Statistics show that one out of every three people claim to be making dietary changes or are on a prescribed diet, yet obesity rates are still soaring. Even though weight gain usually occurs over a long period of time, most people expect quick-fix slimming solutions. This is why high protein and low carb diets have gained popularity. They offer rapid results while providing a natural perseverance for the dieter.
So, can you lose weight on a meat and cheese diet? Yes, you can, but not on meals that literally consist of only meat and cheese. You will need to make sure that you are balancing all the nutrients you need and you will also want to make sure that the carbs you do eat are the right kind. Understanding what such diets involve will help guide you in finding the best method to lose weight effectively.
What are low carb, high protein diets?
Despite dietary proteins being the least studied weight loss nutrients, low carb, high protein diets are the most popular. The Atkins Diet is one of the most famous. It was initially developed in 1970 and later updated and revised. Dr. Robert Atkin’s diet book has sold more than 25 million copies worldwide since 1992. Although the Atkin’s diet was initially developed to reverse symptoms of heart disease and high cholesterol, it actually proved to be a great method of weight loss for those who were unable to lose weight through other dieting methods.
Although there isn’t a standard definition for ‘high protein’ the Atkin’s diet recommended protein intake is about twice the current average for Americans. Carbohydrates, on the other hand, are restricted to very low levels such as 20 grams daily during the ‘induction’ phase. That is substantially lower than what people typically consume.
There is a lot of concern regarding the high amounts of dietary cholesterol and saturated fat which is believed to contribute to heart disease and high blood cholesterol levels as well as premature aging and cancer. However, Atkin’s research showed that his patients actually lowered their “bad” blood cholesterol levels while on the diet.
How the diets work
The body has to use its fat stores of energy when you drastically reduce your carbohydrate intake. Toxic ‘ketones’ form resulting in fats being burned improperly. One of the side effects is a decrease in appetite so you do not feel hungry often. That tends to work well if you want to lose weight but don’t have much willpower.
There will also be some initial weight loss (two to four pounds in the first week) which is mostly due to fluid loss. This is a good motivator but body fluid does get replaced so don’t confuse it with body fat loss.
When you cut out certain food groups from your diet you need to be careful to get enough essential nutrients. These foods will ensure you maintain your diet, stay healthy and lose weight over time.
Protein: Eat your choice of the following each time you are hungry:
- When you think of meat think veal, lamb, bacon, ham, pork and beef. If you are able to access game meat, it may also include elk and venison. Check the label if you prefer processed meats and make sure the carb count is approximately one gram per serving. Grain finished meat has fewer benefits when compared to grass-fed meat. The latter is well worth the extra cost if you can afford it. The fat on the meat should not be thrown away as its help with nutrient absorption, digestion, and general physiological health.
- As for poultry, make sure you enjoy duck, turkey, chicken and other fowl, with the skin.
- For shellfish and fish, opt for wild-caught salmon and other similar approved seafood.
- Try to buy eggs from pasture-raised hens and eat as many as you like. Eggs are actually very high in nutritional value.
Fats and oil: Fats are generally important to be included in your meals, and low carb diets are high-fat diets. Take note that there are certain fats that you can consume and those you should avoid. A guideline on the same is as follows:
- Healthful fats including organic lard and butter are allowed. Avoid hydrogenated and margarine oils, but instead go for cold-pressed, organic oils.
- The ideal salad dressing is lemon juice, vinegar or olive oil. Prepared dressings should be consumed rarely and go for those with a maximum of two grams of carbs per serving.
- For frying, use fats such as lard, coconut, ghee and any others that are solid at room temperatures.
Foods to consume daily
Constipation is the most common pitfall some people encounter when they are on a low carb diet. It can be effectively avoided by consuming some vegetables, a good example being the fibrous stalk of asparagus. In fact, eating chew parts of any vegetable you come across can assist to alleviate constipation. Therefore, a high nutrient low carbohydrate diet is more of a high vegetable and high-fat diet than a low-fat diet.
The following are foods that you should consider eating on a daily basis if you want your low carb, high protein diet to be effective:
Homemade broth or bone soup is highly recommended and 2 cups a day is good for replacing minerals.
For vegetables, eat 1 cup of zucchini, wax beans, rhubarb, tomatoes, summer squash, sugar snap peas, sprouts, snow peas, shallots, pumpkins, peppers, onions, okra, mushrooms, leeks, jicama, green beans, eggplant, cucumber, celery, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, broccoli, asparagus or artichokes.
Make sure you consume two cups of greens (measured raw) daily of any leafy vegetable, cooked or raw.
Keep in mind that you should only consume additional vegetables if you are still hungry after eating cheese, eggs, seafood, fish, poultry, and meat. A good low carb, high protein diet is one of the best weight loss options available. It is always recommended that you consult your physician or dietician before and during any diet regimen that restricts certain food groups to make sure that your body is getting what it needs to stay healthy.