Generally I am not a fan of diet programs that require you to purchase their line of (expensive) products. I believe in eating real food and supplementing that with protein, fish oil, and some key micronutrients that your diet may be missing in sufficient quantities. A lasting approach to weight loss and healthy living should also include a solid exercise program.
One of my colleagues recently started the Ideal Protein diet and so far has found this diet strategy very successful. Although I had never heard of it before, it closely resembles a competition diet plan that a fitness competitor would follow: low carb and high protein with some healthy fats. It’s also very similar to the paleo diet, though it does include high protein bars, puddings, and shakes that you can purchase to help curb sweet cravings.
Will you lose fat on this diet? Of course! Anyone with a basic understanding of energy metabolism will know that your body needs a constant supply of energy (in the form of a chemical called ATP). If you limit your carbohydrate intake your body will start to break down extra body fat and use it as energy (that is, after all, what fat stores are for). By eating lots of protein, you keep yourself from getting too hungry and prevent muscle breakdown.
So what are the downsides of a diet like this?
1. At some point (if you can stick to the diet that long) you will run out of body fat to lose. What then?
2. Most people aren’t disciplined enough to follow such a strict diet for an extended period of time. As a culture we are surrounded with crap food everywhere so it takes a lot of willpower to stick to a diet like this. Not to say you can’t do it, but it’s a good idea to throw in a cheat meal every week or two where you can have a serving of pasta or a sandwich, or whatever it is that you would like to have.
3. It’s expensive. If you really feel like you need someone to hold your hand and take your money, go ahead and hand over your hard-earned cash. If you want to try this approach for free, head to your local library and pick up a book about eating paleo. Use Google and find some paleo recipes online. Done.
4. A high protein diet is bad for the planet. There, I said it. Raising animals for human consumption uses up a ridiculous amount of food, water, and land. That being said, soy bean production contributes to clear-cutting of rainforests and banana plantations are one of the most evil industries on the planet. Sustainable farming practices are needed whether it’s for meat or vegetables and other crops. Unfortunately it costs more to buy better food so therefore you will probably have to eat less of it, which may not be conducive to your high protein diet.
5. Athletic performance may suffer. Depending on your sport, this diet could seriously derail your training efforts. Ideal Protein is definitely geared towards those looking to lose fat and even boasts that you don’t need to exercise on the plan. This is the biggest issue I have with the plan because everyone should exercise, even if it’s simply walking around the block!
Hope that gives you an idea of what this diet plan is all about and helps you make a more informed choice if you are considering trying it.