Many people looking to lose weight, get fit and maintain lean body mass turn to the Ideal Protein Diet. By following a high-protein, calorie- and carbohydrate-restricted diet, this is an attainable goal. Is the Ideal Protein Diet right for you? Before deciding, it's important to understand the basics of this plan.
What Is the Ideal Protein Diet Method?
The Ideal Protein Diet is a commercial diet developed by a medical doctor named Tran Tien Chanh, MD, PhD. It was designed 25 years ago as a means of preserving lean body mass, including muscles, bones and other tissues, while losing fat. The diet's designer spent his career specializing in the treatment of obesity and obesity-related disease.
The Theory Behind the Ideal Protein Diet
During his years of treating obesity, Dr. Chanh came to believe the biggest source of weight problems was rooted in the body's dysfunctional use of insulin. According to this theory, this insulin dysfunction starts in human beings by excessive intake of simple carbohydrates, processed foods, sugar and saturated fat.
According to Dr. Tran Tien, this type of diet leads to an ever-increasing cycle of increased sugar and fat cravings, which lead to weight gain, which leads to poor insulin function. All of this then circles back on itself in a worsening spiral of weight gain and poor health.
Dr. Tran Tien's diet is designed to break this cycle by limiting carbohydrate and sugar intake, supplementing with important electrolytes and vitamins and teaching the body to live off its stored fat. To accomplish this, Dr. Tran Tien developed a line of high-protein, low-fat, low-carbohydrate products that people eat along with healthy food options like leafy green vegetables and lean protein.
The diet takes place in four phases. Each phase involves purchasing prepackaged protein powders and supplements.
In the first phase, drink three prepackaged protein drinks per day and eat one meal that includes a lean-protein and leafy vegetables. Take the plan's supplements, an important part of the first phase, which is extremely low-calorie, low-fat and low-carbohydrate. The first phase lasts from two to six weeks.
Phase two lasts from one to two weeks. In the second phase, eat two limited meals that include five ounces of lean meat or poultry with raw or cooked vegetables and two tablespoons of oil, as well as two meals that include the protein packs. Some lean-dairy is also allowed in the second phase. Calories, fat and carbohydrates are still fairly low.
In phase three, healthy carbohydrates are reintroduced. This phase lasts about two weeks total. During phase three, eat a small serving of whole-grain carbohydrates such as whole wheat toast or whole-grain (sugar-free) cereal with breakfast, along with a piece of fruit. For lunch and dinner, eat five ounces of lean meat or poultry, green vegetables, a small amount of oil and a serving of lean dairy. You may also have an afternoon protein snack such as protein powder.
In this phase, assume your "every day" diet. Maintain the breakfast from phase three with a small amount of protein. For lunch eat six to seven ounces of lean protein and unlimited vegetables, along with low-fat dairy and oil. Protein powder is still recommended for an afternoon snack, and dinner is vegetable soup, an ounce of a complex-carbohydrate grain such as whole grain pasta and lean protein.
What to Expect
According to the Ideal Protein website, "Typical results vary up to 6 and 8 pounds lost during the first two weeks and up to 2 pounds per week thereafter when the Ideal Protein Weight Loss Protocol is followed properly." Those on the diet confirm that, provided you follow the diet exactly, this is a realistic goal, and increased energy is a bonus. The diet even provides advice for how to handle the slip-ups that naturally occur as a part of the weight loss and maintenance process.
Follow the Diet Closely
This diet is a low-carbohydrate, calorie-restricted diet. Unlike other low-carbohydrate diets such as the Atkins diet, it limits fat intake as a means of controlling calories, and unlike traditional calorically controlled diets, it limits the number of carbohydrates you eat. If you select this diet, follow it exactly as prescribed. Eating outside the plan hampers the chemical process that take place to balance your insulin production. As always, before going on any diet, check with your personal health care provider.