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High Protein, Low-Carbohydrate Diets

High Protein, Low-Carbohydrate Diets

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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.

The American Heart Association recommends getting 10% – 35% of your daily calories from protein. This is about 46 grams of protein for adult women and 56 grams for adult men.

How Do Low-Carb Diets Work?

Carbohydrates are the main source of energy for the body. Without enough carbs for energy, the body breaks down fat into ketones. The ketones then become the primary source of fuel for the body. When ketones become the primary source of fuel, this puts your body in a state called ketosis.

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 Christine Mikstas, RD, LD on May 17, 2021


American Heart Association: “Protein and Heart Health.”

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: “What is the Ketogenic Diet?”


© 2021 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

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