Tale Of A Low Carb Dieter


If a real life low-carb dieter experienced erectile disfunction, chest pains, and ended up requiring a heart bypass surgery as a result of his dietary shift, would you think twice before following in his footsteps?

In this article we'll be taking a look at the life a low carb dieter, who, from May of 2001 until October of 2003 decided to cut out the carbs to shed some pounds. Because detailed medical information is available on this patient, we can get some fascinating insights into the possible consequences for those that embrace low carb diets for significant periods of time.

Most get on the low carb bandwagon in the belief that they'll get a new slim body. There's no question that some people lose weight -often a lot of weight- by avoiding carbohydrates, but as this example points out, they often sacrifice their long-term health in the bargain.

Whether it's the paleo/primal diet, South Beach, the Slow Carb Diet of Tim Ferriss, or the granddaddy of them all, the Atkins Diet, there's a large body of evidence pointing out their long-term toll probably outweighs whatever short-term gains they may bring about.


Meet Bob The Low Carb Dieter


Low Carb Diet MeatMeet Bob. Bob isn't our low carb dieter's real name, of course, but his doctors kindly gave us all manner of information about him (sans name), his dietary shift, and the health consequences he experienced in a case study published in the Journal of the American Dietic Association (1).

Let's take a trip back to the year 2000, when Bob, at the ripe age of 51, had a detailed medical examination six months before deciding to embrace a low carbohydrate diet.

Overall, Bob's health was reasonably good, although he'd gradually packed on about 9 pounds of weight over his previous norm.

Incredibly for his age, a coronary artery scoring test showed that his arteries had no detectable build up of the plaque that would indicate he was on his way to a heart attack, a rare occurrence for someone eating a western diet. Most Westerners already have significant plaque build up by the time they're in their twenties.

Bob's Low Carbohydrate Diet Medical Stats (1)

November 2000

May 2001

June 2001

October 2003

December 2003

Six months before low carb
Just started low carb
One month low carb
Twenty Nine months low carb
Two months after bypass surgery and switch to low fat diet
Erectile Disfunction
Chest Pain
Total Cholesterol (mg/dl)
LDL (mg/dl)
HDL (mg/dl)
Triglycerides (mg/dl)
Weight (kg)
Body Mass Index


Month By Month On A Low Carb Diet


Dissatisfied with his weight gain, Bob decided to adopt the Atkins Diet, a low carb regime. He claimed to adhere to the program outlined in, "Dr. Atkins' New Diet Revolution," closely.

One month into the diet he'd lost just under five pounds, but his LDL cholesterol had shot up considerably, which is usually a sign of danger.

Despite his rising cholesterol, Bob was satisfied with his weight loss and decided to keep on going.

Low Carb Diet Plaque Filled ArteryTwo and a half years went by and Bob continued to stick with Atkins, which, based on surface appearances alone seemed to be working for him. In between medical checkups he shed and additional three and a half pounds, but things were starting to go south; or perhaps it's more correct to say that Bob was finding that the usual things would no longer go up.

By early 2003 he was no longer able to sustain an erection and started taking Viagra.


Sexual Disfunction And The Low Carb Diet


Outside of whatever embarrassment may be entailed in sexual disfunction, we know that when a penis suddenly loses the ability to engorge with blood despite the willingness of its owner, it's very often a matter of faulty hydraulics.

When Bob switched to the Atkins Diet he started consuming a fairly colossal amount of fat (about 45 percent of the calories he was taking in (1). All that fat, especially because it was primarily sourced from meat, eggs, and dairy, started to build up in his arteries as plaque.

After more than two years of this abuse his body's ability to send blood to an extremity like the penis was compromised and he just couldn't get it up for sex anymore. Viagra let him bypass the symptoms temporarily, but he never tackled the underlying cause, leaving him open to further health dangers.


Low Carb Diet Banana Penis


This problem isn't for men alone, of course. Atherosclerosis in women leads to decreased vaginal engorgement and clitoral erectile insufficiency syndrome. Women with high cholesterol from eating animal-food-centered diets have significantly lower arousal, orgasm, lubrication, and sexual satisfaction (2).

If blood can't flow well to an extremity, it's only a matter of time -if a person doesn't reform their diet drastically - before the heart itself is cut off from its blood supply. It's well acknowledged that heart attacks often closely follow erectile dysfunction (3, 4).


The Low Carb Diet:

Bob Vs The Heart Attack


In October of 2003 Bob arrived at a hospital complaining of chest pains, and it was found the build up of plaque which had caused his erectile disfunction was now cutting off the flow of blood to his heart.

Before starting a low carb diet his arteries had been remarkably clear, but in just 29 months of abuse he'd brought himself to the verge of a heart attack.

He underwent open heart surgery and had a stent placed to reopen the flow of blood to his heart, a pretty dramatic procedure.

This isn't unusual for low carb dieters. Overall, those with low carbohydrate, high-protein intakes are are significantly more likely to die of a heart attack (5,6).

One study following 100,000 low carb dieters on various regimes found they were significantly more likely to die in general, but particularly more likely to die of cancer or heart disease (7).

Interestingly enough, it doesn't appear to be the lack of carbohydrates or the high fat and protein intake that are the problems in and of themselves, but rather the fact that they're sourced from animal foods.

Those following a not-particuarly-healthy plant-based low carb diet centered around low-carb vegetables, nuts, oils, mock meats like tofu, and processed vegan junk foods were significantly less likely than the general population and meat-centered low carb dieters to have high LDL cholesterol. They also had significantly lower overall mortality and cardiovascular mortality (7, 8).


The Aftermath Of Blob's Low Carb Diet:

A Saner Alternative


Low Carb Diet PersimmonAfter his brush with a heart attack and a rather painful surgery, Bob agreed to adopt a much higher-carbohydrate diet that was low in fat and protein and centered around vegetarian entrees.

Two months later his weight had dropped to a new low, his cholesterol was back down to its pre-Atkins level, his chest pains were over, and he'd stopped taking the viagra because his erectile disfunction was gone.

A pretty impressive result for just two months, eh?


Low Carb Diets In Perspective


There's no no good reason to take in the majority of your calories from meat, dairy, and eggs. Anything beyond rare consumption of animal foods is likely a path to disease, whatever short term benefits you may find.

Luckily, fat loss is not the sole domain of low carb diets. High carb, low fat diets based around whole fruits and vegetables work too, as Bob demonstrated by dropping more weight on such a diet than he ever did on Atkins.

Want the best solution?

If you want to lose weight quick without sacrificing your health, embrace the amazing power of a raw food diet.

-Andrew Perlot


Low Carb Diet: Following Up:


Learn more about the unhealthy diets out there.

Get some awesome raw dressings and sauces to make your salads a lot tastier.

Figure out what's involved in raw food weight loss.



Story Of A Low Carb Dieter: Sources


1) Barnett TD, Barnard ND, Radak TL. Development of symptomatic cardiovascular disease after self-reported adherence to the Atkins diet. J Am Diet Assoc. 2009 Jul;109(7):1263-5.

2) Esposito, K. et al. "Hyperlipidemia and sexual function in premenopausal women."J Sex Med. 2009 Jun;6(6):1696-703.

3) Min JK, Et al. Prediction of coronary heart disease by erectile dysfunction in men referred for nuclear stress testing. Arch Intern Med. 2006;166:201-206.

4) Jackson G, et al. A systematic approach to erectile dysfunction in the cardiovascular patient: A Consensus Statement-Update 2002. Int J Clin Pract. 2002:56:631.

5) Lagiou P, Sandin S, Weiderpass E, Lagiou A, Mucci L, Trichopoulos D, Adami HO. Low carbohydrate-high protein diet and mortality in a cohort of Swedish women. J Intern Med. 2007;261:366-374. 17.

6)Trichopoulou A, Psaltopoulou T, Orfanos P, Hsieh CC, Trichopoulos D. Low-carbohydrate-high-protein diet and long-term survival in a general population cohort. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2007;61:575-581.

7) Fung TT, van Dam RM, Hankinson SE, Stampfer M, Willett WC, Hu FB. Low-carbohydrate diets and all-cause and cause-specific mortality: two cohort studies. Ann Intern Med. 2010 Sep 7;153(5):289-98.

8) Jenkins DJ, et al. The effect of a plant-based low-carbohydrate ("Eco-Atkins") diet on body weight and blood lipid concentrations in hyperlipidemic subjects. Arch Intern Med. 2009 Jun 8;169(11):1046-54.

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