There is so much misleading, vague, conflicting and potentially harmful dietary information that making an informed decision about eating for better health can be very difficult.
Deciding whether the diet you follow is suitable for you, beneficial to your health and long term well-being boils down to just two main principles:
The first rule of healthy eating:
Any diet should be nutritionally complete; it should satisfy all your individual requirements for energy, nutrients, vitamins and minerals. Your body should be able to extract and absorb all the nutrients, vitamins and minerals from what you eat.
The second rule of healthy eating:
The amount of waste and toxins removed from the body should be greater than the amount produced by digestive and metabolic processes. Your organs of elimination should remove toxins and waste produced by the process of digestion as well as waste and toxins stored in your tissues, organs and fat.
Applying these two main principles to any of the most popular diets will help you decide whether it is suitable for you and how to adjust any diet you choose to your individual needs.
Let’s say you decided to lose some weight by following one of popular Low Carb, High Protein diets – e.g. Paleo Diet, Dukan diet, Atkins diet, Keto diet.
What happens when you suddenly change your normal everyday diet to a high protein and very low carb diet?
How your digestive system going to cope with large amounts of meat and other animal proteins?
Are you going to get enough essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals?
Will your organs of elimination be able to remove huge amounts of toxins and waste produced by the digestive process?
The answer to these questions depends on how active your gut is and how much fibrous food you are going to eat with the meat and other concentrated animal proteins.
The digestive tack requires foods with fibre to stimulate the muscular activity of the bowel wall to keep the food moving through the small intestine and to propel wastes through the alimentary canal.
Low Carb, High Protein Diet and the Gut
For an average person with a slow gut and chronic constipation (bowel movements once a day or less) eating large quantities of meat and animal proteins will just aggravate the situation.
Complex animal proteins take up a lot of energy and up to 4 hours of breaking down in the stomach before they are ready for further digestion in the gut. Then semi digested meat enters the small intestine – a very warm, moist place where it stays for 36-48 hours and in some cases for several days.
As it moves very slowly through the small intestine the semi digested meat begins to putrefy and rot resulting in a chronic state of toxaemia – toxic by-products of fermenting and decaying meat leak into the blood stream through the bowel wall and poison the entire body.
You can do a simple test to see how long it takes for the food to go through your digestive system.
Eat some sweetcorn or corn on the cob without thoroughly chewing it. A day or two later check the stool for the undigested kernels. This test should give an idea of how fast your bowels are.
The worst possible choice for high protein diet are highly processed, pre-packaged meat products made from battery farmed chickens, pork and beef. These intensively farmed livestock are routinely fed synthetic hormones, antibiotics and other drugs. All these toxic chemicals end up in the human body where they accumulate in tissues, organs and the gut.
Low Carb, High Protein Diet and Nutrients.
Will your body be able to extract all the nutrients, vitamins, minerals and energy from the low carb, high protein diet?
The answer very much depends on the compositions of your individual gut flora or microbiota which developed and changed over the years from your childhood. Your individual microbiota can only digest certain types of foods it is used to.
If you suddenly remove familiar to your gut carbohydrates (fruit, grains, bread, legumes, starchy vegetables) and introduce a large amount of animal proteins, nuts, cheese and dairy products your individual gut flora will take some time to adjust and learnt how to extract to all the necessary nutrients form the new unfamiliar foods.
Re-balancing your diet to replace the usual sources of vitamins and minerals – fruit, grains, bread, legumes, and starchy vegetables is not going to be easy and will take a long time. During the transition period diet might be lacking the essential vitamins and minerals. In the long term inadequate supply of these essential vitamins and minerals could lead to vitamin deficiencies.
High Protein, Low Carb diet will be least damaging for physically active people with very active gut (3-4 bowel movements per day), people who eat top quality, organic, grass-feed meet with large quantities of various raw vegetables.
It is very unlikely that this diet will help remove waste and toxins accumulated in the body. On a High Protein, Low Carb diet the most damaging combination is going to be low quality, processed meat products combined with the lack of fibre in the diet. This will lead to accumulation of waste and toxins, digestive symptoms like gas, bloating, indigestion, and heartburn, bad breath and chronic constipation.