High Protein Diets: Lose weight but…

It seems that the latest “Big Thing” in weight loss is the popular “High Protein” diet. This is very similar to the previous weight loss craze, the “Low Carb” diet, most notably , the “Atkin’s diet.”  This diet requires users to consume a high volume of protein, while almost completely removing carbohydrates from one’s diet. Not only has this diet been proven to get results, but a large amount of weight loss has come within the first week. There are many pros and cons to this strategy and although it has been effective, one must ask “Is it HEALTHY?”

Many dieters have one goal in mind, to lose weight, and the faster the better. The problem with this is that all weight loss is not healthy. Losing weight from body fat is healthy, but high protein diets make this very difficult. Most of the weight loss is actually water weight and this is why weight loss occurs so rapidly. When you consume a high ratio of protein, your body goes into a starvation mode. This is a result of your tissues (brain included), not receiving the proper intake of glucose, or blood sugar. Glucose is derived from carbohydrates and is essential for your body to function properly. When there aren’t enough carbohydrates for the body to convert into blood sugar, the body is forced to take from stored blood sugar in muscles and the liver. So instead of the diet deteriorating fat, it is actually diminishing your muscles and causing your body fat percentage to increase.

When carbohydrates are limited from the body, the brain begins to operate on fat stores for fuel. This is an unhealthy process called Ketosis. The effects of Ketosis are irritability, headaches, and the overuse of kidneys.

Take a high performance sports car that is required to run on premium gasoline. However, to save money you fill the car up with regular gasoline. Yes the short term effect is positive, but as your vehicle is continuously deprived from getting the premium grade of gasoline it requires, there will be much more costly long term problems.

The human body is the same as the sports car. As high performance machines, our bodies have certain requirements that allow us to function at at a level of high performance, or in our case, a healthy level. When our bodies do not receive the necessary amount of carbohydrates, we might experience what appears to be a short-term goal of weight loss; but in the end, just like the high performance vehicle, we will pay costly dividends. The bottom line is “High Protein” diets are not the healthy answer for proper weight loss. The nutrients lost with this diet put a person at a higher risk for strokes, heart disease, and cancer. When it comes to dieting, DO NOT make the convenient choice, ALWAYS make the healthy choice.

-David Caldwell

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