Q. My husband has COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) and suffers when he retains water. It seems to us that when the water retention is at its worst the diuretic Lasix just doesn’t work.
I started thinking about diet and what foods might work as a diuretic and remembered that when we went on a low carb/high protein diet we immediately lost a lot of water weight. We tried it for three days and it was miraculous.
Now when he is retaining water we do three days of strict Atkins and he’s back to normal. Why don’t doctors recommend this?
A. Perhaps they don’t know about it. We checked with Dr. Eric Westman of Duke University Medical Center who has done research on the Atkins diet. He told us that both sodium restriction and carbohydrate restriction have a diuretic effect. Most people don’t know that insulin leads to sodium retention, which leads to water retention. Dietary carbohydrates make insulin rise, so a high-carb diet leads to sodium and fluid retention.
According to Dr. Westman, “Both the low-sodium Rice Diet and the low-carb Atkins Induction diet will lead to water loss during the first week or so.”