Dangers of Low Carbohydrate Diets!

Dangers of Low Carbohydrate Diets!

Carbohydrates Are Essential To Health!

Our food is composed of the following nutrients: carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals and water.

Each of these nutrients have specific roles to play in the functioning of our body.


Carbohydrates are of two types, viz. simple and complex carbohydrates.

Simple carbohydrates are made up of one or two sugar molecules while complex carbohydrates are made up of long chains of glucose molecules.

When carbohydrates in our food are digested, these glucose molecules are absorbed our in blood and the blood sugar rises.

This glucose provides the fuel energy that the cells of our body need to carry out their functions.

Insulin is the hormone that influences our body cells to take up sugar from our blood to use up for their energy requirements. Insulin is synthesised in the pancreas,

Simple carbohydrates are digested quickly and cause sharp spikes in our blood sugar and force the body to suddenly release more insulin to bring the blood sugar down. The cells of the body take up the extra sugar from the blood and the blood sugar drops down to normal.

Eating too much simple carbohydrates or sugary food over a period of time leads to the cells of the body gradually becoming insensitive to insulin and respond less and less to it and the body is forced to produce more and more insulin to keep the blood sugar normal, causing hyperinsulinemia.

In time the blood sugars stay high in spite of hyperinsulinemia and leads to insulin resistance and eventually to diabetes.

In contrast, complex carbohydrates are digested slowly and provide steady supply of glucose and hence energy to the body, preventing spikes in blood insulin levels, hyperinsulinemia and insulin resistance and diabetes.

So it is consuming too much simple carbohydrates regularly that leads to hyperinsulinemia, insulin resistance and diabetes, not complex carbohydrates.


Carbohydrates are the primary source of energy of our body. That means majority of the calories we need to carry out our bodily functions have to come from carbohydrates.

They also have a ‘protein sparing’ function.

Proteins have different functions those do not include providing energy to the body.

Proteins are the most important constituents of all the tissues of the body.

They are essential for the growth, development and repair of the daily wear and tear of the body. They are responsible for the immunity and the defence mechanism of the body. They are also essential for the formation of various enzymes and hormones in our body.

Proteins are not a primary source of energy for our body, under normal circumstances. But in case of people on very low carbohydrate – low calorie diets, the proteins in their food are used up as a source of energy and such people suffer from protein deficiency even if there is sufficient protein in their food.

So the second function of carbohydrates is to provide enough energy to the body so that proteins are not used up for energy and they are ‘spared’ to carry out their normal functions.

Foods that are principally made up of complex carbohydrates also provide essential nutrients like fiber, vitamins, especially B vitamins and minerals like iron, magnesium and selenium.

Complex carbohydrates are the only source fibre in our food. Fibre is crucial to digestion. The insoluble fibre in our food adds bulk to our stools, regulates the peristaltic movement of the intestines, facilitates easy passage of stools and prevents constipation.

The soluble fibre in complex carbohydrates dissolves in water and forms a jelly like substance which absorbs cholesterol and sugars and they are cleared out of the body, helping lower the levels of the blood cholesterol and sugar.

Complex carbohydrates contribute to satiety, helping to control appetite and reduce overall calorie intake. Having well balanced food with adequate complex carbohydrates, without of course over eating, helps in controlling weight rather than causing obesity as is often wrongly projected.

Brain function: Glucose is the primary source of energy for the brain. Complex carbohydrates provide steady supply of glucose to the brain cells and this helps in the smooth functioning of the brain and helps support cognitive functions, including memory and concentration.


Dangers of low carbohydrate diets.

Effects of low carbohydrate diets on health:

Lack of energy: Without adequate complex carbohydrates in our food, energy levels can fluctuate, leading to fatigue and decreased endurance during physical activity.

Nutritional deficiencies: We suffer from deficiencies of nutrients like fiber, vitamins, especially B vitamins and minerals like iron, magnesium and selenium.

Digestive problems: Lack of fibre in low carbohydrate diets causes constipation and this in time can cause haemorrhoids (piles) and fissures and can also lead to development of conditions like diverticulitis and colon cancer.

Obesity: Low carbohydrate diets are essentially based on meat, eggs, fish and milk and milk products like butter, cheese and paneer and nuts.

Barring skim milk and fish, these foods are high in their fat content and hence are high in calories and are more likely to cause obesity.

Presence of high amounts of saturated fats and cholesterol in these foods can also lead to raised levels of LDL cholesterol and total cholesterol can also lead to heart disease and strokes.

Impaired Brain Function: The brain is dependant upon glucose as its primary source of energy. Lack of a steady supply of glucose from complex carbohydrates can result in impairment of cognitive functions including memory and concentration and mental clarity and focus.


Thus you can see that you can definitely stop eating or avoid eating simple carbohydrates as much as possible, but complex carbohydrates are absolutely essential to health and you cannot stop eating them without serious consequences for your health.

Also read the articles ‘Basics Of Nutrition’ and ’Carbohydrates Don’t Make Us Fat’ on this website.

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