A number of diets recommend that you should increase your intake of meats to lose weight. Certain more extreme diets, such as the Atkins diet suggest that to lose weight you should seriously reduce your intake of carbohydrates and compensate by eating more meat. In this article I will be discussing whether eating more meat really can help you lose weight.
First, let’s look at the reasoning behind eating more meat to lose weight. By consuming more meat and less carbohydrates you force your body into a state of ketosis where it burns fat for energy instead of the usual carbohydrates. This turns your fat stores into your main source of energy.
So now you know the theory you are probably wondering whether high meat diets actually work? A number of studies suggest that they do. This particular study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) involved 311 premenopausal, nondiabetic women, aged between 25 and 50. It looked to compare four weight loss diets including; the Atkins diet, the Zone diet, LEARN (Lifestyle, Exercise, Relationships, Attitude, Relationships and Nutrition) and the Ornish diet. It found that the women who were on the high meat Atkins diet lost a greater amount of weight and realised more favourable metabolic effects after 12 months than the women on the other diets.
However, the problem with this and other scientific studies is that (at the time of writing this article) none have studied the effects of the Atkins diet for a period of greater than one year. Furthermore, a number of criticisms have been leveled at diets such as Atkins which recommend the increased consumption of meat. It has been suggested that the diet can promote heart disease, that it can be dangerous to reduce your carbohydrates to such a low level, that it does not meet nutritional needs and that such diets are too high in fat.
So what conclusions can be drawn about eating more meat to lose weight? In two of my previous articles I have recommended eating more protein to boost your metabolism and control your hunger. I believe that meat has a place in any weight loss plan and the ideas behind the Atkins diet are sensible. However, until more scientific evidence is available regarding the safety and effectiveness of low carbohydrate, high protein diets I would advise you to keep eating some carbohydrates too. Ketosis is not the only weight loss method out there. By participating in regular exercise and eating a healthy, balanced diet with a little additional meat thrown in you can lose weight gradually without forcing your body to change its energy source.