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Low-Carb Diets And Gout

Low-Carb Diet

Weight loss is still big business in the Western world with books, programs, and products vying for consumer dollars in stores and in the media. "Success stories" abound as people report huge weight loss by using the latest diet. There's no mistaking it - fad diets have fed the frenzy for the ideal body for many years. However, the truth of the matter is that diets, like fashion, come and go. The longevity of a diet is determined by two basic factors: how difficult it is to adhere to and whether noticeable results can be achieved quickly.

A few short years ago, the "low-carb" diet hit the shelves. Everybody was talking about it and scores of men and women were adhering to one of the big five names, eating low-carb in order to shed pounds. You may remember them: The Atkins Diet, The South Beach Diet, The Zone, The Carbohydrate Addict's Diet, and SugarBusters! Each of these diets came with a book and some had their own product lines. They were everywhere.

There have been mixed reports publicized about their effects. Short-term weight loss success and improved levels of HDL (the good cholesterol) and triglycerides were good news for many people. On the other hand, there were also negative health consequences and some medical and health professionals continue to question the safety of low-carb diets.

How A Low-Carb Diet Works

The concept behind these low-carb diets is that carbohydrates promote the production of insulin in the body. Increased insulin promotes the production of fat from food intake. To counter this, the idea is to lower the amount of carbohydrates ingested. By lowering the carbs, the body burns more stored carbs, in the form of glycogen, as well as fat, for energy. As a result of the burning process, water is released and weight is lost. This type of diet is called a "ketogenic" diet because ketones, which are a by-product of fat, accumulate in the bloodstream. The kidneys later remove them from the bloodstream. The theory is that if the body is in a constant state of ketosis, weight will be lost, regardless how many calories are consumed.

But, Is It Safe?

The safety of such a diet comes into question and, while there has been little conclusive testing to date, the fact that some of these low-carb diets contain high amounts of saturated fat and animal protein and cholesterol is somewhat disconcerting. They are lacking fiber, nutrients, and complex carbohydrates, all of which are necessary for a balanced diet and good health. Heart disease, cancer, renal disease, osteoporosis, and gout are all risks with low-carb diets.

How A Low-Carb Diet Affects Gout

One of the most painful types of arthritis is gout. The idea that there is a correlation between a low-carb diet and gout is obvious. An excess of uric acid in the body causes gout. A diet comprised of purine rich foods such as meat, poultry, seafood, nuts, and eggs, means an excess of uric acid, which increases the risk of gout attacks considerably. According to the National Institute of Health, a diet that has fewer than 130 grams of carbohydrates per day can lead to ketone build-up in the body. Ketosis (ketone build-up) also raises uric acid levels.