Protein diets – false weight loss

ham and egg omelette with pesto and tomato chutney bread side

Protein diets – false weight loss

If you think that protein diets work because you lose a lot of weight very quickly, you should be aware that all the weight that you do lose on one of these diets is water and lean muscle mass, and if you consider the fact that lean muscle mass burns more calories than fat, then you are doing your weight loss efforts a great disservice.

I think people are drawn to these kinds of diets because they see results fast. One of my friends consults in nutrition and counsels people to eat paleo to lose weight and says that is working because they lose 10 kg in three weeks. It is not working! As soon as you start to eat normally you will put on all the weight you lost as water and muscle mass plus some.

I saw one of my colleagues today. She said that she felt crappy from sugar withdrawals. Presumably because your brain needs carbohydrates to function and without them you are likely to feel pretty bad. Not only that, but this friend gets bigger and bigger after every cycle of protein dieting.

Weight cycling

Your body reacts to weight cycling as it is called and every time you diet, it learns to resist this, so each time it is harder to lose weight. Protein diets are the worst culprits, because they are simply not sustainable.

The best way to lose weight is to cut your calorie intake to 1200 calories per day for women or 1800 calories for men and aim for 0.5 – 1 kg of weight loss per week and be patient. It takes time if you are doing it properly. Any more than that and you are not losing fat, but water and lean muscle. We are talking sizeable amounts of weight if you are being sensible. Say you lose 5-10 kilograms over a two to three month period, have you ever picked up 5kg and felt how much weight this really is? It is huge, over the whole of your body.

Enjoy your food and take it easy and give the protein diet a miss, or you will just reach new pinnacles of weight gain when you start eating normally.

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