What is a protein diet?
A protein diet is a restriction in the diet of foods that contain carbohydrates. Most often, this diet is used for weight loss, but in bodybuilding it can also be used to gain muscle mass. The disadvantage of protein nutrition is the risk of increased ammonia, as well as the possible development of digestive problems and some forms of vitamin deficiency with prolonged abandonment of vegetables.
In this article, we will consider popular diets that have the right to be considered protein - traditional bodybuilder nutrition with a high protein content; the growing paleo diet with its rejection of modern food; a carbohydrate-free keto diet, considered the best way to quickly burn fat; two variations of the keto diet are the Atkins American diet and the Russian Kremlin diet. In addition, we will separately focus on the growing popularity of the Japanese diet.
Calorie boost and plenty of protein
The most common version of a protein diet is the traditional bodybuilding recommendation that the amount of protein in your diet should be maximized. Most often we are talking about the daily intake of 3-4 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, which gives 240-320 g for an athlete weighing 80 kg. The total calorie intake is determined from the calculation of 40-50 kcal per kg of weight - 3200-4000 kcal per day with the mentioned 80 kg. The daily fat requirement is calculated as 30% of the total calorie content - 960-1200 kcal or, given that 1 g of fat contains 9 kcal, 110-140 g of fat per day. The remaining calories are carbohydrates in the amount of 5-7 g per kg of body weight.
However, in order to consume 240-320 grams of protein per day, at least a kilogram of various meat and an additional intake of protein shakes are required. At the same time, it is important to mention that recent scientific studies indicate that, firstly, eating red meat in quantities exceeding 300 g per week negatively affects health, and secondly, that muscle growth does not need to be consumed at all a huge amount of protein and modest enough 1-2 grams per kg of body weight (1) . The reason is that the more protein an organism receives with food, the less “economically” it refers to it - a certain proportion is simply utilized. Protein intake at the lower limit teaches the body to use protein to the maximum, sending it straight to muscle recovery. This fact explains the presence of professional bodybuilders among vegetarians.
Any meat, fish, vegetables and nuts are acceptable.
Paleo-diet is the principle of nutrition, which consists in the rejection of modern products. The diet should consist exclusively of what was known to mankind many thousands of years ago, during the Paleolithic period, which gave the name to the diet. Since sugar and any crops are excluded in the first place, the diet is inherently protein. Unlike many other diets, paleo diet does not impose serious restrictions on the amount of food consumed, nor on the methods of its preparation. You can boil meat, fish and vegetables that are allowed in the diet, either cook, stew or fry - this does not matter. The result is weight loss and normalization.
Despite the fact that the exclusion from the diet of flour and dairy products, industrial food (fast food, frozen foods, various types of pizza) and sugar in all manifestations at first glance seems complicated, in reality this is not entirely true. In fact, people who have been caring for a figure have been avoiding these products for so long - the paleo-diet builds such a diet in a logical structure. In addition, opinions are increasingly being found that it is modern food that is the true cause of many diseases - you will not find a single nutritionist who claims that sugar, gluten and convenience foods are good for your health. In Russia, the first materials on paleo-diet appeared in 2014 on our website, and the current year will undoubtedly be a year of rapid growth in the popularity of this traditional dietary regimen.
Limit carbohydrates to 30 g per day
The next most popular version of the protein diet is a carbohydrate-free diet , also called the keto diet. As the name implies, such a diet involves an almost complete rejection of carbohydrates. In the absence of carbohydrates, the body rebuilds metabolism, starting to get the glucose necessary for the brain to work from amino acids and free fatty acids. The most important factor in the popularity of the keto diet is that after 4-5 days after giving up carbohydrates, the body begins to use fat stores as the main source of energy - the result is rapid weight loss due to fat deposits, and not muscle tissue.
The advantage of a carbohydrate-free keto diet is that the rejection of carbohydrates does not impose significant restrictions on the total calorie intake - in fact, any products in any quantities are allowed if they do not contain carbohydrates. The basis of the diet are various types of meat and fish. At the same time, more than 50% of calories are in fat - according to this criterion, a diet can be considered high-fat. The consumption of carbohydrates is allowed in an amount of 30-50 g per day (most of them will be either indigestible fiber or go to the brain). The disadvantage of a keto diet is that the rejection of carbohydrate-containing foods robs the diet of virtually all vitamins and important microminerals. In addition, scientific studies that diets with a high level of protein intake can cause various health problems are increasingly common (2) . In sports, a cyclic keto diet is used .
Avoiding simple carbohydrates and sugars
A lightweight version of the keto diet is the Atkins diet. If the classic keto-diet implies a ratio of the resulting fat and calorie protein in a ratio of 4: 1 (per 2500 kcal - 2000 kcal per fat, or 220 g per day; 500 kcal per protein, or 125 g per day), then even the introductory the induction phase of the Atkins diet is not so tough. During the period of the greatest popularity of the diet, in 2003-2004, according to its rule, approximately 10% of the adult population of the USA and Canada fed, and pasta sales fell by the same 10% (3) . The reason for the mass fame was the dissemination of opinions about the dangers of any carbohydrates and attributing them responsibility for the obesity epidemic.
After the death of the author of the diet, Robert Atkins, the popularity of his diet declined sharply, and in 2005 the company he founded declared himself bankrupt. The cause of the fall in popularity of the diet can probably be called the work of food lobbyists - despite numerous publications on the possible harm to the Atkins low-carb diet for health, none of them has been confirmed by independent scientific research. However, without denying the effectiveness of the diet, FitSeven never put it on the recommended list because it, like any low-carb diet, is not suitable for strength training - it is almost impossible to train with a barbell in a state of ketosis. The only carbohydrate-free diet suitable for sports is the cyclic keto diet, which we examined in detail in the Six-Pack Project training program.
Ball system diet, counting carbohydrates (points)
The Russian version of the Atkins diet is the Kremlin diet . According to this diet, each product is assigned a “price” in arbitrary units, where each point is one gram of carbohydrates. The number of points scored per day should not exceed a certain value, different at certain stages of the diet. During the restructuring of the body to a new diet, the first two weeks (in the induction phase) must strictly adhere to the limit of 20 points. At the stage of losing weight, a limit of 40 points is established. To save weight you need to gain up to 60 points. It is believed that when consuming carbohydrates for more than 60 points, weight gain occurs.
The main complaint against the Kremlin diet is to bring mathematics to the forefront of scoring, rather than logic behind the calculation. Meeting a new product, losing weight on this diet is not able to independently decide whether the product is acceptable - it needs a mandatory reconciliation with a tablet. The word "ketosis" is not found even in books devoted to this diet, as well as the classification of fats into useful and harmful. The list of permitted products that give zero points also raises many doubts - alcohol and meat products such as sausages are allowed, while fiber-rich foods are practically prohibited. Despite the logic that is deeply at the core of the Kremlin diet, we do not recommend following it - the original, Atkins diet, is much more reasonable and complete.
A sharp restriction of the diet for 13 days
At the end of the review, I would like to dwell separately on the so-called "Japanese diet", which is rapidly gaining popularity on the Russian Internet. Texts reprinted from one site to another contain a reference to the fact that “the diet was developed by the Japanese Yaeks clinic” - however, with the same amount of truth, you can write that the diet was developed by the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Most interestingly, the diet recommends foods that are not at all typical of Japan - for example, boiled beef, stewed cabbage and zucchini.
At its core, the diet is low-carb and low-calorie. Since the basis of the recommended diet is boiled and fried fish, beef and eggs, the diet can be considered protein. Given that the 13-day menu is extremely sparse, and the total caloric value is unlikely to exceed 1000 calories, the diet will really work. However, the health consequences will not be long in coming - firstly, due to the extremely low content of vitamins in recommended foods, and secondly, due to the consequences of a typical hungry diet. As soon as the body realizes that food is available again, it will begin to actively gain what it received during the days of the hunger strike. The result will be the return of lost weight and a set of additional fat reserves in case of the next attempt to torment oneself with the help of the "Japanese system".
- How Much Protein Do You Really Need ?, source
- High-Protein, Low-Carb Diets Explained, source
- Atkins Bankruptcy a Boon for Pasta Makers, source