High protein diet.


Aug 11, 2001
12 Good reasons to avoid high protein diets

1. They violate almost every known fact about nutritionally balanced eating. For some dieters, these diets can even be life-threatening.

2. Popular high protein diet foods are high in cholesterol and saturated fat, which are now established as major culprits in heart attacks and strokes.

3. They overload you with protein, which results in loss of calcium from your bones, which may lead to osteoporosis. Protein overload also pressurizes your kidneys as they try to eliminate large amounts of urea, a by-product of protein metabolism.

4. They forbid foods known to lower the risk of heart disease and many cancers.

5. They deprive you of carbohydrates, the nutrient group most readily converted to energy. Even moderately active people will notice this lack during exercise.

6. They deprive your brain of glucose, which it needs for normal functioning. The result is a slowdown in thinking and reaction time.

7. They deprive you of the enormous benefits of fiber, which is a form of carbohydrate (cellulose).

8. They are deficient in essential vitamins. Indeed, some high protein diets even require you to take vitamin supplements for the sake of your health.

9. They cause potentially dangerous changes in your body chemistry.

10. They run contrary to the latest World Cancer Research Fund Report, entitled
Food, Nutrition and the Prevention of Cancer.

11. They deliver temporary weight loss. But a large part of it is water weight and lean muscle mass - not fat. (You lose water because your kidneys try to get rid of the excess waste products of protein and fat, called ketones, that your body makes.)

Note: Weight gain is usually rapid when you go off the diet.

12. Finally, it's worth knowing that while your body burns up 23 calories for every 100 carbohydrate calories it 'digests', it only burns up 3 calories for every 100 fat calories it 'digests'. So a high-protein, low carbohydrate diet makes it easier for you to stay fat!

The average Western diet contains TOO MUCH FAT.
That's why an estimated 1 in 3 American children are overweight!!
That's why heart disease is the No 1 killer in America and Europe.
We should be eating less fat, not more.

High protein diets encourage high-fat eating and - for this reason alone - they should be avoided.
I've been on a diet for 3 days now. A typical day looks like this.

2 x toast + 120g Extra lean mince / tuna / chicken (e.g. fillet) / ostrich ...

Pita + 120g Extra lean mince / tuna / chicken (e.g. fillet) / ostrich ...

10g cottage cheese (0%) / yogurd ... + 2 fruits (excl. banana and fruit)

200g Veggies
120g Extra lean mince / tuna / chicken (e.g. fillet) / ostrich ...

During the day
3 Coffee/Tea - only 250ml Fat free milk / day.

Drink at least 2 liters of water / day

With this, I'm also taking fat burners twice daily. Do you guys think this classify as a protein dieet?

PS. Train with Vitrace during the week and on weekends I ride with Octane (Energy dynamics)...
Jaco, imo your diet classifies as BS. :mad:
How do you get thro a training session or race with so few carbs? And the fat burners? Bad - bad - bad!
I'm no doctor, but I reckon you are doing yourself more harm than good. Humans are grazers, not carnivores.
If I were you, I would quit the diet immediately, go on a 3 day detox and then get back onto a sensible eating plan.
Vo2, maybe you can tell me about this diet I have been using every two years or so. The results come quick and stay there for quite a while before I start to gobble down again.

It mainly consists of:

Cooked Ham, Chicken, Only green salads, fish and natural yoghurt, spinach, raw carrots, eggs and any type of fruit as well as small/medium steaks (no spices or salt allowed). Only black coffee or tea without sugar.

It sounds horrible but does make one full. I must add that while on the diet my body feels much more healthier....but after two weeks (that is how long the diet is and states you can loose up to 9kg) the food become rather .... well how can I say it .....Blah, yuck. pew....Spitt, spitt:D

PS: the last time I was on this diet I lost 15 kg in two weeks...yes, yes .... seems I am a bit overweight:( :)
As VO2 states, these types of high protein, high fat, low carb diet are *bad* for you. They cause temporary weight loss as stated above, plus liver and muscle glycogen stores (which fuels the majority of exercise) becomes depleted. This will force you to slow down (technically, your power output drops).

Furthermore, virtually the major health organisations throughout the world, including, national cancer and heart foundations advise that these diets are indeed dangerous, and bad for your health.

Depending on the amount and intensity of your activities you should either be aiming for a high % of your diet being derived from carbohydrates (low to moderate glycaemic index, plenty of fresh fruit and veg) and moderate amounts of protein and fat. Or for well trained/those who train a lot athletes should consume specific amounts of carbs related to their body mass, usually at least 6 grams per kg body mass per day (e.g., a 70kg rider would require a minimum of 420g CHO per day).

Loosing amounts of weight in very short periods of time is bad for your health, slows your metabolism, and will have a massively adverse effect on your training.

Keep to the pasta, rice, potatoes, as being the staple of your diet,
Thanks for the valuable advice - what you guys are saying make sense.

The thing that bothered me the most above the protein dieet I was put on, was the limited amount of carbs ... especially with the Argus in a month's time + the amount of training I'm doing at the moment.

The bottom line is I still have about 11kg to get rid of ... which I couldn't achieve the way I was eating before...

Before the protein diet, my diet looked more or less like this:

Breakfast: Cerial/Oats with 2% milk.

During the day: 6 sandwiches with cheese(about 40g)/ham, 4 apples, 2 bananas and 2x low fat quick soup.

Dinner: Chicken/Meat/Fish with pasta/patatos/rice and sometimes veggies.

When drinking coffee/tea I used sweetners instead of sugar.

What I'm aiming for is a diet that enables me to loose weight at a rate of 1 - 1.5kg / week (my current weight is 99.7kg) without affecting my training to much.

My idea is to go back to the above dieet but to replace the starch at dinner with lots of veggies - unless I'm doing a long ride/race the next day. Surely the bread, cerial during the day would be a enough?

Also, I'm not to sure if the sandwiches (6 slices of wholeweat bread) during the day is a good idea? Then I'll also try and avoid the occasional beer and choclate...

Any comments, pointers to relevant articles will be appreciated.
high protein diets and diets that limit food choices are bad for a whole bunch of different reasons.

high protein/low carb diets force the body into a state of ketosis which is where the body breaks down free fatty acids to make ketone bodies in an attempt to make sugar from fat. In a normal diet this is fine but when you switch over to ketones as the primary source of energy a few things happen

1. the rate at which you can metabolise fat compared to carbs is much lower and when you demand a lot of energy for more than a few minutes such as during a long race you will find that your body can't process the fat fast enough to supply your muscles with an optimum amount of energy. This leads to decreased performance.

2. Ketone bodies are toxic in large amounts and may cause organ damage if such a diet is followed for protracted periods of time. No one here would drink nail polish remover and the ketones produced in the body are virtually the same thing.

For people aiming to lose body fat it is important to understand that rapid weighloss is unhealthy and will probably adversely affect lean tissue and water weight more the fat mass. this means less muscle moving proportionately more fat. and thats obviously bad news.

now in terms of diet, a lot of people fail to spread out their protein intake thorughout the day, 6 small serves of 20-30g of protein ( about 100g of meat or the equivalent) is far better than carbs all day followed by a 500g steak at night.
A high protein diet is a huge NO-NO. I've spoken to quite a few people in the health industry and everyone has told me that it can be VERY dangerous and should only be used under strict medical supervision.
Originally posted by ricstern
[Keep to the pasta, rice, potatoes, as being the staple of your diet,
Ric [/B]

ric arent some people a little more predisposed to gaining weight with high carb diets. if not everyone is the same ie blood group and body composition then surely a diet should be designed specifically for each person.?:confused:
Originally posted by bomber
ric arent some people a little more predisposed to gaining weight with high carb diets. if not everyone is the same ie blood group and body composition then surely a diet should be designed specifically for each person.?:confused:

well, energy in must equal energy out to maintain weight. if too much energy is taken in then you'll gain weight. therefore, not everyone will have the same amount of food, those who train more and burn more energy will need to eat more than those who train less, to maintain their weight.

To add to Rics last point.

People often have different rates of metabolism and therefore two seemingly similar people can use different amounts of energy to (1) stay alive (i.e. their resting metabolism), (2) normal daily activities and (3) exercise activities (i.e. often due to differences in economy).

This helps to explain why some people doing similar amounts of work or on similar diets 'tend' to gain weight.

If you want to lose weight create a calorie deficit (i.e. exercise more and/or eat less).

As long as a diet is balanced and has enough energy in it a normal person (i.e. without medical issues) does not need a special diet.
Originally posted by RalleighOke

PS: the last time I was on this diet I lost 15 kg in two weeks...( :)

Surely this tells you enough?

A friend of mine needed to lose 8kg in a week to get to an ocean race crew weight. So I advised that we get rolling drunk, then he did not eat or drink anything. Yes, he lost the weight, by getting rid of water associated with muscle glycogen. (He also ran in a tracksuit in heat to lose the last kg on race day).

Being dehydrated and having no muscle glygogen might make you weigh less, but it's the exact opposite of what you need to race bikes.

The only "fad" diet that has lasted the test of time is healthy eating and exercise. Anything else is just bring in denial of the fact that you'll have to put some effort to shed the weight that a pizza and beer diet will give you.

As the great Dr Rudi once said" If you want to lose weight, you must EAT LESS".


PS. The other thing that noones mentioned about liver cleansing type diets is that they make you irritable (glycogen deficiency) and make you smell funny. Noone wants to be with someone who is skinny but smells funny and is crabby. (Unless she's a supermodel).
Originally posted by Jaco

During the day: 6 sandwiches with cheese(about 40g)/ham, 4 apples, 2 bananas and 2x low fat quick soup.

That looks OK, as long as your commute to work is 100km each way! (by bike).

Try two sandwiches and a piece of fruit for lunch and see how you go, with another piece of fruit. Perhaps cut the ham and cheese out of one of them and put something else in it as well.
I agree with you VO2 in that these high protein low carb diets suck.

But will someone tell me PLEASE how Dr. Atkins is gaining more and more credibility?

I bought his book to see what he had to say and it's basically what we know. I'm half way though it and he keeps mentioning all these studies that back up what he says - but I haven't seen the studies.

Also, he has been on CNN and MSNBC lately pushing his diet. He even had a runner on who swears by Atkins. How does the competitve runner not bonk with no carbs???
Originally posted by MtnBikerChk

But will someone tell me PLEASE how Dr. Atkins is gaining more and more credibility?

Fat people want an instant answer which doesn't involve exercise or cutting back on pizza and beer.

When you are on the diet, you lose weight rapidly, then when you eat normally again, it magically comes back on (did someone say glycogen and water?). Which leads mr fatty to go back on the diet again. (Repeat cycle until effective weight loss drugs are developed which require no exercise or diet).

Let's do an experiment - we'll get all the teams on this years Tour de France to eat the Atkins diet, and see how they perform......
I have gone from 91kg to 76kg since October last year.
Before that I was visiting a local gym and riding about 120km each week for about a year with absolutely no difference. I eat plenty of the right stuff all the time but I had also been eating a fair bit of the wrong stuff.
In September last year I moved town and changed jobs. (Where I was living before there were restaurants right at my back door). I have basically stopped eating hamburgers, pizzas, dairy foods, pasta and curry. I was eating at least three of these types of meals each week. Now I might just have a pizza or something at the end of the month as a treat.
The riding has now turned into 250km each week and because the new job is in the city I have to walk a couple of km each morning through the city.
I put it all down to two things - the increased exercise, and the reduction of COOKED fats/oils.
I started to train seriously this year and within 2 months of 100-150 km / week on the bike and 1-2 gym sessions a week I'd lost the weight from around my waist - back one hole on my belt etc... now my problem is recovery, I'm trying to eat more protein after training and increase the amount of carbs I take in as a general rule. A typical daily diet for me would be:

Breakfast: Coffee - bad I know
Mid morning - pasta or a couple of scones
Lunch: Rice + meat or pizza
Afternoon: fruit
Evening: Rice / pasta / salad + chicken/beef/pork + 1/2 bottle of wine

I have a very fast metabolism which has speeded up no end since training again, I've had to increase the volumes of food involved due to the weight loss and in an attempt to recover better.

So am I doing the right things here do you think?

It's highly likely that the amount of protein you are consuming is more than adequate for your energy requirements. more important is the volume of carbs you are consuming as these aid the recovery and get you ready for subsequent days training. Your diet in general looks okay, with the exception of

1) you should try to eat some food for breakfast - as this will increase your glycogen stores

2) you seem to eat a lot of meat (twice a day), which seems unnecesarily high. some meats (i.e., fatty ones) are associated with cardiovascular disease.

I really don't see the problem in increasing the overall protein consumption if you are an athlete and training at a high level. But there has to be a balance, I think that Atkins inspired diets are generally a poorly designed plan - if you talk to people who are relatively seditary who are on the diet for a long period of time a lot of them tell you they don't well - I couldn't imagine being an athete on that diet. You need a balance of protein, carbs and fats. I have known high calibre athletes (in sports that require strength as well as endurance) who will consume 2,500-3,000g of low-fat protein a day in training, but it isn't to the exclusion of carbohydrates. They need the fuel, and they burn it.

If you are training hard, by all means increase carb, protein and overall calorie consumption - you aren't on a diet - you are training. If you are gaining weight, have lack luster performance, or losing weight too rapidly - adjust your diet and training accordingly.

clever-guy wrote:
I have known high calibre athletes (in sports that require strength as well as endurance) who will consume 2,500-3,000g of low-fat protein a day in training, but it isn't to the exclusion of carbohydrates. They need the fuel, and they burn it.

I assume that you can't possibly mean 2,500 - 3000 grams of protein a day. however, if you mean 2500 - 3000 kcal of protein (625 - 750 grams) a day that would be an extraordinarly large amount. It's suggested that more than 2.0g per kg body mass per day might be bad for you and cause health problems (i.e. > 140 g per day for a 70 kg person).


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