What is a protein diet?

A protein diet is a dietary restriction of foods that contain carbohydrates. Most often, this diet is used for weight loss, but in bodybuilding it can also be used to gain muscle mass. The disadvantage of protein nutrition is the risk of an increase in ammonia, as well as the possible development of digestive problems and some forms of vitamin deficiency with prolonged refusal of vegetables.

In this article, we will consider popular diets that have the right to be considered protein – the traditional diet of a bodybuilder with a high protein content; the growing popularity of the paleo diet, with its rejection of modern food; a carbohydrate-free keto diet, considered the best way to burn fat quickly; two variations of the keto diet – the American Atkins diet and the Russian Kremlin diet. In addition, we will separately dwell on the Japanese diet gaining popularity.

Bodybuilder nutrition

Increased calorie intake and a lot of protein

The most common version of the protein diet is the traditional bodybuilding recommendation that the amount of protein in the diet should be maximized. Most often, we are talking about a daily intake of 3-4 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, which gives 240-320 g for an athlete weighing 80 kg. The total calorie content of food is determined at the rate of 40-50 kcal per kg of weight – 3200-4000 kcal per day with the aforementioned 80 kg. The daily fat requirement is calculated as 30% of the total calorie content – 960-1200 kcal, or, given that 1 g of fat contains 9 kcal, 110-140 g of fat per day. The remaining calories are carbohydrates in the amount of 5-7 g per kg of body weight.

However, in order to consume 240-320 grams of protein per day, you need at least a kilogram of various meats and an additional intake of protein shakes. At the same time, it is important to mention that the latest scientific research suggests that, firstly, the consumption of red meat in excess of 300 g per week negatively affects health, and, secondly, that consumption of red meat is not necessary at all for muscle growth. a huge amount of protein and a fairly modest 1-2 grams per kg of body weight(one)… The reason is that the more protein the body receives from food, the less “economically” it treats it – a certain proportion is simply utilized. Low protein intake teaches the body to use protein to its fullest, sending it straight into muscle recovery. This fact explains the presence of professional bodybuilders among vegetarians.

Paleo diet

Any meat, fish, vegetables and nuts are acceptable

The paleo diet is the principle of nutrition, which consists in the rejection of modern foods. The diet should consist exclusively of what was known to mankind many thousands of years ago, during the Paleolithic period, which gave the name to the diet. Since sugar and any grains are eliminated in the first place, the diet is inherently protein-rich. Unlike many other diets, the Paleo diet does not impose serious restrictions on either the amount of food consumed or the way it is prepared. Meat, fish and vegetables admissible in the diet, you can either cook, stew or fry – it does not matter. The result is weight loss and normalization.

Despite the fact that the exclusion of flour and dairy products, industrial food (fast food, frozen foods, various types of pizza) and sugar in all forms from the diet at first glance seems difficult, in reality it is not entirely true. In fact, people who care about the figure have avoided these foods for so long – the paleo diet builds such a diet into a logical structure. In addition, there are more and more opinions that modern food is the true cause of many diseases – you will not find a single nutritionist who would argue that sugar, gluten and convenience foods are good for health. In Russia, the first materials about the paleo diet appeared in 2014 on our website, and the current year will undoubtedly be a year of rapid growth in the popularity of this traditional diet for humans.

Ketogenic diet

Limiting carbohydrates to a level of 30 g per day

The next most popular version of the protein diet is the carbohydrate-free diet, also called the keto diet. As the name implies, such a diet implies an almost complete rejection of carbohydrates. In the absence of carbohydrates, the body rebuilds its metabolism, starting to receive the glucose necessary for the functioning of the brain from amino acids and free fatty acids. The most important factor in the popularity of the keto diet is that 4-5 days after giving up carbohydrates, the body begins to use fat reserves as its main source of energy – the result is rapid weight loss due to fat deposits, rather than muscle tissue.

The advantage of a carbohydrate-free keto diet is that avoiding carbohydrates does not impose significant restrictions on the total calorie intake – in fact, any food in any quantity is allowed, as long as they do not contain carbohydrates. The diet is based on various types of meat and fish. At the same time, more than 50% of calories come from fat – according to this criterion, a diet can be considered high-fat. The consumption of carbohydrates is allowed in the amount of 30-50 g per day (most of them will be either indigestible fiber, or will go to the brain). The downside of the keto diet is that avoiding carbohydrate-containing foods deprives the diet of almost all vitamins and important microminerals. In addition, there is increasing scientific research that high protein diets can cause a variety of health problems.(2)… The sport uses a cyclical keto diet.

Atkins diet

Avoiding simple carbohydrates and sugars

The lighter version of the keto diet is the Atkins diet. If the classic keto diet implies a ratio of calories obtained from fats and proteins in a ratio of 4: 1 (based on 2500 kcal – 2000 kcal for fat, or 220 g per day; 500 kcal for protein, or 125 g per day), then even the introductory the induction phase of the Atkins diet is not that hard. During the period of the greatest popularity of the diet, in 2003-2004, according to its rule, about 10% of the adult population of the United States and Canada ate, and pasta sales fell by the same 10%(3)… The reason for the mass fame was the spread of opinion about the dangers of any carbohydrates and attributing them to responsibility for the obesity epidemic.

After the death of diet author, Robert Atkins, the popularity of his diet declined sharply, and in 2005 the company he founded declared itself bankrupt. The work of food lobbyists can also be blamed for the decline in popularity of the diet – despite numerous publications about the possible health risks of the low-carb Atkins diet, none of them have been confirmed by independent scientific studies. However, without denying the effectiveness of the diet, FitSeven never included it in the recommended list due to the fact that, like any diet low in carbohydrates, it is not very suitable for strength training – training with a barbell in a state of ketosis is almost impossible. The only non-carbohydrate diet suitable for sports is the cyclical keto diet, which we covered in detail in the Project Six-Pack workout program.

Kremlin diet

Diet ball system, carbohydrate counting (points)

The Russian version of the Atkins diet is the Kremlin diet. According to this diet, each product is assigned a “price” in conventional units, where each point is one gram of carbohydrates. The number of points scored per day should not exceed a certain value, which is different at certain stages of the diet. During the period of restructuring of the body for a new diet for the first two weeks (in the induction phase), it is necessary to strictly adhere to the limit of 20 points. At the stage of losing weight, a limit of 40 points is set. To maintain weight, you need to gain up to 60 points. It is believed that when carbohydrates are consumed by more than 60 points, weight gain occurs.

The main complaint about the Kremlin diet is to highlight the mathematics of scoring rather than the logic behind the scoring. Meeting with a new product, losing weight on this diet is not able to independently decide whether the product is acceptable – he needs a mandatory verification with a plate. The word “ketosis” is not even found in books devoted to this diet, just like the classification of fats into healthy and unhealthy. The list of allowed foods that give zero points also raises a lot of doubts – alcohol and semi-finished meat products such as sausages are allowed, while fiber-rich foods are almost prohibited. Despite the underlying logic behind the Kremlin diet, we do not recommend following it – the original, the Atkins diet, is much more grounded and whole.

Japanese diet

Severe dietary restriction for 13 days

At the end of the review, I would like to dwell separately on the so-called “Japanese diet”, which is rapidly gaining popularity on the Russian Internet. Texts reprinted from one site to another mention that “the diet was developed by the Japanese clinic ‘Yaeks'” – but with the same grain of truth it can be written that the diet was developed by the school of witchcraft and wizardry at Hogwarts. Most interestingly, the diet recommends foods that are not typical of Japan, such as boiled beef, stewed cabbage, and zucchini.

At its core, the diet is low-carb and low-calorie. Since the basis of the recommended diet is boiled and fried fish, beef and eggs, the diet can be considered a protein diet. Considering that the 13-day menu is extremely sparse, and the total calorie intake is unlikely to exceed 1000 calories, the diet will indeed work. However, the health consequences will not be long in coming – firstly, due to the extremely meager content of vitamins in the recommended products, and secondly, due to the consequences of a typical starvation diet. As soon as the body realizes that food is available again, it will begin to actively recruit what it did not receive during the days of the hunger strike. The result will be the return of the lost weight and a set of additional fat reserves in case of the next attempt to torment yourself with the “Japanese system”.

Scientific sources:

  1. How Much Protein Do You Really Need ?, source
  2. High-Protein, Low-Carb Diets Explained, source
  3. Atkins Bankruptcy a Boon for Pasta Makers, source

Date of the last update of the material – April 29, 2015

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