The Protein Diet is an alternative dietary treatment to traditional moderately low-calorie diets and can be carried out under strict medical supervision, in particular when these have proved unsuccessful or in the presence of certain clinical conditions. The concept of “protein diet” was born thanks to the studies of prof. Blackburn of Harvard University who published the first results in the mid-1970s. He defined “protein fasting” the amino acid requirement necessary to prevent the negative nitrogen balance (responsible for muscle mass loss) and showed that the caloric restriction resulting from a drastic reduction in carbohydrates and lipids not only prevents insulin from increasing storage fats ( liposynthesis ), but promotes their cleavage (lipolysis ). Further studies have contributed over the years to the development and refinement of these concepts up to the definition of a therapeutic protocol articulated in successive and distinct phases.
The first phase, “weight loss”, involves: a very low calorie diet (Very Low Calorie Diet – VLCD, with a daily caloric intake that is less than 800 kilocalories), low-glucose (low in sugar) and low-fat (low in fat); a quantitatively normo-protein integration thanks to the intake of high biological value protein supplements; supplementation of micronutrients (mineral salts, vitamins and trace elements) in compliance with the recommended daily doses of nutrients. Of variable duration from subject to subject (from a few weeks to a few months), it allows a rapid loss of fat mass with preservation of lean mass (especially muscle mass), in the absence of hunger and fatigue, using the physiological pathway of ketogenesis controlled. This phase, based precisely on a metabolic state of ketosis secondary to a significant reduction in sugar intake, can be carried out,
In the next phase, called “transition”, the daily caloric quota is progressively increased while maintaining a correct protein intake and gradually reintroducing carbohydrates, giving preference to those with a low and medium glycemic index. This avoids fluctuations in the blood concentration of insulin, which are responsible for fat deposits. This phase has the dual objective of avoiding weight recovery and, at the same time, of teaching the patient to eat properly.
With the last phase, “maintenance”, through a real path of food re-education, we arrive at a balanced diet based on individual energy needs through the development of a personalized diet: a healthy and correct diet and aadequate physical activity and carried out regularly , will make it possible to maintain the weight achieved in the long term and the higher the well-being and quality of life (ultimate purpose of the treatment).
The main indications for treatment are:
– Overweight and obesity , whether or not associated with: metabolic syndrome; type 2 diabetes mellitus (non-insulin-dependent) in metabolic compensation; obstructive sleep apnea syndrome; pathologies of the musculoskeletal system; need for rapid weight loss before surgery that cannot be deferred.
– Localized fat deposits (abdomen, hips, buttocks, culotte de cheval) and a significant clinical improvement of “cellulite”(Panniculopathy-Edematous-Fibro-Sclerotic – PEFS), pictures that often tend to coexist. The Protein Diet having a targeted action precisely on the physiologically more resistant adipose tissue (rich in alpha-2 adrenergic receptors), certainly has a synergistic, complementary and support role for the main treatments of Aesthetic Medicine and Surgery, representing a valid ally. in terms of speed and consolidation of results.
If the main discomfort for some could derive essentially from the lack of conviviality in the very first phase of the treatment, the strengths of the Protein Diet are many. First of all, it is an easy-to-manage dietary protocol that leads to rapid results in terms of weight loss, aspects that favor and maintain the motivation of those on a diet. The state of controlled ketogenesis is also responsible for the absence of hunger and a feeling of well-being and euphoria. The protection of muscle mass and the maintenance of skin trophism also allow, unlike other low-calorie diets, a “harmonious” weight loss, that is, without affecting and compromising the elasticity of the skin.