When you keep on consuming more carbohydrates above the levels you need for an extended period of intense physical activity, you lose the capability to depend on fat burning mechanisms. You’re then left to face the damaging effects of chronically elevated blood sugars, which include nerve damage, kidney damage, eye damage, increased cardiovascular disease risk, and bacterial or fungal infections.
Unfortunately, the interpretation of ‘Low-carbs’ has been misunderstood. Many people – athletes especially, try to make a low carbohydrate diet and end up messing the whole thing up, experiencing the hidden dangers of a low carbohydrate diet and hurting their bodies.
So what are the hidden risks of a low carbohydrate diet? Here are the low carbohydrate risks, in five steps:
There can be long-term health issues as your body is chronically carbohydrate depleted over extended periods of time.
Your liver is vis to additional stress as it is forced to support with manufacturing glucose from fats and proteins, potentially toxic amounts of ammonia are produced as proteins are converted into glucose, your body has a more difficult time producing mucus and the immune system becomes impaired as risk of pathogenic infection increases, and your body loses the ability to produce compounds called glycoproteins, which are vital to cellular functions.
Your body stores carbohydrate, mostly in your liver and muscles, in the form of glycogen.
Depending on your size, you can store roughly in the range of 1500-2000 calories of storage carbohydrate (although that number is fairly variable based on your fitness and size)
So now you have very little storage carbohydrate and are potentially dehydrated.
If you’re an athlete or a physically active individual, this means that you’re limited to utilizing fat as a fuel for energy. Fat, through a process called “beta-oxidation”, can provide tens of thousands of calories of readily utilizable fuel, but the problem is that it burns far more slowly than carbohydrate.
If you’re inactive and don’t really exercise much (which is not actually of a good thing), this amount of storage carbohydrate is more than enough to get you through a typical day.
Really, your body only needs a maximum of 600 calories of carbohydrate to survive each day – and that carbohydrate can be derived from diet, or from you own storage glycogen.
Low carbohydrate diets, if implemented improperly, result in low fiber intake from a sharp reduction in plant-based food consumption, which can increase the risk of digestive cancers and cardiovascular disease, and also leads to constipation and bowel issues.
In addition, a drop in fruit, vegetables, legume and grain consumption can result in inadequate phytonutrient, antioxidant, vitamin C and potassium intake. Many (but not all) low carbohydrate diets have these problems.