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Protein Diet: What Is It?

“You won’t believe it: I started the protein diet two days ago and, luckily, I’ve already lost three kilos.” The testimony, which may seem surprising to those who cannot lose weight, is typical in groups on social networks. He even refers to the two most popular protein diets today: Atkins and Dunkan.

But why do they attract so much attention, and what are their risks and benefits? 

Whey Protein Diet?

Losing weight fast and without going hungry is the dream of those who live in crisis with the scales. According to the method, it is possible to lose 2 to 3 kilos in the first week with a diet composed only of lean proteins in the initial stage of the diet.

With a similar proposal, the protein diet developed in the 1960s by the American cardiologist Robert Atkins also advocates the drastic reduction of carbohydrates, especially in the initial phase.

But unlike Dukan, it doesn’t restrict the consumption of the heavier forms of protein and releases the foods with the highest fat content. This is why Dukan is sometimes considered a “lighter” version of Atkins.

Body And Metabolism

The Dukan Protein Diet recommends at least  20 minutes of walking daily to complement dietary reeducation. Meanwhile, Atkins makes no mention of physical activity. However, both purpose is to increase the consumption of proteins at the expense of carbohydrates.

This strategy stimulates the metabolism to use fat stores as a source of energy. In addition, it accelerates weight loss and prepares the body for the following stages: foods such as flour and grains gradually return to the plate, and weight loss occurs more slowly to reach the ideal point of maintenance. Consuming vegetables is essential to keep the metabolism working on protein-based diets.

Can Or Can Not?

In the Dukan and Atkins protein diets, the restriction of certain foods depends on personal conditions and the staging of the programs. In the initial phases, the diet becomes almost exclusively protein. After all, carbohydrates and sweets are not allowed.

In the Dukan protein diet, foods such as meat, eggs, turkey breast, plain yogurt, and oat bran, both without added fat, should be ingested. This recommendation is part of the first step. In it, weight loss, according to participants, is noticeably more significant.

In the second stage, some vegetables enter. Among them are tomato, cucumber, radish, lettuce, celery, eggplant, zucchini, and mushrooms. Fruits, however, are only allowed in the third phase. Even at this stage, total carbs and some cheeses are also allowed.

Finally, in the step aimed at maintaining the result (“stabilization” in Dukan and “continuous maintenance” in Atkins), it is recommended to eat lean meats. Also, three servings of fruit and three tablespoons of oat bran daily. Sweets and refined carbohydrates are allowed, but with limitations.

Is It Healthy?

There are many controversies among nutritionists regarding the amount of protein considered healthy for daily intake. Although the consumption suggested by the World Health Organization (WHO) is 0.8 g/kg of body mass, some experts argue that the target can be exceeded without harm to health, as long as it is harmonized with other food groups.

The nutritionist specializing in the Paleolithic low-carb diet ( low carb ) says that it is possible to eat between 2.0 g and 2.5 g of protein per kilogram of body weight, as long as it is balanced with other healthy foods.

Protein Diet: Impact On The Body

To lose weight healthily and effectively, it is necessary to maintain a diet rich in raw fruits and vegetables.

The nutritionist also warns that there are risks even for those not predisposed to these problems. She also states, “individuals who choose high-protein diets usually have an increased caloric, protein and lipid intake.”

“They are also more prone to accumulating uric acid, saturated fats, trans fats, and cholesterol. And this, of course, increases the chance of developing diseases linked to cardiovascular diseases, such as gout and dyslipidemias”, concludes the nutritionist.

Lack And Excess

The nutritionist specializing in vegetarian food believes that the problem of a protein diet is not only the absence of carbohydrates but also the excess of protein.

“When a person neglects carbohydrates in the diet, the body looks for energy sources. So, instead of removing it from the fatty tissues, it starts to eliminate the body’s muscles. The risk is also great for some vital organs. This is because the liver works much more with the high load of protein not assimilated by the body, and the kidneys, as they are responsible for eliminating excess amino acids, are overloaded”, he explains.

For those who want to lose weight healthily and effectively, Selma Dovici says that the tip is to maintain a diet rich in raw fruits and vegetables, with whole carbohydrates, tubers, and little red meat. It is also possible to add skim dairy products, beans of all types, and the minimum amount of sugars and fats to the menu.

“By adopting this healthy eating pattern, people find that their weight naturally returns to normal. In addition, the body works more harmoniously, the mind works more easily, and sleep improves. We are even more beautiful because the skin and hair reflect health”, declares the nutritionist.

Protein Diet: Does It Have To Be All Meat?

Contrary to what seems, the protein diet does not only live on meat.

For example, some practices do not consume fatty and animal foods within the Atkins modality. “It’s a diet that, like Atkins, has high protein consumption, and that’s why I don’t recommend it,” he reinforces.

For clinical or sports reasons, for those who believe that they should increase the percentage of proteins in their diet and not consume animal fats, Ceregatti recommends that, instead of meat, the plant group with the most significant amount of them should be prioritized – beans.


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