High Protein Diet Plan Review – The Ideal Protein Diet Fad

Everyone seems to always be looking for the latest and greatest high protein diet plan. One of my best friends just started the Ideal Protein Diet so I did some research to check it out. I came to the conclusion that this is just another one of those high protein diet plans that is expensive, is potentially dangerous to your body, and is not a long term solution to weight loss or fitness . This is usually the case with any high protein low carb diet plan- what I call a “starvation diet”. The philosophy behind these plans is if you restrict calories, especially those that come from fats and carbohydrates, your body will resort to its’ fat stores for energy, and you will lose weight FAST. This part is true, but there are two drawbacks about this plan that we’ll discuss later. A high protein diet plan advertises that you’ll only burn fat because the diet will supply the body with essential amino acids, sparing the bodies muscle and actually stimulating its growth. They also claim “a dieter will feel energized, look vibrant and feel strong.” Let’s take a closer look at both of these claims.

First, you have to understand that the body ultimately uses three things for energy- glucose, fatty acids, and ketone bodies. Everyone talks about carbs, fat, and protein, but the body only uses glucose, fatty acids, and ketone bodies that are made from carbs, fat, and protein to run its functions. So, let’s take carbs out of the picture. This means no more glycogen (a bunch of glucose molecules linked together) for the body to use. What does the body do then? It starts to do two things- breakdown fat to fatty acids and break down protein to make glucose out of amino acids. This will provide the body with energy. These two processes are simultaneous. When the body breaks down protein to make glucose it doesn’t just take it from muscle, it takes it from all lean body tissue- all muscle AND organs like the liver, kidney, and heart. So, on a low carb high protein diet plan you actually stimulate your body and breakdown the organs that keep the body running. By the way, after 50% loss of lean body tissue, you die.

Second, your central nervous system is the most taxing on energy of all the other body systems. Usually your brain only uses glucose as an energy source. But in times of carbohydrate starvation it will resort to compounds called ketone bodies for energy. To make these compounds your body combines fat fragments. When ketone bodies build up in the blood it decreases the pH (makes it acidic) and this can create an imbalance in an otherwise normally stable system. Overly acidic blood can cause hyperventilation, lethargy, depression, and headaches. So much for looking vibrant and feeling energized.

In essence, while all these fad high protein diet menu plan options claim to help you become stronger, healthier, and have more energy, the sad truth is that most high protein diets that cut out the carbs do the exact opposite, and can be very harmful if used over a long period of time. Because of this, you need to make sure that if you do want to start a protein diet that you do not start one that eliminates carbohydrates from the menu.

So, before starting any high protein low carb diet plan, check with your physician to get his or her opinion. Another great outside personal resource would be a registered dietitian. This is not the same as a nutritionist (by way, that title is not recognized by any institution). A registered dietitian has a degree in the science of food and how you body uses it, and will spend time with you putting together a plan, both a diet and an exercise plan. Most likely your physician won’t spend the time to do this with you. Good luck!

UPDATE: For more information, including some good sources backing up this information, check out my other post: Ideal Protein Diet Review, part II.

71 Responses to “High Protein Diet Plan Review – The Ideal Protein Diet Fad”

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  1. Amanda says:

    I’m on day 3 of the program and like many I’ve experience the hunger between meals. I’ve found a majority of the meals to be edible. I mainly decided to do this diet because my cousin and his wife did it, he lost 60lbs and has kept most of it off. I think everybody’s different, what works for one may not for the other. Some can lose weight by following a balanced diet and going to the gym 5 days a week. I myself, need a structured program to get me through. The way I see it is that it’s just temporary and once you are done and at a your goal, you can maintain it better by making sure you stay balanced. It’s not a quick fix by any means, it will get the excess weight you want off but it won’t stop it from coming back, you always have to stay accountable.

    I tried many different diets over the past couple years. I did weightwatchers and while I still believe in their method, I am looking for a more dramatic change. I’m the kind of person who likes to see change fairly quick in anything(something I must work on!) and I’ve lost 3 lbs so far. It makes me want to keep going and persevere through the hard times. I look forward to fitting into the clothes I’ve had packed away since I can’t remember when and I most look foward to putting my wedding dress on next July and feeling like a million bucks inside and out!

  2. Pete says:

    I like your post, and you seem to know a bit about physiology.

    But, in a class I took on doing research, I was warned to stay away from articles without credentials, or name of the author, or a way to contact the web host, or a date of the last update….. In short articles like the one you have written. You may be completely correct in your assumptions, but you need to give this article the bones it requires to be able to stand as a scientific paper, instead of an opinion.

  3. KAY says:

    I have just completed my 6th week of the Ideal Protein Diet. They say that you will lose 3-5 lbs a week. This number is exaggerated. I mostly lose 2#’s a week. Once, I lost 3, another 4, but that only happened twice through this. Although I only had 26 #’s to lose, at the end of the 6th week, have lost 15 1/2 #’s. It is not exactly what they say, but I am losing slowly, which is better actually. It is very expensive!
    I got sick at the start of it due to lack of sodium. I never salted foods before and was using it very slight, so I had to increase that. I feel I have been sacrificing a lot to lose the small amount I do, so I have mixed feelings about it, because I am losing.
    I researched on-line and discovered that it is the same as a Bariatric diet. Those prices are a lot cheaper too. Probably 1/2 the cost. The Bariatric diet looks to be more of a balanced diet, where you can use Skim Milk, and eat fruit. With the Ideal Protein Diet, you eat their food and 4 cups of vegetables a day. They are very selective about which Vegetables you can eat too. So I will finish this expensive diet out since I only have 10 more #’s to lose, but from that point on I will use the Bariatric food & diet when I need to.
    I do love the way my clothes fit now, my stomach has gone down alot, this is my trouble spot, and I also did this to help lower my slightly high cholesterol & BP.
    You have to be 100 % dedicated and disciplined to be successful with this diet.

  4. steve s says:

    I have been on ideal protein for 5 weeks. I have lost 30lbs. Today I went to my doctor for a unrealted matter and he was amazed. My blood presure was at the best level in the 3 years i have been going to him. My knees stopped hurting because of the excess weight and my energy level is fine. A friend of mine refered me to this diet. He is in phase 4. He lost 75 lbs and has never felt better. None of those things are a problem for me.

  5. discerniblevim says:

    1) it is not high protein. the body needs aprox. 1/2g of protein intake per pound of lean body mass (women) to maintain. You need to ask how much this program provides and is it really high protein! If one is athletic the amount of protein intake increases in order to build muscle.
    2) the program provides a protocol directed amount of protein, sugar free carbs and essential fatty acids.
    3) 1 in 4 people suffer from metabolic syndrome-insulin resistance (some stats at 25% of population), precursor to type 2 diabetes and reason so many diets don’t work for many people and they gain the weight back immediately after coming of other diets.. The Ideal Protein “program” uses a medically validated protocol to rest the pancreas and the receptors of the body’s cells to re-program the body to produce and respond to insulin properly.
    4) the ideal protein program is a medically validated program using specific nutritional protocol implemented over 4 phases. It includes packed foods, real foods (meat and vegetables), and one learns proper eating habits and the effects of various foods nutritional contribution to their weight management goals.
    5) this program is monitored by a medical professional and implemented with a coach. My wife lost roughly 50 lbs, and came of medications for high blood pressure, high cholesterol and acid reflux totaling approx. $100 per month. Her internal medicine doctor monitored her over the program and has now referred several of her patients to the ideal protein program.

    There is a big difference between theory and practice … this article is full of a lot of theory when it comes to the suggested implications. The article introduces correct physical and metabolic facts but in a deceptive order and suggesting implications that are not true.

  6. Brian says:

    Ideal protein is not a high protein diet. There is carbs in it. They also supply the proper minerals to the dieters to prevent acidosis. The author of this blog doesn’t fully understand the program.

  7. Diane says:

    I started Ideal Protein diet in October. I lost 20 lbs easily in about 5 weeks. I weened myself off the diet for the holidays so I would be able to enjoy Christmas and have a few alcoholic beverages (no alcohol on this diet). I was off the diet for about 3 weeks and only gained back 2 lbs. As long as you follow the food combining rules at the end of the program you shouldn’t gain more the a couple of pounds. I am back on the diet starting Monday of this week and I have lost another 5 pounds already. I am very happy with this diet and after the first week I never felt hungry between meals.

  8. JO PARKER says:

    I’ve been on the diet for quite a long time now and have great success at losing weight (80lbs). Unfortunately the minute you go off the diet (whether your cheating or following the maintenance program) you gain weight very rapidly. The only recourse is to stay on the diet. The maintenance plan they give you is very vague and I really believe thats its that way because the folks at Ideal Protein know how to lose weight but dont know how to maintain it. Everyone I have dieted with has gained their weight back. Also the diet is not always medically supervised. There are many Ideal Protein clinics out there run by non-medical people who have been on the diet and want to open a clinic themselves. Discerniblevim
    sounds like and Ideal Protein Clinic owner. His choice of wordsconvinces me that he is from Ideal Protein trying to defend the program. Its a great diet if you want to lose weight. But dont expect to keep it off.

  9. Glenda says:

    I don’t find this diet expensive, if it works it’s well worth the price. I have been on it about 4 months and lost 22 lbs so far. i have cheated so that is why I haven’t lost as much as they say. I did in the first two weeks that I followed it. You have to finish all 4 phases before you can say it doesn’t work. It has been working for my girl friend and myself. This is the first diet I have ever tried and i love it.

  10. James says:

    Author clearly is ignorant of the program. Been on ideal protein for 30 days and have lost 35 pounds and was not clinically obese just 6 feet and 215 pounds to begin. Had lost control of my blood sugar, cravings etc. First week was a little disconcerting but am more stable in energy and mood. There ARE carbs, just restricted to 10% daily allowance to force ketosis. Supplements and water prevent deleterious effects in the short term. The diet is basically what we were designed to eat and is analogous to what hunter/gatherers would eat. Five to eight grams of animal protein and 4cups of vegetables a day plus additional protein in soluble powder form (not great but palatable)! I notice the long knives come out for anything that is considered new- 20 plus years in Europe (ever see a plethora of fat Europeans). They know how to eat. The author above is just another unsubstantiated critic.

  11. Maggie says:

    This food plan (I refuse to use the ‘d’ word) is supported by my local medical clinic. Before offering it to any of their patients, several dozen doctors, nurses, office people, etc. went on the plan to check it out. After 6 months, they offered it to the rest of us. I am Type 2 diabetic. My doctor told me this program was safe for me to do. I was on 2 kinds of insulin plus pills. In just 4 weeks, my blood sugars have been lowered so much that I am now OFF one of the insulins completely, and am down 10 units on the other one. I am averaging a loss of 3 lbs. a week, which is fine with me. The food is, I think, quite tasty, easy to prepare, and there is great variety. You don’t eat just the pre-packaged food, you also eat meat, eggs, veggies, and various supplements. (No fruit, bread or dairy at first, and I do miss that, but it’s not forever.) You also drink lots of water but that’s easy–I just add a little lemon juice for flavor. Yes, this program costs but so does WW (which I have done twice), NutraSystem (which I tried once but couldn’t stand the food), and eating, period. I figure that if I can cut down or cut out some of my meds, that will be a savings. The website has a lot of information. I am 65 and I have been fat for 30 years. For me it’s not about what size I may become, but more about feeling good, having energy, and getting down/off meds.

  12. Megan says:

    I love the IP diet. I have been on it for 2 weeks and have lost 11 lbs. The only thing that I struggle with is the fact that I can’t exercise very hard. I’m afraid if I exercise to much it will hurt the diet process, anyone out there have any tips or experience with this?

  13. Charo says:

    I did the Ideal Protein Diet one year ago. Lost 50 pounds plus a chronic foot pain. Got off two of my meds. Got my husband to do it and he took his cholesterol levels back to below normal and now he does not have to take statines (which are carcinogenic) and we are both one year post-diet. We have been overeating and in a very cold environment with little exercise, and none of us has gained more than 5 pounds in this year.

    It is not realistic to think that once you finish a diet you can eat yourself stupid for life and not gain weight, and yet, with other diets I have lost little weight and then regained it and some. This does not happen with IP. Everybody I recommended it to have had a great success and are much healthier and energetic.


    IP does not offer a high level of protein, plus it offers it in an attractive variety that makes it more doable for dieters, since you fell you are not eating the proverbial steak and salad every day.

    The first days are horrible, indeed, because your body is accustomed to take energy from carbs, which is a very easy eat-and-burn process, whereas on IP, it has to resource to your fat deposits to function and the change is not easy. IP builds up muscle and does not leave you flabby or stretch-marked when you are done.

    If you are considering weight loss, plunge in Ideal Protein without reservations. I know of nobody for whom this system failed. Plus it is not expensive. When you crunch the numbers, it is cheaper than eating at McDonald’s, that is without keeping in mind all the sweets, treats and cheezies you used to indulge in.

    Good luck and be gorgeous this summer.

  14. Jude says:

    On Jan 9/12, I started Ideal Protein for the 2nd time – with my daughter inspiring me with her over 40 lb. loss of weight so far (she started in early Dec/11). I have lost 27 pounds so far and hope to lose another 3 lbs. by next Friday, which will 30 lbs. in 2 months. I started at 242 lbs. and am now at 215 lbs! So excited – haven’t been down here for several years! My next goal is 200 lbs., then under 200 lbs., then to 170 lbs. which is what I was in high school (I am a 66 year old grandmother of 10, and 5’8″ tall). I have had a weight problem since puberty and I played every sport I could in school, especially volleyball from grade 5 to grade 12, so I was no couch potato. After I finished menopause at age 53, every carbohydrate I ate went straight to fat (pancreas). Now, every pound I lose I can feel how much better my arthritic knees feel. I am off my acid-reflux medication (Nexium – which is very expensive) and have much more energy. I adhere to Ideal Protein very closely and am not hungry, don’t have chocoholic cravings because I make “hot chocolate” twice a day using the chocolate shake and feel great!! I am sleeping much better, don’t wake up with aches and pains at all, can walk down the stairs first thing in the morning without placing both feet on the same stair tread because my knees are stiff, and one of the best results of the Ideal Program way of eating is that my complexion is SO much better because my digestive system isn’t pissed off at me for mixing my foods (carbs and proteins)!! Yes, the Ideal Protein food is expensive, but I think my health is worth it. I just heard recently that if you get a note from your doctor referring you to this diet where a loss of weight is needed for your good health, then you can declare your I.P. receipts as a medical expense on your income tax here in Canada. I haven’t confirmed this with my accountant but I am going to try. I have “dieted” since I was a teenager, and every diet I tried, the weight went right back on plus more. I feel that with this way of eating, I will stick with it for the rest of my life, and I think I will be having at least 2 packs of my I.P. “hot chocolate” forever, as that is my unguilty pleasure!!

  15. Alex says:

    I have been on ideal protein now for a full 9 weeks and I feel amazing! I have lost 32 pounds on this diet and would recommend it to anyone. I was stuck in the 190’s for so long and couldn’t seem to get out… This morning I weighed in at 163 pounds. My goal weight is 145… Anyone who has will power will do amazing on this diet, just stick to it and fight the hunger!!


  16. Priscilla Sky RN says:

    I have been on IP before and it works for weight loss. You also benefit from giving the pancreas a break from releasing insulin (which is great for diabetics, they actually get to stop taking meds, and in turns lowers blood pressure, which many people also stop taking pills for.) Insulin is a “fat hormone” that helps retain excess calories to preserve the body during times of starvation. Which is not the case these days, we have an overbundance of food. It is they way are bodies are programmed to behave from waaay back. There is no fighting Mother Nature! You really have to see to believe, and I am thinking of opening a clinic myself! As for the cost. How much is your health worth? And you won’t be buying regular groceries for yourself.

  17. Rick says:

    “When the body breaks down protein to make glucose it doesn’t just take it from muscle, it takes it from all lean body tissue- all muscle AND organs like the liver, kidney, and heart. So, on a low carb high protein diet plan you actually stimulate your body and breakdown the organs that keep the body running. By the way, after 50% loss of lean body tissue, you die.”

    This is why our paleolithic ancestors died off long ago for lack of bread and sugar and further confirms the Idea that humans were put here by aliens. Seriously I have been on a high protein low (glycemic) carb diet for a year now and have lost 35 lbs and gained muscle.also I have just had blood work done and at 52 my hormone levels are like that of a 20-30 year old. I personally would not purchase a diet plan just eliminate high glycemic or processed carbs eat plenty of protein, good fats (including good saturated fats like coconut oil) and thermogenic vegetables (none starch) remember there are 8 essential amino acids, 3 essential fatty acids but there are no essential carbs.

  18. amy says:

    That is funny Rick.

    For the author:

    Your knowledge is limited and you should be more responsible with your writing. In a society where there is an obesity epidemic, this program is changing lives. Lowering LDL cholesterol, tryglicerides, high blood pressure, blood sugar levels, and abdominal fat is nothing to shake a stick at. This is a protocol that anyone could use to live a long healthy life and perhaps hand down good eating habits to the next generation. No, you can’t die from following it correctly. Expensive….maybe. But my health is priceless. In the past, I have spent more $$ in eating unhealthy at over-priced restaurants than what it costs to be on the program per week.

  19. Morgan says:

    Ive been on Ideal Protein for just over a week now and have been getting bad acne breakouts?is that normal?

  20. Mag says:

    Wow! What an ignorant article. Clearly the irrisponsilbe individual that wrote it has no idea what he or she is talking about and is more interested in sounding pompous. Just read the posts before passing judgement! You could be putting people’s health and welfare into jeopardy by making false claims, as your science is clearly flawed. To begin with this is NOT a high protein diet, it is a SUFFICIENT protein diet. Secondly, carbs are allowed but they are limited so as to promote a state of MILD ketosis. The article confuses KETOACIDOSIS with being in ketosis, which is a typical novice mistake. Check your facts before spewing nonsense, and hopefully a morbidly obese person who was thinking of joining this program and making it to a ripe old age will not be dissuaded from it due to your stupid rantings.

  21. Jude says:

    Well – I made a comment on this blog way back on March 3, 2012 stating that my goal on Ideal Protein was 170 pounds, the same weight I was in High School many years ago. As of this morning, I am 171 pounds. That is a loss of 71 pounds in less than 7 months (I started on Jan 9/12)! I feel great! My knees barely bother me anymore and I can kneel on them to garden again! I am 66 years old and have more energy than someone 10 years younger than me. This way of eating (Ideal Protein) has been very easy for me as I love the food and if ever I feel like going off the diet, I just end up eating another IP food. Now the easy part is almost over (I have 3 more pounds to get to goal – I have to be 168 pounds on my scale to weigh in at 170 pounds on the IP scale with clothes on), the hard part starts – keeping the weight off. I plan to go back to eating fresh fruit for breakfast (until 11 a.m.), a carb or meat with veggies or salad for lunch, an IP food (Strawberry Wafer – yum!) for 4 p.m. snack and chicken and veggies or salad for dinner. Makes me happy and healthy!!

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