-protein, low-carbohydrate diets

  • Margo A Denke
    Address for reprints: Margo A. Denke, MD, Center for Human Nutrition, The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, 5323 Harry Hines Boulevard, Dallas, Texas 75390-9052
    Division of Endocrinology and Center for Human Nutrition, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, Dallas, Texas, USA
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      Weight-losing diets appeal to the growing population of overweight Americans. Fad diets promise rapid weight loss, easy weight loss, limited restrictions on portion sizes of favorite foods, and above all an enhanced sense of well being. The popularity of fad diets points out the honest promises of traditional weight loss diets. Traditional weight loss diets promise slow weight loss of 0.45 to 0.9 kg/week. The weight loss is nothing but easy, because portion sizes of nearly all foods except low-calorie “free foods” must be continuously evaluated and tracked. Claiming an enhanced sense of well being is hardly appropriate for a traditional diet—most patients report dissatisfaction from the constant vigilance over dietary intake. Through discipline and perseverance, traditional weight loss programs try to teach a patient a new lifestyle of healthy eating. Unfortunately, 70% of successful weight losers return to their old habits and within 2 years regain at least half of the weight lost. These patients typically have little insight into the reasons why the weight was regained, and consider themselves “failures” to traditional diet programs. They become prime targets for diets promising rapid and easy weight loss.
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