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Healthy Weight Center

Are Meat Centered Diets a Good Idea?

03/11/2009

Question:

Dear Nutrition Expert - One of my friends, a health care professional, has just lost weight on an interesting diet. It is an "All meat" (or almost) diet and she remained on it for 14 days then went off it for a few, then went back on. Have you heard of it? What is it called? and do you have any comments?

Answer:

Thanks for your question. It sounds as though your friend tried one of the many high protein/low carbohydrate fad diets. It may have been the Adkins` Diet, the Zone Diet, Sugar Busters or any number of other high protein diets being promoted this year. Several questions regarding this type of diet have been answered on the Diet and Nutrition site of Netwellness. Please search this site for questions on any (or all) of the following topics: High Protein diets Low Carbohydrate diets Zone Diet Adkins Diet Weight Loss In short, this type of diet is not healthy long term because it restricts food groups, and therefore, a person misses out on nutrients in that food group. Eating only meat puts strain on the kidneys and also increases a person`s intake of fat (which may lead to cardiovascular disease down the road). In addition, this type of diet may result in water and muscle loss (which is not optimal). Ideally, a person wants to lose fat when they lose weight. This diet may contribute to weight cycling (constant loss and gain of weight). Also, a person does not learn lifelong good eating habits when he/she follows this type of diet. Here are some tips for spotting fad diets: * Promises rapid weight loss (over 2 lbs in a week) * Restricts or limits an entire food group (i.e. no dairy foods, breads or cereals, etc) * Provides less than 1200 calories per day (anyone would lose weight with this kind of diet) * Discourages variety of foods and food groups, and/or encourages one food (ie. meat, grapefruit, cabbage, fried foods etc) for a specified period of time (i.e 2 days, 1 week, etc). * Does not include exercise as part of the plan * Discourages calorie counting and promotes all or nothing intake For healthy weight loss advice, browse previously answered quesions on this site, or find a registered dietitian in your area to assist you with meal planning. Good Luck!

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Response by:

Lisa Cicciarello Andrews, MEd, RD, LD Lisa Cicciarello Andrews, MEd, RD, LD
Adjunct Faculty
University of Cincinnati