Protein Possibilities Essay

1423 words - 6 pages

Yo-yo dieting is a popular trend among Americans in today’s society. The pressure is on to be thin and beautiful, and the diet and weight-loss industry is booming because of it. Meanwhile, nutritionists and dieticians are beside themselves, knowing the detrimental effects these diets can have on a person’s health. Nutrition professors, Yvonne Tapper-Gardzina, Nancy Cotugna, and Connie E.Vickery (2002), are just a few who argue against the use of these diets, especially the extremely popular High-protein / Low-carbohydrate diet. Others, such as Biology professors M. S. Westerterp-Plantenga, A. Smeets and A. Nieuwenhuizen (2007) believe that this specific diet is safe and ultimately very effective in weight-loss and maintenance; but is it “really” safe? Research, scientific evidence, and basic biology prove that high-protein diets with restricted carbohydrate intake can be very dangerous by greatly increasing a person’s risk for developing cardiovascular and renal diseases, cancer, osteoporosis, compromised vitamin and mineral status, and most importantly can increase the risk of sudden cardiac death. Because of these possible side effects; doctors, nurses, and dieticians need to be aware, and make a genuine effort to educate their patients on the dangers involved with the High-protein / Low-carbohydrate diet. Education is the best method of prevention.
So what is the High-protein / Low-carb diet? It is a meal plan in which thirty to fifty percent of calories consumed are from protein. That’s more than twice the recommended amount. By restricting carbohydrates drastically to a mere fraction of that found in the typical American diet, the body goes into a different metabolic state called ketosis, whereby it burns its own fat for fuel. Normally the body burns carbohydrates for fuel. Carbohydrates are the main source of fuel for your brain, heart and many other organs. A person in ketosis is getting energy from ketones, little carbon fragments that are the fuel created by the breakdown of fat stores. As a result, your body changes from burning carbohydrates, to burning fat for fuel. A high-protein intake also increases thermogenesis and satiety. Thermogenesis is the process in which the body raises its temperature, or energy output. By increasing the thermogenesis within the body, the metabolism is raised and fat cells are then utilized as energy to support this metabolic increase. Satiety simply refers to the feeling of being full or satisfied; without hunger (Tapper-Gardzina et al. 53).
Supporters of the High-protein / Low-carbohydrate diet claim that the results of protein metabolism with increased protein consumption is an integral part in weight management, increased satiety, the effect on thermogenesis, body composition and decreased energy efficiency. Based on these components, immense weight reduction followed by enhanced bodyweight maintenance has been observed following high-protein diets (Westerterp-Plantenga et al. 22). ...

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