High-protein diets have no proven effectiveness in long-term weight reduction and pose potential health threats for those who follow them for more than a short time, according to a new advisory from the AHA. The advisory specifically mentions such popular quick weight loss diets as the Atkins, Zone, Protein Power, Sugar Busters and Stillman diets.
Some of these diets emphasize foods from animal sources such as meat and eggs that are rich in both protein and saturated fat. Others drastically limit consumption of high-carbohydrate foods such as cereals, grains, fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products. Eating large amounts of high-fat animal foods over a sustained period has been shown to increase the risk of coronary heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and several types of cancer. Further, a diet rich in animal protein, saturated fat and cholesterol raises LDL ("bad") cholesterol levels, an effect that is compounded when high-carbohydrate, high-fiber plant foods that help lower cholesterol are limited or eliminated.
According to the AHA, there is no scientific evidence to support the claim that high-protein diets enable people to maintain their initial weight loss. The only way to do that is to follow a nutritionally sound diet and increase physical activity to burn more calories than are consumed.
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Nutrition channel - Weight management
- AHA. High-protein diets not proven effective and may pose health risks. Journal report, Oct. 8, 2001.
- AHA. Dietary protein and weight reduction, a statement for healthcare professionals from the Nutrition Committee of the Council on Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Metabolism of the American Heart Association. Circulation, Oct. 9, 2001;104:1869-1874.