The high protein diet is arguably the most effective weight loss diet there is. This is mostly because of the reputation it has earned among celebrities who claim to have achieved their weight loss goals through the high protein diet. It is based on ketosis (a metabolic state where the body resorts to burning its own fat for fuel). What better way to lose weight than turning your body’s fat stores into its energy source? Protein kicks off your body’s metabolism and builds your muscles.
WHAT COULD GO WRONG?
- Higher risks of kidney disease: with the consumption of lots of proteins, the kidneys become overworked and strained. This strain could lead to malfunction of the kidney.
- High cholesterol: surprising as it may sound; a high protein diet could lead to high cholesterol levels and inadvertently lead to an even higher chance of heart disease. Whole dairy products and other high fat foods that are components of a high protein diet could lead to high cholesterol level.
- Long term weight gain: yes, a high protein diet leads to weight loss in the short term but what happens in the long run? Research reveals that eating more protein than your body requires could cause the body to convert most of those calories into sugar and then fat.
- Constipation and nausea: due to its low fiber nature, high protein diet is prone to cause constipation, bloating, and most times nausea. High protein foods take much longer to digest in the body restricting movement in the digestive system and preventing smooth bowel movements.
- Embarrassing odor: it may not seem important or health related but high protein diet may trigger offensive body and mouth odor. At the point where your body begins to burn fat for fuel (ketosis), your body produces chemicals called ketones which are mostly responsible for the odor. What’s worse? You can’t get rid of the odor since its coming from inside. What a dilemma right?
- Nutritional deficiency: there are many restrictions on a high protein diet which could lead to nutritional deficiencies. It is worse when the diet is only either plant based or animal based.
These do not suggest that high protein diet is ineffective or inefficient rather it points to the fact that just like everything else; when you go overboard you should definitely expect consequences.
WHAT SHOULD YOU DO?
To be on the safe side:
- Ensure that you consult with your doctor before any diet change.
- Make sure that the diet takes into consideration any existing health condition.
- Start a diet that will be convenient enough for you to stick to in the long run.
- Make sure your diet isn’t only based on one source
- Be sure to stay hydrated at all times.
- Learn to portion your food (especially dairy products)
- Make room for foods that are rich in fiber (fruits and vegetables) to avoid deficiencies of any kind.
- Rather than cut carbs off entirely, go for healthy low carb foods to ensure a balanced diet.
Don’t be in such a hurry to lose weight that you end up putting yourself at risk. Consult a doctor as well as a nutritionist to ensure that your high protein diet is healthy and effective for your weight loss goal. As much as your diet should be targeted towards weight loss it should also be good for your overall health. Balance your high protein diet with fiber and low carb foods.