High protein diets are marketed as body-building diets because muscle is made mainly of protein. They are often ineffective because excess protein is not stored within the body (see body building), and insufficient energy is the usual factor limiting muscle growth, not lack of protein. High protein diets are also marketed as weight-loss diets on the basis that proteins are complex molecules that need a lot of energy to be digested. It is claimed that up to 30 per cent of the energy content of protein is required for its digestion, but this claim is disputed. It is generally accepted that protein yields about the same amount of energy as carbohydrates (approximately 4 kilocalories per gram). Furthermore, many high protein diets (especially those using animal protein) are rich in saturated fats and cholesterol, which carry a health risk and make a significant contribution to obesity.
High protein diets are potentially dangerous. The excess protein has to be broken down and eliminated. This puts a strain on the excretory system, particularly if the dieter does not drink sufficient quantities of watery fluids. High protein diets include the ‘Complete Scarsdale Medical Diet’, the ‘Doctor's Quick Weight Loss Diet’, the ‘Miracle Diet for Fast Weight Loss’, the ‘New You Diet’, and the ‘Women Doctor's Diet for Women’.
Subjects: Medicine and Health.