Is the Ideal Protein Weight Loss Method safe for people on blood pressure and fluid medication?

Yes. People with high blood pressure are often overweight and will definitely benefit from the protocol. However, they will have to be mindful of their salt intake, as prescribed by their physician.

Is the Ideal Protein Weight Loss Method safe for Diabetics, Type I and Type II, as well as for hypoglycemic (low blood sugar)?

Diabetics have so much to gain from our protocol because regulating glycemia is at the very heart of our method. While we cannot reverse Type I Diabetes, we can help those afflicted to lose weight. However, our Ideal Protein Weight Loss Method can help reverse Type II Diabetes or, at the very least, diminish the condition’s vulnerabilities. People who suffer from hypoglycemia can also follow our weight loss method or our alternative plan. Still, diabetics need to be particularly vigilant on our protocol. In the first few weeks, people suffering from hypoglycemia should not exercise as much as usual in order to facilitate the reeducation of their pancreas and give their body a chance to readjust to its new eating habits. As well, they should stock up on the Ideal Protein Peach Mango drink, in case they find themselves in the midst of a low blood sugar crisis, which is predictable in their case. When it happens, they should sit down, breathe deeply and reach for an Ideal Protein Peach Mango drink. It will calm them instantly. They must be confident in the knowledge that their body, more specifically their pancreas, will, in time, soon, readjust itself to function as it was originally intended by nature.

If on medication, is the Ideal Protein Weight Loss Method safe?

Our protocol is most likely safe but still, we recommend that your physician is consultant prior to beginning. Remember, Ideal Protein foods are real foods, drug free with no stimulants. Each Ideal Protein envelope is the equivalent, nutritionally, to a chicken breast, a small filet mignon or a filet of fish.

Is the Ideal Protein Weight Loss Method safe for children and what is the minimum age for following the protocol?

Growing children should not be on any diet. If a parent wants to replace his child’s unhealthy snacks with healthy foods, including Ideal Protein foods, the parent must ensure that the child understands the reasons why they are being deprived of these foods. If not, the child may react adversely by wanting those unhealthy foods even more than before.

Can Pregnant or lactating Females go on the Program?

This patient population should never be placed on ANY weight loss diet or a diet restricting complete food groups – unless specified by their OB / GYN. That being said, we would suggest their OB / GYN do a fasting insulin level and assess the mother’s nutritional status with respect to carbohydrate intake. Insulin levels (fasting) above 10 micro units/ml may be indicative of insulin resistance and a restrictive carbohydrate diet may in fact be warranted. Again, explicit written permission must be obtained by the patient’s OB/GYN managing physician. Of course, these patients may use Ideal Protein foods as a nutritional supplement, but not part of the calorie-restricted protocol. Nursing mothers must receive written permission from the BABY’S PEDIATRICIAN to participate in the Alternative Protocol.

Can Gastric Bypass/Lap Band patients go on the Ideal Protein Weight Loss Method?

The protocol is fine for gastric bypass / lapband patients…both for losing weight and to provide a great source of protein in a very small volume of food, those with lap band will do well with that.

Is the protocol safe for a post chemo breast cancer survivor?

Yes, however we would recommend the dieter get approval from her primary care MD. Estrogen levels can fluctuate and we don’t want to stimulate a hormone receptor positive cancer.

I know someone that had a double mastectomy several years ago. What is the recommendation for those in remission from estrogen-induced cancers?

The cancer issue is this: ask her if her tumor was an “estrogen receptor positive tumor”. IF it was, then I would get clearance from her oncologist before starting her on the program (theoretically any cancer cells still present could get stimulated by the estrogen released as she loses fat). That being said, remember cancer loves sugar (that’s why a PET scan works: we give you radioactive glucose and the cancer cells “suck it up” faster than the normal cells, so when we take an X-ray – they’re the ones that glow). Insulin tells cells to divide faster, it’s a growth factor AND it stimulates proliferation of blood vessels, something a cancer mass needs in order to maintain growth. It must produce more blood vessels to feed itself. Plus an acidic environment is conducive to cancer growth. Thus for all these reasons, our protocol is very “unfriendly to cancer” but the oncologist should decide if the program is suitable for his/her patient.

Is Ketosis safe?
Many people (medical professionals included) have a wrong idea about “ketosis”. They confuse this with the pathological condition of “ketoacidosis”, which can be a life-threatening condition. Ketosis just refers to the state of metabolism the body is in when it is using fat for the primary energy source, this is how our ancestors survived during times of famine (we live off our fat reserves). It is perfectly normal and healthy. We all do a little “ketosis” every night when we sleep. As we fast during the night, blood sugar drops. To maintain proper glucose homeostasis, the body does a couple of things:
  • The liver can release some glycogen which is converted to glucose
  • Some muscle can be catabolized and glucose can be produced via gluconeogenesis
Fat cells can release some of their contents (triglycerides) and these can be metabolized in the liver to ketonic bodies (a high energy fuel source) and glucose. We simply, through the protocol, keep the dieter in the state where the body is using its stored energy (fat) for the primary fuel source. We offer the MINIMUM adequate amount of high-quality protein only to spare the muscle (remember the body can break down muscle to get glucose and this is what happens in many other diets and is the main reason why dieters typically yo-yo.) When you lose muscle, your metabolism slows and you are more likely to regain your weight.
At what point is ketosis harmful for the average person with health problems? What is the length of time someone can be in ketosis and it won't be harmful to the body?

As long as we “spare the muscle”, keep acid / base balance in check and not put a person on the program with kidney or liver disease, ketosis is normal metabolism. The body is just living off its “fat reserves” and it is NOT dangerous. In 2006 a study was published showing the safety and efficacy of a ketogenic diet in treating children with epilepsy. These children, ranging in age from 7 to 23 years were given a ketogenic diet for 6 years! This was done at the prestigious John M. Freeman Epilepsy Center, Departments of Neurology and Pediatrics, The Johns Hopkins Medical Institutes, Baltimore, MD. (Groesbeck D K, Blum R M, Kossoff E H (2006). Long-term use of the ketogenic diet in the treatment of epilepsy. Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology, Vol 48, pp 978-981.

Are there any products that someone who is lactose intolerant should avoid?

People who are lactose intolerant do not produce the enzyme lactase are therefore cannot digest the sugar lactose (a disaccharide composed of a molecule of galactose and glucose). If they ingest lactose they typically can get cramps or gas. This is NOT an allergy, so they wouldn’t have a life threatening anaphylactic reaction. Our products that contain whey isolates (most of the drinks) only contain about 0.05% lactose and this small amount usually does not cause any problems with these folks. I would have them avoid the products that contain whole milk protein (the cappuccino, the chocolate drink, the omelet, the crispy cereal, puddings, etc). The other option is to let them try a “small amount” of some of these foods and to see if they in fact do experience any discomfort. They can take one of the many products for lactose intolerant people that contain lactase (i.e “Dairy-Eze” or “Lactaid”). Butmost of these folks just opt to avoid the foods containing the whole milk protein.

Is it normal to have diarrhea?

The body is passing through a detoxifying process caused by the diet. Some people have multiple loose stools (3-4) per day during the first and second weeks. This is not diarrhea (i.e. passing watery stools every 30 minutes or so).

Can a person use Psyllium with Senna and Iron on this program?

If you are using the Psyllium to keep regular and NOT treat constipation then it is o.k. (unsweetened only). If already constipated, no. Magnesium Citrate is the best for constipation. We do not recommend supplementing with Iron unless the Physician is recommending it.

What is the relation between Ideal Protein and Diverticulitis?

Diverticulitis (DV) is a condition where the “Diverticuli”- thousands of little ridges (hills and valleys) that line the intestines so as to increase the surface area for absorption of nutrients have a propensity to becoming inflamed. In some people these become enlarged (diverticulosis) and food particles can become trapped in them. Sometimes this causes an inflammatory response and they get swollen or infected and it hurts (diverticulitis). Our protein doesn’t aggravate this, but the required veggies and lettuce can. For this reason patients with a history of DV should puree their veggies/lettuce, spinach etc. And use the puree in one of the soups.

What is the cut off for serum creatinine to be on the protocol? Can someone with a 1.6 start the program?

As you know, severe kidney disease is an absolute contraindication for participating in the Ideal Protein Weight Loss Method. We want to look at GFR (glomerular filtration rate) and not just BUN (blood urea/nitrogen balance) or serum creatinine. In the U.S. system a GFR of over 60 ml/min is considered normal kidney function. We’ve had patients whose physicians have started them on the protocol with a GFR as low as 30 ml/min. (i.e. about one half the normal kidney function). Understand this is ONLY to be done under the care of a medical doctor AND we advise the physician to do a repeat GFR in 4 weeks. Should the GFR stay the same OR improve, the patient is fine and can proceed with the protocol. However, should the GFR worsen, the patient is immediately told to discontinue the protocol.

Can someone go on the program if they have Severe liver and/or Kidney Disease?

Both of these organs are extensively involved in the metabolic processes of lipolysis and the oxidation of fatty acids, gluconeogensis, and acid / base balancing. Either diet (regular or alternative) could result in a worsening of symptoms. In some cases where the severity of disease is not as great and a “risk vs. benefit” assessment seems to favor weight loss, explicit written consent must be obtained by the primary care physician as well as ongoing monitoring of liver and kidney function by the physician. In these exceptional cases, the Alternative Diet would be the one recommended.

Can someone go on the program if they have active cancer or a history of cancer, including skin cancer?

These patients may not participate in either dietary protocol, but they may purchase Ideal Protein foods to supplement their diets. Although the Ideal Protein Protocol has some very beneficial aspects with regard to cancer (decreased insulin levels, insulin being a growth factor, decreased sugar load, cancer’s “preferred food” and an emphasis on an alkaline pH) there could be a risk. Certain cancers may be stimulated by hormonal changes, particularly female reproductive cancers such as breast, ovarian, and uterine. Because levels of estrogen may transiently increase during the weight loss phase of the program, estrogen receptor-positive tumors theoretically could be stimulated. Again, explicit written consent must be obtained from the patient’s oncologist before contemplating the weight loss protocol.

Can someone go on the program if they have had a heart attack (M.I), or a history of cardiac arrhythmia (including pacemaker), an aneurysm, bypass or a stent surgery?

When a weakened heart is abruptly subjected to decreased glucose levels, its mechanical function could be theoretically compromised. We therefore prohibit these patients from participating in our dietary protocol, again, except with written consent of their cardiologist. Patients with a history of cardiac arrhythmia should be started on the Alternative Program, as it takes about two to three weeks for the necessary enzymes to be synthesized so that the heart may fully utilize the ketonic bodies produced during the burning of fat, as a fuel source. Abrupt decreases in glucose, without the necessary enzyme structure in place, could theoretically precipitate an arrhythmic event.

Can someone go on the program if they have Congestive Heart Failure (CHF)?

Congestive Heart Failure is a progressive disease in which the patient’s downward course is controlled / slowed by the physician constantly monitoring and adjusting a wide variety of many classes of pharmaceutical agents. These patients are very complicated and fragile and should never, as a rule, should never be placed on our diet. Electrolyte imbalances and fluid overload, particularly in the lungs, can occur suddenly and require emergency medical intervention.

Can someone go on Ideal Protein if they have a strict vegan lifestyle?

Due to severe restrictions in a strict vegans’ food consumption, they are unable to be placed on either Ideal Protein protocol.

Can someone start the program if they have Kidney dysfunction?

The kidneys are extensively involved in acid / base balance and gluconeogenesis, two processes which play a major part in the Ideal Protein Diet. For this reason, severe kidney dysfunction is a contraindication for the program. Many patients with “Syndrome X” will present with impaired renal function (GFR < 60 ml/min). Patients with impaired function (between 38 and 60 ml/min) may be placed on the program, but GFR must be re-checked within 6 to 8 weeks. Most patients will show an improvement or at least will remain the same. If the GFR decreases, the program should be discontinued! If a candidate’s GFR is not normal, written consent must be obtained from the primary care physician or specialist as is the case. Elevated uric acid levels are a common abnormality with “Syndrome Xer’s”. These levels will improve as insulin sensitivity and acid / base balance improves, as a result of our protocol. If a patient has a history of gout and/or kidney stones we should have them monitor the pH of their urine, particularly during the first 3 weeks of the program. Maintaining a urinary pH of about 6.5 to 7.0 is very important. You can check this with NITRAZINE (NitraTest) paper. Should their urine be lower than that, prescribers may order PolyCitra-K (1 packet 2 to 3 times a day). Nonprescribers may recommend 1/2 tsp. of baking soda in 4-5 oz. of water 2 to 3 times a day. These folks should also be told to drink an additional liter of water per day (3 liters/ day). See paper on gout, kidney stones and the Ideal Protein Weight Loss Method.

What should someone do if they have stomach or digestive problems? (Diarrhea or constipation)

Diarrhea usually improves when beginning the Diet. An episode of diarrhea, although uncommon, is usually indicative of a “de-tox” or cleansing effect and is most often self-limiting. Make sure they are adequately hydrated. Should diarrhea persist, the physician should be consulted and appropriate therapy initiated. Constipation is a more common occurrence. This is generally caused by:

  1. not drinking the minimum 2 liters of water daily
  2. not eating the two green salads per day
  3. not consuming the required 4 cups of vegetables daily or
  4. not taking all of the required supplements.
If a patient finds themselves constipated, do not use a fiber laxative (like Metamucil)! These products invariably make the problem worse. Instead recommend a Fleet enema, or magnesium citrate (1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoonful 2 to 3 times a day). Most Syndrome X patients are low in magnesium, and this represents a great and inexpensive way to supplement that mineral – plus getting the laxative effect. One 10 oz. Bottle costs about $1.50 and they may get it in the laxative section of any pharmacy or grocery store. Each teaspoonful (5 ml) provides approximately 250 mgs of magnesium.
Will the program affect GERD patients?

Patients with a history of acid reflux (GERD) will normally see their symptoms completely resolve within two weeks. If this is the case, advise the physician to discontinue PPI therapy (stop Nexium, Aciphex, Prilosc, etc) as these drugs have a negative impact on acid / base balance. If a patient’s symptoms abate, but some GERD is still present occasionally, recommend an H2 antagonist such as Zantac, Pepcid or Tagamet, or even a liquid antacid such as Mylanta Supreme, instead of a PPI (these drugs do not inhibit the proton-pump system and acid / base regulation will not be as negatively compromised). WATCH SUGAR CONTENT OF LIQUID ANTACIDS! (particularly generic brands, Mylanta Supreme is fine).

What is the impact of the ovarian function to females during the protocol?

If a woman is not yet menopausal, it is important you note what week she gets her period. The reason for this is that she will retain water the week prior to her menses, thus when she weighs herself, she may not see a weight loss that week and will blame the program. Explain that this is normal and she will see a great drop the following week, as she is still losing fat, but the additional water masked the change reflected on the scale. Excess estrogen can be stored in fat cells and visceral fat cells produce estrogen (they are frequently knick-named “the third ovary”. As women lose fat, free estrogen can be released into the blood stream and irregular periods may result. It is also common to see post-menopausal women start “spotting”. Younger women may experience two periods a month or longer and heavier menses. All of this is perfectly normal and regularity will return once the “fat-loss” part of the program is finished (Phases I and II). Because estrogen levels may affect the efficacy of oral contraceptives, women taking these medications should be advised to use an additional method of birth control during the weight loss phases. Peri- and recent postmenopausal females, who are sexually active, should be likewise advised – a pregnancy would be rare, but theoretically possible.

Is the program safe for someone with impaired thyroid function?

One of the lesser known manifestations of “Syndrome X” is depressed thyroid function. This is particularly pronounced in females. Dispel the myth that a depressed thyroid will cause them not to have the success most dieters’ experience. Insulin “trumps” thyroid hormone: once the insulin levels are normalized, they will burn fat like anyone else. Also, that mediates the conversion of T-4 to T-3 (active thyroid hormone) and once insulin sensitivity is restored, normal thyroid function will likely ensue. A thyroid panel should be repeated in 6 months and more often than not, thyroid replacement therapy will no longer be required, or at least the dose greatly decreased.

Can you lose weight if on antidepressant meds?

Because the most commonly known side-effect of most popular antidepressants is weight gain, many dieters will feel “this won’t work because I take such and such”. This is not true with this protocol. Their weight loss should be the same as a person not taking these medications.

Is the protocol safe for someone with epilepsy?

For over half a century the use of a “ketogenic diet” has been used as first-line therapy for refractory epilepsy (i.e. epilepsy that does not respond to pharmacological therapy) in children. Many hospitals, such as Johns Hopkins and Stanford have clinics devoted just to this treatment modality…this is nothing new and has been proven with the “test of time”. Over 50% of children placed on a rigorous ketogenic diet never have another seizure, many more can greatly reduce the amount of anti-convulsants they are prescribed. Bottom line here is that a history of epilepsy is not a contra-indication and the Ideal Protein Protocol may actually improve these patients’ quality of life.

What should someone know if they are taking COUMADIN / PLAVIX / ASPIRIN?

Patients on anti-coagulant therapies should avoid vegetables that are high in Vitamin K. This vitamin will enhance the ability of the blood to clot and may compromise the patient’s medical treatment. Lists of the vitamin K content of foods are readily available on the internet (Google) and giving these dieters such a list, highlighting foods with less than 25 mcgs of vitamin K per serving, is helpful. For example, choose iceberg lettuce over romaine.