Do you remember all of the hype about high protein diets and weight loss from a few years ago? We were all going to get super skinny fast and easy while still eating cheeseburgers and beer brats and that was the last diet we were ever going to need ever again. No one stopped to think about the long term health consequences or how we would actually feel, we just heard fast and easy and off we went to the races, never looking back at the others who were dropping like flies in the summer heat behind us.
The problem with the high protein diets and weight loss is simple: proteins are good but we need the other nutrients that these diets push out of the diet as well. A diet to be good, effective and long lasting has to strike a balance.
Think of the balanced diet as Cinderella, that poor, misunderstood and largely overlooked girl and all of the radical diet plans, including the one that touts high protein diets and weight loss as the ugly, fairly evil stepsisters. There is the one that says NO FAT and there is one sister that says NO CARBS and then there is the high protein sister who wants you to gorge on proteins and nothing more. Why are they the ugly and fairly evil sisters? Because they are all very bad ideas. We are supposed to be looking for Cinderella, the balanced and healthy diet. That glass slipper should be full of a little of this and a little of that, with none of the food groups overlooked at all.
High protein diets and weight loss can actually cause more damage than it does good in the long run. When the most famous of these diets was in vogue, people rushed to their local fast food joints with the smug and smarmy smile of someone who had all the answers. They would announce that they were dieting as they scarfed down burgers loaded high with cheese and bacon but not ketchup and no fries. And why? Because ketchup and fries have carbohydrates and that, they said gently, is the mortal enemy.
Yes, they did lose weight and fairly quickly but two weeks or less later, they were miserable, lethargic, confused and cranky critters, wishing like all get out that they could have just a nibble of bread, stale would be fine. They dreamed of vegetables and literally craved salads like nobodies business. And then the weight loss just stopped and Cinderella was left with a bunch of mice, one lost shoe and a pumpkin that all her friends were about to devour.