November 5, 2012

190 Risks of High Protein Diets [5 Nov 2012]

I’m just finishing a few months on the Ideal Protein diet program. A few friends have expressed concern about health risks of “high protein” diets, so I decided to see if there was any validity to their concerns.

First, the Ideal Protein program is not really a high protein diet. Yes, carbs are reduced and protein as a % of total calories is increased. But the total protein is within normal limits. Using the formula of 0.5g of protein daily per pound of lean body weight (usually the “goal” weight), I should consume 0.5 x 200 = 100g of protein daily. The program provides 54g from 3 of their high-quality protein foods and 56g from one 8oz lean meat meal for a total 110g.

A 2004 article in the J. Int Soc Sports Nutr evaluated the scientific validity of the American Heart Association statement:
“Individuals who follow [high-protein] diets are [at higher] risk for …potential cardiac, renal, bone and liver abnormalities…”
The author of the article, A H Manninen, found that:

• there is no scientific evidence that high-protein intake has adverse effects on liver function or damages healthy kidneys
• rather than promote osteoporosis as hypothesized, some studies show an increase in bone density with increased protein intake
• systolic and diastolic blood pressure are reduced with increased protein intake
• rather than increase cholesterol as hypothesized, blood lipid levels significantly improved
• recent findings suggest replacing carbs with protein may reduce ischemic heart disease (likely due to the improvement in blood lipid levels)
• fat mass is significantly reduced and lean mass increased with carbohydrate-restricted diets (this is the ultimate goal of a weight loss diet!)

The author concludes that the AHA statement “contains misleading and incorrect information [and is based on] unsubstantiated fears… the risks are minimal and must be balanced against the real and established risk of continued obesity.”

Some other concerns about high protein diets do not apply to Ideal Protein because of its temporary nature, low fat intake, and the careful use of supplements.

For more information on this or other natural health topics, stop in and talk to Stan; for medical advice consult your licensed health practitioner.

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