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.

  • High cholesterol. Some protein sources — like fatty cuts of meat, whole dairy products, and other high-fat foods — can raise cholesterol, increasing your chance of heart disease. However, studies showed that people on the Atkins diet for up to 2 years actually had decreased “bad” cholesterol levels.
  • Kidney problems. If you have any kidney problems, eating too much protein puts added strain on your kidneys. This could worsen kidney function.
  • Osteoporosis and kidney stones. When you’re on a high-protein diet, you may urinate more calcium than normal. There are conflicting reports, but some experts think this could make osteoporosis and kidney stones more likely.

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