High-Protein, Low-Carb Diets Explained

High-protein, low-carbohydrate diets, like The Atkins Diet, have been widely promoted as effective weight loss plans. These programs generally recommend that dieters get 30% to 50% of their total calories from protein.

By comparison, the American Heart Association, the National Cholesterol Education Program, and the American Cancer Society all recommend a diet in which a smaller percentage of calories come from protein.

How Do Low-Carb Diets Work?

Normally your body burns carbohydrates for fuel. When you drastically cut carbs, the body goes into a metabolic state called ketosis, and it begins to burn its own fat for fuel.


When your fat stores become a primary energy source, you may lose weight.

The Risks of High-Protein, Low-Carb Diets

Some experts have raised concern about high-protein, low-carb diets.


Is a Low-Carb Diet Right for You?

If you're considering a high-protein diet, check with your doctor or a nutritionist to see if it's OK for you. They can help you come up with a plan that will make sure you're getting enough fruits and vegetables, and that you're getting lean protein foods.


Remember, weight loss that lasts is usually based on changes you can live with for a long time, not a temporary diet.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by William Blahd, MD on May 10, 2017
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