High Protein Diets Aren?t the Answer Ten Reasons Why
1. Weight loss does not equal good health. Although many claim to lose weight on high protein diets, it?s important to note that these diets are usually high in saturated fat. A high saturated fat intake can cause high blood cholesterol levels, a risk factor for heart disease. Too much fat also leads to an increased risk of obesity, heart disease, and various types of cancer.
2. Where?s the proof? High protein diets make claims that are based on over-simplified conclusions and not supported by research. There is convincing proof that diets high in whole grains, fruits, and vegetables (thus high in carbohydrates) help protect against heart disease, obesity, osteoporosis, and certain types of cancer.
3. Phytochemicals, like lycopene in tomatoes and beta-carotene in carrots, are disease-fighting substances found in fruits and vegetables. A diet high in protein and fat doesn?t offer the same protection and may increase your risk of various diseases including cancer, heart disease, obesity and diabetes.
4. What about fiber? Fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are the best sources of fiber, which can help prevent heart disease and cancer. A diet high in fiber takes longer to eat and makes you feel fuller longer which is important for weight loss.
5. Ketosis. When your body doesn?t get enough carbohydrates, it reacts as if you are starving. Substances called ketones form and circulate through the bloodstream, potentially causing fatigue, weakness, headache, irritability, bad breath, and even dehydration and kidney trouble. The body responds by trying to excrete the ketones, so urine output increases. The water loss shows up on the scale so you think you?ve lost weight. But it?s fluid, not body fat, that is lost.
6. Important vitamins and minerals are lacking in high protein diets. When you cut down on fruits, vegetables, and grains, you limit your intake of key nutrients like vitamin C, folic acid, and vitamin A. A vitamin supplement won't really help since fruits and vegetables contain more than just vitamins. They also contain fiber and phytochemicals that are important for good health.
7. You may very well lose weight. High protein diets tend to decrease your appetite, as a result of ketosis...But it won?t last. It?s hard to stay on a fad diet. You will get bored and start craving restricted foods, which brings the weight back on. Exercise and a balanced, low fat, high carbohydrate, moderate protein diet is the best way to lose and control your weight.
8. Insulin is not the enemy. High protein diet gurus blame America?s weight problem on excess insulin produced when you eat a high carbohydrate diet. They say the result is ?insulin resistance,? which causes obesity. In reality, it is obesity itself that causes insulin resistance. In most cases, weight loss corrects the problem.
9. High protein diets were popular in the 1970s. They didn?t work then. They don?t work now. It?s time to move on to what we know DOES work, which is exercise combined with a low fat, high-fiber diet.
10. Diets in general just don?t work. Fad diets sell books but don?t make a dent in America?s weight problem. And they can be unhealthy. When losing weight, you want to lose body fat. The only way to do that is to exercise and to eat fewer calories than you expend.
By Hollis Bass, MEd, RD
? Exercise is a must. It?s the only way to burn fat. Shoot for 30 to 45 minutes of aerobic exercise at least 5 times per week and include resistance training to build your muscles so you burn more calories.
? Remember that calories DO count. Even a high carbohydrate, low fat diet won?t help you lose weight if you still eat too many calories. Many fat-free or low fat desserts and snacks are high in calories. Filling up on foods such as fruits and vegetables that are low in calorie density helps you feel full while consuming fewer calories.
? Eat smaller, more frequent meals and snacks. Skipping meals leads to overeating.
? There is no magic bullet. Weight control takes a commitment to a healthful lifestyle. Small, gradual changes in the way you eat and exercise will bring lasting results.
Judy’s passion for cooking began with helping her grandmother make raisin oatmeal for breakfast. From there she earned her first food service job at 15, was accepted to the world-famous Culinary Institute of America at 18 (where she graduated second in her class), and went on to the Fachschule Richemont in Switzerland where she focused on pastry arts and baking. After a decade in food service for Hyatt Hotels, Judy launched Food and Health Communications to focus on flavor and health. She graduated with Summa Cum Laude distinction from Johnson and Wales University with a BS in Culinary Art, holds a master’s degree in Food Business from the Culinary Institute of America, 2 art certificates from UC Berkeley Extension, and runs a food photography studio where her love is creating fun recipes.
Judy received The Culinary Institute of America’s Pro Chef II certification, the American Culinary Federation Bronze Medal, Gold Medal, and ACF Chef of the Year. Her enthusiasm for eating nutritiously and deliciously leads her to constantly innovate and use the latest in nutritional science and Dietary Guidelines to guide her creativity, from putting new twists on fajitas to adapting Italian brownies to include ingredients like toasted nuts and cooked honey. Judy’s publishing company, Food and Health Communications, is dedicated to her vision that everyone can make food that tastes as good as it is for you.