Social media may be flooded with many reports of how aggressively going on a seven-day, high-protein diet may help you lose weight without too much effort. But it is unsustainable in the long term. And here’s why. Weight loss depends on eating fewer calories than you are used to and simultaneously increasing fat burn through intense physical activity. A high-protein diet (which yields 25 per cent of your total calories) and a typical protein diet (15 per cent of total calories) will yield the same weight loss if both diets are equally calorie-restricted. Protein does not cause weight loss. But a diet high in it guarantees satiety, keeps you feeling full longer, arrests cravings and helps build lean muscle mass in the body. A seven-day special meal plan cannot give you these results in the short-term. This is because it’s not sustainable.
- It’s difficult to stick to a diet that’s so restrictive and you’re likely to regain the weight you lose once you go back to your usual eating habits.
- It can lead to nutrient deficiencies. When you restrict your intake of certain food groups, you’re more likely to miss out on important vitamins and minerals, such as iron, calcium, and folate. This can lead to health problems, such as anemia, osteoporosis, and birth defects.
- This diet can damage your kidneys. The kidneys are responsible for filtering out excess protein from the blood. If you eat too much protein, your kidneys can become overworked and damaged. A high protein intake for a long time can cause digestive and bone disorders too. People with a very active lifestyle can tolerate higher amounts of protein than those with a sedentary lifestyle.
- You can feel more tired and sluggish. Protein is a slow-digesting nutrient, so it can make you feel full and tired. This can make it difficult to exercise, which is important for weight loss.
- It can lead to disordered eating. Following extreme diets can lead to unhealthy attitudes towards food and eating.
- Eating too much protein can cause digestive problems, such as constipation, diarrhoea and gas.
- Eating too much protein can lead to dehydration, which can cause fatigue, dizziness and headaches.
If you’re looking to lose weight, it’s important to focus on healthy, sustainable changes to your diet and lifestyle. Talk to your doctor or a registered dietitian for personalised advice on reducing your calorie intake to low levels. Women should have diets with 1,200 to 1,500 calories, men with 1,500 to 1,800 calories. Your health care provider will look at your body weight and devise activity levels, too, when planning your diet. Usually, you need to eat about 30 per cent fewer calories than your daily needs.
While diet control is necessary, exercise is an equal pillar that’s needed in keeping your weight from returning. You should aim for at least 150 minutes a week of physical activity, such as brisk walking. Higher activity levels are more successful at maintaining weight loss. Losing weight through diet alone is never recommended. In fact, you’re likely to lose muscle mass as your body makes up the calorie deficit by using protein as well as stored carbohydrates and fat. Only a calorie-restricted diet, adequate exercises with a special focus on muscle-strengthening and aerobic activities work. This will also reduce your risk of diabetes, blood pressure and heart disease.