Origins of the Ideal Protein Diet
The Ideal Protein Diet is a ketogenic diet developed by French medical doctor Tran Tien Chanh.
It was designed 25 years ago as a means of preserving lean body mass – including muscles, bones and other tissues – while losing fat. Dr. Chanh believed that the biggest cause of weight problems was the body’s dysfunctional use of insulin. He proposed that insulin dysfunction is related to excessive intake of simple carbohydrates, processed foods, sugar and saturated fat, and that the traditional Western diet leads to increased sugar and fat cravings. This cycle causes weight gain and a deterioration of health.
The Ideal Protein Diet is designed to break this cycle by:
- Limiting carbohydrate and sugar intake
- Supplementing important electrolytes and vitamins
- Teaching the body to live off its stored fat
To help dieters achieve these goals, Dr. Chanh developed a line of high-protein, low-fat, low-carbohydrate products that people consume alongside healthy foods like leafy green vegetables and lean protein.
The Ideal Protein website suggests followers can lose 3-7 pounds of fat per week. Past dieters confirm these claims but stress that these results are only achievable if you follow the diet exactly.
Ideal Protein Diet Plan
The Ideal Protein Diet consists of four distinct phases.
Phase one is the weight loss phase and is the strictest and dieters are instructed to stay in this phase until 90% of their weight loss is achieved. You should then move into phase two until you reach your goal weight. Carbohydrates are re-introduced in phase three, when Dr. Chanh recommends cereals for breakfast. After 14 days in phase three you will progress to phase four, which is termed your “everyday diet” and continues as a maintenance plan.
Prepackaged foods, powders, and supplements are essential parts of each phase.
Additionally, Dr. Chanh suggests drinking at least 64oz of water each day.
Exercise is not recommended during the first three weeks due to the low calorie intake and is discouraged while weight loss continues. If dieters want to exercise they should only partake in light exercise and be sure to take their supplements and drink more water.
|Meals & Supplements
|2-6 weeks or until 90% of weight loss goal is achieved
|3 prepackaged Ideal Protein foods + 1 meal (lean protein + leafy vegetables) + Ideal Protein supplements
|At least 2 weeks or until 100% of weight loss is achieved
|2 prepackaged Ideal Protein foods + 2 meals (5oz lean protein with vegetables & 2 tbsp olive oil) + Ideal Protein supplements; some lean dairy is allowed
|[Breakfast] Whole-grain/sugar-free cereal with fruit [Lunch/Dinner] 5oz of lean meat or poultry, green vegetables, a small amount of olive oil and 1.5oz of lean dairy [Snack] Protein shake + supplements
|[Breakfast] Whole-grain bread or whole-grain sugar-free cereal with fruit and a small amount of protein [Lunch] 6-7oz of lean meat, unlimited vegetables, 1.5oz low-fat dairy and 1 tablespoon of olive oil [Snack] Fruit or protein powder drink/bar [Dinner] Unlimited vegetables/soup, 5oz of complex-carbohydrate and up to 3oz lean protein + fruit for dessert
Ideal Protein Phase 4: Sample Menu
So, what does your diet look like after you finish the intentional weight loss part of your journey? The “everyday diet” phase, or phase 4, consists of all real-food meals. You will still need to maintain a relatively low-carb, low-fat, high-protein diet, but will no longer need to consume Ideal Protein brand meals and snacks.
Here is a Ideal Protein Phase 4 sample menu:
- Breakfast: 1.5oz unsweetened whole-grain rolled oats + Apple + Low-fat yogurt
- Lunch: 6-7oz lean chicken (no sauce) with spinach, lettuce, kale and radicchio salad + 1 tbsp olive oil + 1.5oz low-fat cheddar
- Afternoon Snack: Ideal Protein bar
- Dinner: 5oz whole grain rice + Mushrooms, carrots and broccoli
Ideal Protein Pros and Cons
The Ideal Protein Diet has developed a loyal following over the years, but – like any other diet – it has its benefits and its downsides. Here are some of the most important Ideal Protein pros and cons:
Some noteworthy benefits of the Ideal Protein Diet include:
The later stages encourage dieters to eat a variety of healthy foods such as fruit, vegetables, lean meats and fish, dairy, whole-grain carbs and olive oil.
Dieters who are crunched for time may find meal replacement shakes and prepackaged foods easier to stick with.
The final phase allows dieters to establish a routine of healthy eating that they can maintain over the long term.
Some notable drawbacks of the Ideal Protein Diet include:
According to recent user reviews, most Ideal Protein centers require an initial deposit of around $400 and then the program costs about $100 a week from then on. While some users do experience success, and this cost includes coaching + meals, the Ideal Protein Diet is definitely not your most economic weight loss option.
Low Calorie Intake
The first phases provide little more than 900 calories per day, which the diet states is sufficient since the body is obtaining calories by burning its own fat supplies. The first phases also deny the consumption of fruit and healthy fat intake is limited to a little olive oil. Even the later phases are very restrictive and do not allow for much freedom of choices, which may lead to dangerously-low caloric intake and/or nutritional deficiencies.
Loss of Water Weight
Restricting carbs to such low levels results in the depletion of healthy glycogen (the storage form of glucose) stores in your muscles and liver. This produces significant weight loss in the first week or two, which is usually misinterpreted as fat loss, but is actually water weight.
Exercise is discouraged during phases one through three. Any exercise during the initial phases of this diet would be very difficult due to the depleted glycogen stores. The rapid weight loss combined with the recommended time away from the gym will likely produce a drop in muscle mass, which decreases basal metabolic rate (meaning fewer calories burned at rest) and, ultimately, saggy muscle tone.
Danger of Ketosis
When the body obtains insufficient fuel from food it has to rely on burning its own fat stores, which results in ketosis – a dangerous state for the body. Ketosis is one of the body’s last-ditch emergency responses, and deliberately inducing this state can lead to nausea, dehydration, headaches, light-headedness, irritability, bad breath, and kidney problems.
Ideal Protein Review
Supporters of the Ideal Protein diet concentrate on the supposed fat-burning capability of this diet, but they fail to recognize the long-term side effects of nutritional deficiencies that can stem from eating too little and/or remaining in ketosis for long periods of time.
Furthermore, the Ideal Protein diet fails to provide proper nutritional guidelines. It limits the intake of important food groups so much that it can lead to health problems, ranging from nausea and fatigue to muscle loss and kidney damage.
These issues raise concerns that not only is the diet ineffective, it could also be dangerous to your health. The fact that exercise is discouraged due to the low calorie consumption would also indicate that the diet is detrimental to the body’s functions and that the dieter’s ability to continue a normal life.
The aim of any diet should be to instill values of healthy eating in the long-term, as this is the only way to ensure healthy weight loss and a healthy lifestyle in the future. Therefore, the most successful diets are ones that make you feel good and give you the boost of energy you need to exercise and lead a healthy life.
Instead of the Ideal Protein Diet, we recommend a balanced lifestyle of healthy eating and exercise. Combining healthy behaviors and Phen Caps will help you achieve long-term, sustainable weight loss the healthy way!
Have you tried the Ideal Protein Diet? What did you think? Let us know about experience by commenting below!