There are various reports of side effects caused by popular diet regimes such as Atkin’s diet, South beach diet etc. Some potential side effects of these fad diets are listed below:
- Ketosis: Some of the diet regimes including Atkins diet and phase -1 south Beach diet advices to take a high fat and protein diet. These diets can lead to ketosis in body. However, the safety of ketogenic diets has been in question from a long time. A recent case report showed the fatal ventricular fibrillation arrest of a 16-year old girl who had started a high protein low carbohydrate diet two weeks earlier. Severe hypokalaemia and hypocalcaemia during resuscitation attempts. Therefore the safety of the Atkin’s diet and phase -1 south beach diet is in question till now.
Cognitive function has been demonstrated to be reduced during the induction phase of ketogenic diets which may have serious implications for those driving or operating heavy machinery.
Urinary excretion of ketone bodies results in the loss of calcium, magnesium and potassium.
- Hypoglycaemia: All weight reducing diets carry a risk of hypoglycaemia for those taking insulin secretagogues and those on insulin therapy. The proportional risk of hypoglycaemia can be expected to be higher in those diets which induce rapid weight loss and in those with good glycaemic control.
- Nutritional deficiencies: The relative risk of nutritional deficiencies occurring will be higher when a large number of foods are excluded from the diet. For example the Atkins diet preaches the avoidance of significant quantities of cereals, grains, fruits and starchy tubers. These foods not only provide significant amounts of micronutrients but they also have a role in the promotion of healthy gut function. The incidence of constipation is greater in those following the Atkin’s diet.