That was a question that we received on a recent phone call. The answer is found in the principles behind the protocol. The proof is in the change in the waist measurement and body fat composition that we see in our dieters.
To lose weight one must consume fewer calories than are expended. However to specifically target fat loss, other factors must be considered. If you came to orientation at Ideal Health NOW!, you heard “Losing muscle mass in the Ideal Protein protocol is unacceptable”. Muscle is the engine that burns calories. This is one reason it is so important that we consume an adequate amount of protein to prevent muscle loss.
Any hypo-caloric diet will result in weight loss. However decreasing calories, but maintaining the same percentage of carbohydrates, fats and protein in your diet, will decrease the intake of protein – likely below the minimum amount required to maintain muscle.
Consuming less protein than the minimum daily requirement (roughly ½ gram per pound of lean body weight) will lead to muscle loss.
If muscle is lost, metabolism slows (remember, muscle is the engine that burns calories).
Another concern is the loss of muscle mass of our organs. The heart is a muscle and losing some of its mass is not a good thing (remember the Phen-fen diet?).
With the Ideal Protein protocol, we maintain intake of protein at the minimum daily requirement, while lowering calories, carbohydrates and fats.
If the goal is to lose fat, it is logical that we would eliminate most fats from the diet (but giving ample amounts of essential fatty acids i.e. your daily olive oil, coconut oil or grapeseed extract oil). So what about the carbs? With Ideal Protein, we keep the carbohydrates to a bare minimum, approximately 20 – 30 grams per day. This forces the body to stay in “fat-burning mode” 24 hours a day while sparing muscle mass.
The explanation above shows how the principles behind the protocol make Ideal Protein a muscle sparing diet.
But what about the proof?
That is in the measurement of the body fat composition. The program was originally developed by Dr Tran over 25 years ago for Olympic athletes who wanted to lose body fat without the loss of muscle, prior to the start of their training season. Maintenance of muscle mass has been proven by measurement of body fat composition and since then, Ideal Protein has a record of 7 million successful dieters.
At Ideal Health NOW!, we too have been measuring inches and body fat composition in our dieters. We are consistently seeing a decrease in waist to hip ratio and in percentage of body fat. If total body mass decreases, and we document that percentage of body fat also decreases, then by definition muscle mass must be maintained. If muscle was being lost at the same rate that fat was lost, then the percentage of body fat would be staying the same – even if body mass/ weight decreased.
I have personally seen these results.
When I started the program in January 2011, I had a body fat composition of 31%. According to my weight (128 pounds) and body mass index (21.3), I was not overweight. However, I was approaching “at risk” (see chart below) for body fat percentage and consequently was developing early metabolic syndrome with an mildly elevated blood pressure and cholesterol. Not only that, I was also not happy with my “muffin top”.
(Now…in case any of you are rolling your eyes after reading about someone with a “normal” weight and a muffin top going on a diet, remember that ….
up to 40% of normal weight people also have metabolic syndrome.
That means they are at risk for stroke, heart attack and diabetes http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/ms/ . Before Ideal Protein, I was, as I like to call it, a fatty thin person – not alot of mass but a higher percentage of fat – which was increasing my risk of developing serious health problems even though I was eating what I thought was a healthy diet and exercising regularly. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080327172025.htm
After graduating to phase four on the Ideal Protein plan, I weighed 114 pounds and had lost a total of 10 inches, with the biggest change being at my waistline.
My cholesterol and blood pressure both dropped to within optimal range and I lost my muffin top.
What was even more astounding to me was that my percent body fat had dropped to 17%!
Now, I can tell you that as a self professed “book worm” and “band geek” growing up, I have NEVER considered myself an athlete. But after following the Ideal Protein protocol (with no change in my physical activity), my body fat composition put me in that category.
Let’s do the math.
31% of 128 pounds equals 40 pounds of fat and therefore 88 pounds of lean body weight. 17% of 114 pounds equals 19 pounds of fat and 95 pounds of lean body weight. Wow! Not only did I lose fat, but I gained lean body weight!
What is lean body weight composed of?
Bones, internal organs, muscle and water weight. I know my mass of bones and organ didn’t increase. Yes, I probably was better hydrated, but certainly wasn’t fluid overloaded. So what happened?
Muscle mass increased!
Amazing what an adequate amount of high biological value protein can do.
These results are not unusual. While the actual numbers vary between dieters, the decrease in body fat, decrease in body mass and therefore net increase of lean body weight (i.e. muscle) is something we happily and typically see in dieters who follow the Ideal Protein protocol.