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Is the Protein Diet the Most Effective Diet?

Whitney | September 21st, 2012

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The protein diet has become a popular choice for weight loss in recent years, thanks to well-known programs like the South Beach and Atkins diet plans. But is the protein diet one of the best ways to lose weight? While most medical experts agree that protein diets may help people lose weight over the short term, the jury is still out on whether this is the safest and most effective option for long term shedding of pounds. Some doctors have even voiced concern over potential risks of the protein diet, if it is not properly followed under the supervision of a physician.

The Center for Medical Weight Loss physicians recognize many of the benefits of the protein diet, especially because it is an effective way to jump start a weight loss program for some dieters. However, doctors at the Centers emphasize that the diet should be followed under the supervision of a physician, who may decide to transition the dieter from the protein diet to a safer, long-term solution after a set period of time.

Although elements of the protein diet may have their place within an overall in a weight loss program, in many cases they are best when combined with exercise and other healthy lifestyle choices.

What is the Protein Diet?

The high protein diet is a program that consists of a high portion of protein-heavy foods at every meal. Between 30% and 50% of each meal should consist of lean protein like skinless chicken breast, lean beef, or fish. The rest of the plate should be made up of healthy carbohydrates, such as sweet potatoes and whole grains, and “good” fats like olive oil or avocado.

The reason the high protein diet is considered one of the best ways to lose weight is a process known as ketosis. Ketosis is a metabolic state that is caused by dramatically reducing the number of carbohydrates in the diet. During ketosis, the body has a tendency to burn fat, rather than carbohydrates, for fuel. Ketosis also results in a longer feeling of fullness, so dieters tend to consume fewer calories when they are in this phase.

Unfortunately, ketosis can also lead to serious medical complications in some dieters.

Risks of a High Protein Diet

While some dieters can maintain the protein diet for up to six months without adverse effects, some cannot. This diet program has been linked to kidney problems, since overconsumption of proteins can put undue strain on the kidneys and lead to organ failure. Doctors have also linked a high protein diet with serious medical conditions like osteoporosis and cancer. Protein diets often lack the nutritional balance required for optimal health. They may also be high in cholesterol and saturated fat, which strains the cardiovascular system.

Best Ways to Lose Weight: Physician-Guided Programs

When a protein diet is implemented under the supervision of a physician, it can offer some initial benefit. However, other plans may better serve some dieters, based on each individual’s metabolism and medical history. That is why physician-guided weight loss programs, like the ones offers through The Center for Medical Weight Loss, may offer the best ways to lose weight quickly and safely. Dieters in these programs learn real lifestyle changes that help them shed the weight and keep it off over the long term. The Centers have helped thousands of people who lose weight successfully, and a recent study published in the American Journal of Medicine found that the average patient loses 11.1% of total body weight after 12 weeks on the program.

There are currently 450 centers throughout the U.S. to help dieters find the most effective diet for their needs. Enter your zip code in the box at the right to see if there is a center near you. Special introductory offers are available for first-time clients at select locations.