Carbohydrates and Chapped Lips

Herpes
Chapped Lips (Image: Artem Efimov/iStock/Getty Images)

Carbohydrates are a class of nutrient that is excluded from many popular diets, including the Atkins and South Beach diets. These diets are somewhat controversial because of the potentially harmful side effects and because the weight loss achieved on these diets is accomplished by means of a biological function called ketosis. According to Vanderbilt University, ketosis is officially considered a metabolic disorder and is responsible for most of the weight lost while following a low-carbohydrate diet. Another side effect people sometimes experience on a low-carbohydrate diet is chapped lips.

Role of Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are the main source of energy for the body and fuel both muscle contractions and proper brain function. A healthy intake of carbohydrates maintains a balanced metabolism by encouraging the use of fat as fuel while preventing the use of proteins. Carbohydrates are found in many foods including grains, fruits and dairy. Vegetables also provide a small amount of carbohydrates.

Causes of Chapped Lips

Chapped lips are dry, cracked and even painful. This can be caused by personal habits such as licking your lips, breathing through your mouth and not protecting them from the environment. Dietary issues such as high-acid foods and too much vitamin A can also cause chapped lips. Dehydration is a very common cause of chapped lips.

Chapped Lips and Low-Carb Diets

The chemicals released during ketosis, called ketones, result in an increased rate of excretion of both sodium and water. This causes rapid dehydration and can lead to chapped lips. Dieters on low-carbohydrate programs sometimes suffer from vitamin deficiencies, which may also aggravate chapped lips and dehydration.

Remedies

The most effective remedy for chapped lips is drinking large quantities of water. Proper amounts of electrolytes such as sodium, potassium and calcium should also be maintained to ensure that the water is being absorbed. Unscented and unflavored lip balms may help to temporarily relieve the pain and discomfort of chapped lips.

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