Why are protein rich diets for losing weight hazardous?

by Dr Sanjay Pisharodi 15 May 2012 12:54 PM

Hi everyone. We will look at this issue from the modern and traditional (ayurveda and traditional Chinese medicine) perspectives

Looking at it from the perspective of modern medicine, you may note that according to report of Dr Katherine Zeratsky from Mayo Clinic, high protein foods:

-          result in nutritional deficiencies

-          constipation and diverticulitis

-          increase risk of certain types of cancer

-          increase risk of heart disease

-          may cause or worsen liver and kidney problems

“…the long term effects of high protein diets are still being studied.”

Carbohydrates is the primary source of energy for the body. When there is no carbs available, the body depends on fats and finally if both the former are unavailable our body resorts to proteins. So by pumping proteins and restricting carbohydrates and fats, we are offering the body, it least preferred energy source. Metabolism of proteins generate nitrogenous waste material which has to be excreted. This puts extra load on the liver for metabolism and kidney for excretion.

If we look at it from a natural holistic and traditional medical perspective,

Due to the stress on the liver, its energy gets stagnated and generates heat in the body. It also makes the person more angry and irritable. The heat causes the blood to stagnate. Toxic materials accumulate due to lack of transportation.

The kidney is also overloaded and weakened. This indirectly affects the heart and lungs. This can cause heart problems and lung problems in the future. We often hear of people who died of a sudden heart attack while they were on a crash weight lowering diet. The heart also houses the mind according to TCM and this can result in mental restlessness and anxiety. Anxiety and restlessness is found in those who are on a high protein diet. Over a period of time, many lung problems like asthma can ensue.

According to ayurveda, proteins increase the vata in the body. Increased vata energy gives rise to insecurity, fear and anxiety. It also causes headaches, insomnia and restlessness. It can also cause constipation, dry skin, loss of sleep, premature greying of hair and irregular digestion. Improper or insufficient digestion results in formation of more toxins and thus contaminates the internal environment. The disrupted and imbalanced vata energy also disturbs the pitta and kapha and sets up a vicious cycle, cascading into chronic health problems.

Protein rich foods are usually drying in nature. This increases the dryness in the body. Thus results in dry skin, drying up of the body fluids, lack of proper blood circulation and so on. Over a period of time our body and mind dries up so much that we feel so shrivelled up.

According to Dr Robert Young of pH miracle,

One of the reasons why the body accumulates fat is because fat is primarily alkaline in nature. Thus it can be used to neutralize the acidic toxins accumulated. So the high protein diet actually feeds the cause by resulting in accumulation of toxins.

Temporarily it seems to have a weight reducing effect and this is due to the phenomenon of “starvation” and drying effect. Person feels a lack of energy during this period for which additional supplements are required (we will not discuss the ill effects of those supplements here). Eventually the person becomes dry (like an oil cake without any oil!!). Dryness induces emotion of sadness and worry all the time and thus the person develops psychological imbalances.

By overloading the metabolism (with proteins) of the body, we are actually making it worse. And as above mentioned the digestion in the gut as well as on the cellular level is highly stressed thus exerting unwanted stress on the body and vital organs.

The actual cause of obesity almost all the time is impaired metabolism in the body which may be originating from emotional stress or hereditary and acquired (wrong lifestyles) causes resulting in organs malfunctioning. So by increasing protein intake or avoiding carbohydrates, we are not at all addressing the cause. Whatever little result we may obtain will be temporary and all the weight will come back, along with other health problems due to the protein rich diet.

The only reason we adopt this method is because it shows some quick results. Actually it is a “penny wise, pound foolish” strategy. So how is it possible to lose weight in a healthy manner?

P.S. Purnarogya will conduct an online webinar in the month of June to discuss in more practical detail the causes, effects and strategies for healthy weight reduction. Stay tuned in for it!

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