High Fat, Low Protein Diet: Can it Work?

The high fat, low protein diet promotes a high fat caloric intake, which supposedly lessens your hunger throughout the day so you eat less total calories. It is similar to the Atkins diet, except that instead of the low carb intake suggested by the Atkins diet, this diet cuts out protein. Followers of this diet are encouraged to eat carbohydrates, which are high in fat and all but eliminate protein from their daily intake. Unfortunately, the high fat and low protein diet is not only scientifically unproven, but also potentially unsafe. This guide will take you through some of the problems surrounding the high fat and low protein diet.

Scientifically Unfounded

The Atkins diet, which encourages high fat and low carbs, is essentially based on the theory that without carbohydrate to burn for energy your body will instead burn fat. With the high fat and low protein diet, your body has plenty of carbohydrate and so has no reason to burn off your high fat intake. The carbohydrate will be burned for energy, and your body will store the excess fat, increasing your body fat percentage and making you unhealthier than before. Although it is true that fat calories may lessen hunger throughout the day, this is a feat more efficiently and healthily accomplished by protein.

Insufficient Protein

The only way that a diet, which is both high fat and high carbohydrate, could let you lose weight would be if you exercised enough to eliminate all the calories consumed over the course of the day. However, exercise requires sufficient protein in the diet in order to repair muscle damage and build further muscle tissue. A diet that is low in protein won’t allow your muscles to be properly cared for and will cause problems with your exercise regimen, as well as your health.

Poor Food Choices

Foods that are simultaneously high in fat and low in protein tend to be very unhealthy. There’s a reason that French fries, Twinkies and other such fatty carbs aren’t recommended in diets: they simply aren’t healthy. In fact, a diet that is high in fat and carbohydrate may be the least healthy diet possible. When this is combined with the fact that your muscles aren’t properly cared for with sufficient protein intake, the high fat and low protein diet is inadvisable, to say the least.

The high fat, low protein diet is not a diet that makes any claims to work or to be good for you in the least; it’s simply a “diet” which is easy to follow due to the profusion of foods which are high in fat and carbohydrate. There is no reason why this diet should work as a weight loss diet or as part of a healthy living program. Therefore, the high fat / low protein diet is not at all recommended for anyone who wants to be healthier.


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Posts By Sequoia
  • Anna

    I tried the Atkins diet when not needing to diet.
    I wanted to clean out my “old” fat stores to detoxify.
    I weighed 9 stone.I dropped to 8 stone 7lb in 2 weeks.
    I continued to lose 1lb per week all of this fat even though I was eating what I like.
    I went down to 8 stone 2lb very quickly so I stopped doing it! All the fat on my body was disappearing and this weight was too low.
    I was trying to change my eating habits to burn fat not to lose weight so I ate what I like.
    I like avocados and nuts and found I lost MORE weight if I eat these even though they have a huge amount of calories.
    I ate alot of oily fish, chicken with skin on, beef ( lean roast beef), eggs and cream and plenty of salad and cooked vegetables. Sometimes I would just drink oil out of the bottle. This would provide me with alot of energy. It just doesn’t get stored as fat.

    High fat is not unhealthy. Eating poor quality food is unhealthy.

    Fat from food doesn’t get stored in fat cells. If you eat too much on high fat low carb diet, It gets stored around muscles and organs and gets burned for energy when excercising or just walking instead of carbs. It’s very difficult to store the fat in fat cells.

    It’s not unhealthy to eat this way as long as you eat good food. Saturated fat is good for you in moderation. There is nothing wrong with cream and butter. too much vegetable oil is not good for you.
    The body needs more than essential fats. Essential means can’t survive without it but doesn’t mean this is all you need for optimal levels. Also you need to eat saturated fat so that essential fats are utilised properly.

    Only those who eat large amounts of animal foods without plenty of a variety of vegetables get sick from this type of diet. You would also get sick if you only ate carbs and no vegetables.

  • Eric Anderson

    Too fat chicks and readers:
    Science update ==> Fat good while too much protein or refined grain NOT!

    Older people should have a long and healthy life with as few medical problems and expenses as possible. We should have but do not have the nutrition and health and longevity evidence we deserve. What is the optimal level for a long and healthy life for older persons? Is it 6.25% of calories from protein? The USA average 16 to 18 %, or some other amount or method like protein cycling? We could save a lot of money and live longer lives if this basic question had evidence!

    The lifespan studies I am aware of from the nurse study, framingham, the 7th day adventist all show a longer healthy lifespan with lower protein. Each QUINTILE (1/5 of the population) increase in protein resulted in an on average shorter and sicker life.

    The study on refined grain (80% or more of grain in USA diet) showed the sam as fat was better than refined grain for life. (Also technical indicatore like IGF-1, Insulin, glucose, hdl and ldl ratio)

    Macronutrient balance and lifespan

    Protein Cycling Diet

  • Smokey

    Because of kidney disease, I started a low protein, high fat diet. 40 grams of protein per day. Real fat, not margarine. No junk food and no fake sugar. No soda. Good vegetables and fruits. Lost 14 pounds comfortably and kept it off. Now that I’m on dialysis, I have to get more protein in, and that is tough. Gained a few pounds though.