26 Apr High Protein Fad Diet
DIETS DON’T WORK
If you’ve seen my Instagram Live, “Top 10 Healthy Diet Tips,” you’ve probably heard me preach that “DIETS DON’T WORK!” That’s because they don’t – not long-term, anyways. And once you start down the diet path, you’ll find yourself stuck in the rut of yo-yo dieting.🪀
Fad diets, which often make pseudoscientific or unreasonable claims for quick weight loss or health improvements, have kept many of us on this never-ending, health-sabotaging rollercoaster ride of cyclical weight loss and weight gain—a ride packed with broken promises and (ultimately) ever-expanding waistlines.
The fact is that only ONE group of folks benefit from these fad diets: the manufacturers! 😳
Would you rather watch to learn? Watch the live replay show now!
Yep, that’s right! With every fad diet, millions of dollars are grossed by big corporations who manufacture the self-proclaimed “healthy meals” (which are often just well-disguised, straight-up JUNK food ). These corporations have brainwashed us to believe that their products are necessary to stay slim and healthy. From the Keto and South Beach Diets to the Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig’s of the world to the “High Protein Diet” of the 2020s, big business capitalizes on feeding us🍴(no pun intended) misinformation while they fatten us up like livestock. And then, yet another boomerang diet will be introduced, and the corporate bigwigs will be off to the races trying to manufacture food products for that newest fad. Food products that potentially harm our metabolic health and do nothing to further healthy weight loss. It’s kind of f#cked up if you think about it. 🤬
MARKETING THE SUPERMARKET EXPERIENCE
But with so much conflicting data on the ideal diet, it’s difficult to know if you have been duped by the marketing and promotions of big business and are stuck in the middle of a fad diet. It happens. I know. It occurred to me in the ’80s! Yes, that was me– the fat-free Fig-Newton-eating girl with a refrigerator packed with dessert-flavored non-fat Yoplait yogurt (Key Lime Pie! …droooolll 🤤).
A funny thing happened after I came to my senses (which was around the time my favorite jeans became a little snug): I got angry – angry that I had wasted time and effort and MONEY in the name of healthy eating. Yet I had been fooled into doing the exact opposite of what was healthy. These non-fat processed foods secretly contained more sugar than their full-fat versions – which means we gained weight and sabotaged our metabolic health. All that, plus it costs MORE MONEY! So yeah, I was pissed!
Buzzwords like “non-fat,” “low-fat,” and “low-calorie,” often seen on food packaging back in the ’80s, seduced us into buying those products in the name of better health. Just as today’s buzz words – “keto-friendly,” “gluten-free,” “paleo,” and “high-protein” – line the “Healthy Choices” of supermarket shelves today. Health food stores are some of the unhealthiest places to shop for groceries because we wrongfully assume that everything inside those automatic sliding glass doors is healthy. And if we think something is good for us, we WILL eat more of it.
As I said, I know this firsthand. In the ’80s, when I fell victim to the mass marketing of “healthy non-fat diets,” I thought…
1 regular cookie = 3 fat-free cookies 🍪.
(1988- “Duh, makes perfect sense!”)
(2023 – “Gasp, do you know much sugar that is?”)
As a Gerontologist and Healthy Aging Coach, one of my many tasks when working with a new client is to help untangle the food manufacturers’ marketing claims and sharpen my client’s sense of what REAL food looks like. You would never see an advertisement for broccoli. But you would for paleo-friendly, gluten-free dehydrated broccoli-flavored rice pilaf! Why do they do it? Do those buzz-worthy labels make us buy more products?
YES! They make us feel good about our purchases AND eat more of them.
A FEW FAD DIETS DURING MY LIFETIME
- The Atkins Diet: Devised by Robert Atkins in the 1970s, The Atkins diet is a low-carbohydrate fad diet that claims carbohydrate restriction is crucial to weight loss. According to Atkins, the diet offered “a high-calorie way to stay thin forever.” According to its founder, the Atkins diet routine helps the body to burn fat instead of carbs.
NOTE: This diet has some precious elements, and many people find this restricted diet successful. But be aware: lifetime maintenance is required. If you are a fan, rest assured that hyper-processed foods bearing the name “Atkins” can still be found in most major supermarkets. Some of these products are only a step up from the standard candy bar🍫, and because of this, they should be considered as just that: a slightly better version of a candy bar.
- The South Beach Diet: Carbohydrate restriction is a significant part of the Atkins and South Beach Diet. However, “good carbs” are allowed in the South Beach Diet. Yet, South Beach Dieters must omit potatoes, fruit, bread, cereal, rice, pasta, beets, carrots, and corn for the first two weeks.
NOTE: Both the Atkins and South Beach have phases to the diets in which lifetime maintenance is required. Some say this diet has helped them, yet most point to the requirement of highly restrictive eating that takes superhuman willpower to adhere to and ultimately causes a boomerang 🪃 effect of failed diets and returning weight.
- Paleo: The Paleo Diet includes eating meat, fish, eggs, fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, herbs and spices, and healthy fats and oils. Foods to avoid include processed foods, sugar, soft drinks, artificial sweeteners, and trans fats. The diet suggests limiting grains, most dairy, and legumes.
NOTE: This diet SEEMS all good in terms of eating whole foods for a healthy lifestyle… However, there is no limit to animal products, which increases the risk of cardiovascular disease. Some dieters see this as an opportunity to eat as much bacon and steak as their heart desires. (Leading to a higher risk of heart disease! 🫀) Can you lose weight by cutting out sugar and processed foods and eating bacon daily? Yes… Should you? ABSOLUTELY NOT! “Hunting and gathering” like our ancestors does not mean shopping for steaks from your air-conditioned butcher shop.
- Keto: The Ketogenic Diet is a low-carb, high-fat diet. It involves limiting the intake of the number of carbohydrates and replacing them with fat, which is theorized to help your body burn fat for energy. Proponents of the Keto Diet argue that benefits include weight loss and lowering your risk for certain diseases.
NOTE: While it is true that limiting carbohydrates will reduce your blood sugar level and require your body to reach into its own fat cells for energy, you do NOT need to EAT fat to BURN fat. Reaching a state of ketosis is easy with Intermittent Fasting. Restrict the time of day you eat ⏰, and your body will automatically go into your fat storage for energy. You don’t need keto-friendly coffee, bars, or frozen foods to achieve this. Those are a waste of money. In addition, a high-fat diet is not healthy regarding cardiovascular functions.
- Gluten-Free: “Gluten-Free Diet” was born out of a medical condition in which people with Celiac disease could not digest gluten – a structural protein found in wheat, rye, and triticale (a hybrid of wheat and rye) – and therefore needed gluten-free alternatives. However, it has caught on as a Fad Diet buzzword that now graces food packaging throughout the supermarket. Products that never contained gluten in the first place are jumping on the gluten-free bandwagon in hopes of selling more products because we have been taught (falsely) that it is healthier.
NOTE: This is one diet fad that I try to adhere to, not because I have Celiac Disease, but because the “dwarf wheat” (look it up!) that we use in processed cereals, bread, and crackers has been modified to the point that, once it enters the digestive tract, our body can’t distinguish between a saltine cracker and ordinary table sugar.
- Vegan/Plant-Based: Perhaps this shouldn’t be considered a “fad,” since it’s an approach to eating that is centuries old. As old as mankind. And it’s precisely what you think it is. Whether you are vegan for ethical reasons, health reasons, or both, I GET you. We all need to eat more fruits & vegetables and less meat, sugar, & processed foods. 🥑🫐🥦
NOTE: It is a myth that vegans do not get enough protein. They do. What strict vegans may be lacking is Vitamin B12, which is only found in animal products, so I highly recommend for my vegan clients a B12 supplement. Calcium, iodine, and iron may also be low in vegans, but these are easily consumed through a conscious vegan diet. BUT it is also a myth that vegan diets are healthier. There are some very unhealthy vegans. Vegan ice creams, non-dairy products, sugary snacks, and ultra-processed foods can still be vegan, yet terrible for your health.
- High Protein Diet: The High Protein Diet will be a topic by itself quite soon because I am sure I will get A LOT of backlash on this one! We Americans are IN LOVE with our current High Protein Fad Diet. A high-protein diet is a diet in which 20% or more of the total daily calories come from protein. Most high-protein diets are high in saturated fat and severely restrict the intake of carbohydrates. Example foods in a high-protein diet include lean beef, chicken or poultry, pork, salmon and tuna, and eggs🥚. But sometimes, we can’t see the metaphorical forest through the trees. We are far too busy trying to get protein at every meal that we do not realize we are consuming WAY more than what is healthy. Protein powders and bars are all the rage right now, and with the number of grams of protein being front and center on food packaging, it is easy to see that we have, once again, fallen for the marketing from big corporations.
NOTE: When was the last time a doctor treated an American for low protein intake? I would bet it’s not in your doctor’s lifetime. Please don’t believe me: ask them. I am sorry to break the news to you. We are in the middle of a Fad Diet, folks. Ugh!
The recommended daily amount of adult protein differs slightly depending on activity level🏃♀️and can be calculated based on your body weight. Harvard Health Publishing (Harvard Medical School) suggests .36 grams of protein daily per pound weight. This is far less than what a typical protein-obsessed American in ingesting. Want to calculate your RDA of protein? Use the USDA online calculator.
Other scientists, such as Dr. Valter Longo, the head of the Longevity Center at USC and creator of the PROLON 5-Day Fast-Mimicking Diet, suggests that even Harvard’s recommendation of .36 g x body weight in lbs. is on the high end.
Longo suggests a low protein diet for optimal health and longevity: “If you are below the age of 65, keep protein intake low (0.31 to 0.36 grams per pound of body weight). That comes to 40 to 47 grams of proteins per day for a person weighing 130 pounds, and 60 to 70 grams of protein per day for someone weighing 200 to 220 pounds.”
Folks, I’m a holistic nutritionist, a Healthy Aging Coach, and a gerontologist, and I do not keep track of my protein intake. Why? Because so long as I am eating a healthy diet, I’m not at risk of being protein deficient.
In case you aren’t baffled enough about what big business is doing to our waistlines, here are some adverse effects of eating too much protein…
👉 Too much protein may increase your risk of several diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, and many other degenerative and neurodegenerative disorders.
👉 Excess protein leads to the accumulation and growth of senescent cells (zombie cells). In times of protein scarcity, these harmful zombie cells can be rounded up and restructured into healthy proteins through autophagy. Excess protein intake, however, hinders this process and adds to the problem.
👉 Symptoms of too much protein include dehydration, irritability, headache, diarrhea, unexplained exhaustion, upset stomach, indigestion, and bad breath.
👉 Serious risks of chronic protein overconsumption: liver and kidney damage, cardiovascular disease, blood vessel disorders, increase risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease, bone loss, seizures, Type 2 diabetes, cancer, and death.
SO NOW WHAT?
Throughout my lifetime – and those of everyone who came before me – we often unknowingly find ourselves in the middle of a diet that is marketed as “cutting edge” and “healthy,” only to find out later that it was a fad that has gone the way of the “Cabbage Soup Diet,” the “Watermelon Diet” and the “Richard Simmons Never Say Diet diet.”
DON’T DIET. EAT HEALTHY.
My Top Picks for Ultimate Health:
HOW TO EAT: I’ve been doing a 16:8 Intermittent Fasting schedule ⌛️ (16-hour fast, followed by an 8-hour window of eating) for nearly 30 years now. I highly recommend this Intermittent Fasting Kit. This is not a fad diet. This is a scientifically-proven ideal way of eating supported by numerous studies that have stood the test of time. Now that we know how to eat, you may be asking…
WHAT DO I EAT???
Start with “Real Food”- meaning if you can’t pick it, pluck it from the earth, or (if you are a meat eater) catch it, then it’s not realfood.
Eat the colors of the rainbow🌈 , shopping organic whenever possible.
Fill up on high-fiber foods first (fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds), followed by small amounts of pasture-raised, organic, lean cuts of meats or fish. If you are vegan, forego the meat and fish and add lentils, garbanzo beans, or other vegetable protein sources.
The Mediterranean Diet, as well as the Okinawa diet, are not “diets” per se. They are approaches to eating. People who live in Greece would not say they are on a “Mediterranean Diet.” It’s just how and what they eat. Yet, adherence to these types of food and eating yields the lowest rate of age-related diseases and the highest number of centenarians. 🤗
So that’s it. That’s my overview of Fad Diets. Please don’t fall prey to the latest fads that sabotage our health and expand our waistlines.
And as always, I am here to help you navigate through it all! If you’re struggling to get to your healthiest weight, I can coach you with a personalized plan. Book a one-on-one session today!