For many diets these days, protein is often seen as the key to weight loss, but is boosting your protein and reducing your intake of other foods always the best way to achieve weight loss, or are you sacrificing too much by cutting out certain foods in favor of more protein? The Ideal Protein Diet claims that by reducing carbs and fat and upping your intake of protein, you can lose up to 7 pounds of fat in a week – but are these numbers hiding an unhealthy truth? Here we take a look at the Ideal Protein Diet to help you decide if it’s a good choice for you while you’re on your weight loss journey with Phen Caps.
The Theory & Claims of the Ideal Protein Diet
The Ideal Protein Diet is a commercial diet developed by French medical doctor Train 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. During his years of treating obesity, Dr. Chanh came to believe the biggest cause of weight problems was due to the body’s dysfunctional use of insulin. According to this theory, this insulin dysfunction starts in human beings by excessive intake of simple carbohydrates, processed foods, sugar and saturated fat. Dr. Chanh believed that this type of diet leads to an ever-increasing cycle of increased sugar and fat cravings, which results in weight gain and poor insulin function, ill health and further weight gain caused by more cravings and worsening health.
The Ideal Protein Diet is designed to break this cycle by limiting carbohydrate and sugar intake, supplementing this with important electrolytes and vitamins, and teaching the body to live off its stored fat. To accomplish this, Dr. Tran Tien developed a line of high-protein, low-fat, low-carbohydrate products that people eat along with healthy food options like leafy green vegetables and lean protein. The Ideal Protein website suggests you can lose an average of three to seven pounds of fat per week, which is confirmed by followers of the diet, but it is stressed that this is only achievable if you follow the diet exactly.
The Ideal Protein Diet Rules
The diet takes place in four phases; phase one is the weight loss phase and is meant to last until 90% of your weight loss goal is achieved, then you should move into phase two to complete weight loss. Phase three begins to introduce carbohydrates through the cereals recommended for breakfast, continuing for 14 days until you are then able to progress to phase four, which is termed your ‘everyday diet’ and continues as a maintenance plan. During all phases it is recommended that you drink at least 64oz of water each day, and prepackaged foods, powders, and supplements are essential parts of each phase. 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.
|Phase||Length of Time||Meal Supplements|
|1||2-6 weeks or until 90% of weight loss goal is achieved||
|2||At least 2 weeks or until 100% of weight loss is achieved||
|4||Indefinite – ‘Everyday Diet’||
Phase 4 Sample Daily 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
The Ideal Protein Diet Review Pros:
- Healthy Foods:The later stages encourage eating a variety of healthy foods such as fruit, vegetables, lean meats and fish, dairy, whole-grain carbs and olive oil
- Convenient for Some:Dieters who are pushed for time may find meal replacement shakes and prepackaged foods easier to stick with
- Maintenance Phase: The final phase allows dieters to establish a routine of healthy eating for the long term
- 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, which is completely unfounded in fact and dangerous to imply as true. 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.
- Misleading Weight Loss Results: Restricting carbs to such low levels results in the depletion of healthy glycogen (the storage form of glucose) stores in your muscles and liver, leading to dehydration and causing significant weight loss in the first week or two, which is usually misinterpreted as fat loss.
- Discourages Exercise: Exercise is discouraged while the dieter is losing weight. However, it is likely that exercise would be very difficult since the diet is likely to cause fatigue due to the depleted glycogen stores, as this is the fuel of choice for muscles. Without being able to contract the muscles properly, exercise is painful and this all leads to time away from the gym, a decrease in your basal metabolic rate (fewer calories burned) 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 danger 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.
- Danger of Continuing Induction Phase: Phase 1 of this diet severely restricts carbohydrate intake, leading to the encouraging rapid weight loss. It's easy to see that many would want to continue on the ‘Induction Phase’, especially if they are severely overweight. However, at this point they may run the risk of placing an extra burden on the kidneys. During the state of ketosis the body deflects protein and releases nitrogen into the system, making the kidneys work harder to keep up with excessive urinary water resulting from sodium loss.
While supporters of the Ideal Protein diet concentrate on the fat-burning capability of this diet, they fail to recognize the long-term side effects of nutritional deficiencies from low calorie intake and problems as a result of potentially prolonged periods of ketosis. Here at Phen.com, we believe a healthy diet should lead to a healthy body, whereas the Ideal Protein diet fails to provide proper eating guidelines and limits the intake of important food groups to such an extent that it can lead to health problems, from nausea and fatigue to muscle loss and kidney damage.
Furthermore, any weight loss that does occur in the first weeks is likely to be due to dehydration and subsequent weight loss results will be due to the restrictive amount of calories permitted on the diet, rather than due to the supposed benefits of encouraging the body to enter the dangerous state of ketosis. 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 during it is unlikely. 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.
At Phen.com, we recognize that the most successful diets are ones that you can stick with in the long-term, diets 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 would recommend a balanced lifestyle of healthy eating – which includes whole-grain carbs and healthy fats - and exercise, all with the help of Phen Caps, and with this combination you’ll 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!