Pros and Cons of High-Protein Diets
Experts look at the pros and cons of high-protein diets.
Keeping the Pounds Off continued...
"In one study, 1,624 women were questioned about their consumption of meat and other foods, and health risks were evaluated," Watson tells WebMD. "They were followed for 11 years, and researchers found that those with mild kidney impairment who ate a high-protein diet -- especially protein from meat -- had a faster loss in kidney function."
And in the long term, the impact of high-protein diets is still unclear.
"There are no longer-term studies of high-protein diets, so the true long-term impact of the increased protein and fat consumption is unknown," says Watson. "Worries are that it will ultimately impair kidney function and lead to heart disease."
What to Look Out For
So with a long list of cons, it looks like high-protein diets aren't on the verge of diet superstardom. When a diet starts making claims of fame, how can you tell it's true worth? Here's what to look out for, according to the Dietetic Association:
- Does the diet promise a quick fix? A fast solution to a long-term problem? Then that's a surefire sign that something isn't quite right.
- Does the diet encourage or require you to stop eating certain foods or food groups? Say, for instance, carbs? Or does it tell you to eat only certain types of foods, like those that are high- protein? Give it more than a second thought.
- Does the diet contradict recommendations of reputable health organizations? Look for information from well-respected organizations like the American Dietetic Association.
- Does the diet sound just too good to be true? Then it probably is.
The Next Big Thing
The bottom line on high protein is simple: "If you're eating high-protein foods you're excluding foods that are important to health," says Jessica Seigel, MPH, RD, spokeswoman for the California Dietetic Association. "If you're excluding a fruit or veggie because it's not high in protein, you're going to get into trouble down the road."
So what is the next weight loss wonder?
"The next big thing is a balanced diet and a sensible healthy eating approach," says Seigel. "That's the next big thing."