The Unknown Risk of a Low-Carbohydrate Diet

Strong bones don't happen by drinking milk.

Alexas_Fotos / Pixabay – Strong bones don’t happen by drinking milk.

I mentioned that low carbohydrate diets have risks. I read five books on Atkins before going on that diet in the mid-90’s. I lost lots of weight and kept it off for years. I loved eating meat, eggs, cheese and more meat. I made poor selections in the types of foods to eat because there was nothing published on Atkins and acidosis. I averaged less than ten grams of carbohydrates a day for months on end.

I was living in Germany for a couple of those years. I would drive down to Italy for a long weekend and pig out on pasta and bread. I love pasta and thought that it might be my personal weakness, but it turned out to be bread. Gluten overwhelms the pleasure center in our brains.

I would gain twelve pounds over the weekend and two weeks later I was back at my standard weight. I thought it was a pretty good deal – eat what I liked and periodically splurge on the forbidden stuff and then return to my normal weight.

A couple of years later, I was in the States and had my first bone density test. I was osteopenia. I thought something was wrong. I had been a runner for decades and lifted weights for nearly as long. I was in pretty good physical shape. How could I have osteopenia?

It turns out that our blood system will do anything it can to maintain a proper pH (7.35-7.45). My body was extracting calcium from my bones to maintain blood pH. I didn’t know that it was the foods I chose that made this happen.

Proteins, fats and carbohydrates are all acidic in nature – they will make your blood acidic. Fruits and vegetables are alkaline and will make your blood more alkaline. You need more fruits and vegetables than the acidic foods to keep the balance in the alkaline favor. Also your metabolism byproduct is acidic.

When I switched to the Wahls Protocol diet I found I lived in an alkaline world 24 hours a day. I would eat primarily vegetables with a little fruit (mainly berries) and a little protein and a little high quality fat. It was enough to turn the balance from acidic to alkaline.

That’s part of the problem solved – keeping your blood pH in the alkaline range. The other problem is the right choices of foods to provide calcium, magnesium, vitamin D3 and vitamin K2. You need these four chemicals to put calcium into the bones.

Most fruits and vegetables will provide the calcium and magnesium. Vitamin D3 is the sunshine vitamin and many of us are deficient in that vitamin – we need to supplement. Vitamin K2 is difficult to obtain via foods. We can get some, but most of the time not enough. We need to obtain vitamin K2 through supplementation to ensure we are getting enough on a daily basis.

A deficiency in vitamin K2 with a plethora of the other required chemicals means that the calcium will be deposited in your blood vessels, arteries and heart valves – not where you want extra plaque to build up.


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