The Science of the Ideal Protein Diet Protocol



The   IDEAL PROTEIN  DIET  is a medically designed protocol that results in rapid fat loss while sparing the lean body mass.  This program was developed in France over 25 years ago by an MD, PhD who studied the science of a protein-based diet under George Blackburn, MD of the Harvard School of Medicine. This protocol is also an excellent adjunct to topical treatments for cellulite and has been used in well over one thousand medi-spas and aesthetical clinics in Canada for the last nine years with great success.  Our program was introduced into the United States in January of 2008 and our FDA approved products are only available through health care professionals and are not sold in stores or over the internet.  Ideal Protein is not a multi-level marketing company.  We are a manufacturer and distributor of high biological value foods and supplements and our sales team provides complete training and continual education and “in-house” support free of charge.  In addition our licensed medical professionals (physicians, pharmacists and nurse practitioners) are always available via phone or email to answer clinical questions.


To lose weight one must obviously consume fewer calories than are expended.  However to specifically target fat loss other factors must be taken into consideration along with a maintenance program, which is completely different than the interventional program.  The body has four compartments of energy from which to draw to meet its metabolic needs: blood glucose, glycogen (stored glucose), muscle and fat.  It draws on these reserves in a very specific order; first burning the glucose in the blood and next the glycogen reserve.  Once the glycogen is exhausted, then and only then will it turn to the muscle and fat compartments.  If we replenish the glycogen stores the fat-burning stops until it is once again depleted.  Two master metabolic hormones, insulin and glucagon, mediate how the body shifts from one compartment of energy to the next.


Most popular weight loss programs advertise with testimonials and striking “before and after pictures”.  Invariably these are followed by a disclaimer that states “these results are not typical”.  Our clients will lose between 3 to 7 pounds per week (women typically losing on average 3 to 4 pounds and men 5 to 7 pounds).  These results are typical and we have a record of 7 million successful dieters in our 25 years of experience.


Any hypo-caloric diet will result in weight loss and most popular programs base their protocols on a “balanced diet”.  If we take the standard USDA recommendations of approximately 60% of calories derived from “good carbohydrates”, 25% from protein and 15% from “healthy fats” and cut the amounts in half (keeping the ratio of macronutrients the same), we will have a “balanced diet” with one-half the calories…..and people will lose weight.   But there are a few problems with this seemingly logical approach.

First, if we continue to replenish some of the glycogen stores every day (60% of calories coming from carbohydrates, most of which will be converted to glucose in vivo) our fat-burning will stop until that has been depleted.  This will lead to an erratic weight loss.   Second, and more importantly, decreasing the minimal daily requirements of protein will lead to muscle loss.  As blood glucose drops (from the hypo-caloric intake) the body will burn fat but will also break down muscle via gluconeogenesis as a way to maintain proper glucose homeostasis.  As we lose muscle our metabolism slows, also the heart is a muscle and losing some of its mass is not a good thing (remember the Phen-Fen diet?).  Now, when these folks have achieved their goal weight, what is the predictable result?  They go back to eating “normal size” meals but their metabolism is slower and they regain the weight, often times ending up heavier than when they started the diet.

Our protocol takes a different track – for a relatively short time we will use an “unbalanced diet”.  We keep the minimum daily protein requirement the same (roughly 1/2 gram of protein per pound of lean body weight) and build the diet around this.  Understand, this is not a “HIGH PROTEIN DIET”.  We give only the minimum and we do this to spare the muscle.  Loss of muscle is unacceptable to us during a diet.  Next, if we want to lose fat it is logical that we would eliminate most fats from the diet (but giving ample amounts of essential fatty acids).  Now we are left with carbohydrates.  Because we do not want to replace glycogen stores, we keep these at a bare minimum, approximately 30 grams per day.  This forces the body to stay in the “fat-burning mode” 24 hours a day and is therefore called a “ketogenic diet”.  Our dieters will consume four cups of non-starchy vegetables and 2 green salads daily.  This will provide fiber to prevent constipation and they will be given a multi-vitamin, calcium, magnesium, potassium and sea salt to ensure proper electrolyte balance.  We only provide what they would normally be getting from food groups that we are temporarily taking away (i.e. dairy, fruits and grains).

Ideal Protein has also developed an “Alternative Protocol” which is suitable for Type I diabetics.  This program is similar to the ketogenic diet except that we give a dairy, fruit and grain serving every day to prevent the patient from going into a state of moderate to strong ketosis.  Because Type I’s do not produce insulin, a risk of ketoacidosis exists and these patients should never be placed on a strong ketogenic diet.  They will still experience just about the same rate of weight loss while sparing the muscle as the ketogenic dieters and will usually find they can substantially decrease their insulin requirements.


The centerpiece of our protocol is the wonderful protein based foods the client will consume during the weight loss phases of the program.  These are high biological value proteins, containing all nine essential amino acids and are derived from non-GMO sources.  We employ six different proteins: whey isolates, soy isolates, whole milk protein, albumin, pea protein, and hydrolyzed collagen.  This gives the client many options and is designed so folks with sensitivities to dairy, soy, or folks who are vegetarians may participate in the program. In addition we have almost two dozen foods that are gluten-free.  Our products are delicious and we currently have over 50 different products including shakes, juices, bars, soups, chili, pancakes, oatmeal, stew and many others.  These are foods that are very satisfying – providing hot and cold foods, different textures and sweet, salty and crunchy snacks.  The client will use these products to build complete meals, adding vegetables and salads.  Each sealed envelope ensures full potency and contains about 18 to 20 grams of protein with very little to no fat or sugar.  These are easy to prepare and can be incorporated into a busy lifestyle very nicely.


Syndrome X, arguably the “epidemic of the century”, is the name given to a general disorder characterized by four hallmark symptoms: central obesity, hypertension, hyperlipidemia and hyperglycemia.  The late Gerald Reaven, MD (Professor of Medicine at Stanford University) was the first person to use the term and to show a link between the hyper secretion of insulin and subsequent insulin resistance and these four hallmark symptoms.  Pharmacological treatment of the symptoms of Syndrome X never affects a cure, and many times will exacerbate the symptoms.  We commonly prescribe medications to help the pancreas produce even more insulin, give drugs to increase insulin receptor sensitivity or even give insulin directly in an attempt to regulate the blood glucose levels of these patients.  This is a “Catch-22” situation because while the insulin receptors on muscle cells may be resistant and require increased amounts of the hormone to effect glucose uptake, other tissues and organs retain their sensitivity to insulin and prolonged exposure to high levels of the hormone invariably will lead to complications.

The kidney is a good example.  Insulin stimulates sodium retention by the kidney, thus contributing to water retention and hypertension.  Dr. Reaven cites polycystic ovary syndrome (a condition characterized by hyper secretion of androgens by the ovary) as another example of insulin sensitive organs being affected.  Basically the ovary, being constantly exposed to higher than normal levels of insulin, increases its testosterone production accordingly.  Thus the insulin resistance of one tissue (muscle cells) with the compensatory hyperinsulinemia that ensues, will lead to many other insulin sensitive tissues being affected and so complicating the entire physiological picture of that individual.  Another example is the body’s production of cholesterol (de novo synthesis).  Insulin greatly stimulates the enzyme HMG-CoA reductase, the rate-limiting enzyme involved in cholesterol synthesis.  Simply put, “high levels of insulin is like putting gasoline on the enzyme” and the patient’s cholesterol levels increase accordingly.  Of course a statin then is usually prescribed.  Glucagon has the opposite effect: it inhibits this enzyme and forces the cell to produce LDL receptors so the cell can pull cholesterol from the blood stream (1983 Nobel Prize in Medicine).  The result is the patient’s lipid profile improves tremendously – usually within 4 to 6 weeks.

At Ideal Protein, we believe that Syndrome X is a problem caused by food (too many carbohydrates, i.e. sugar) and the treatment is food.  When we put patients of a ketogenic diet we immediately decrease insulin levels and many symptoms quickly improve.  Moreover, by keeping insulin levels low, we now allow the cells to regain their sensitivity to insulin and the pancreas’ production of insulin returns to normal.  This has been confirmed by hundreds of before and after fasting insulin levels in patients seen in clinics that have adopted our protocol.

We provide a clinical guide to practices that employ our protocol that explains the pathophysiology of Syndrome X (well referenced) as well as initial training for the provider and staff as to what tests should be ordered to monitor the patients’ progress.  In addition there is ongoing support from our corporate medical staff and continual “in-house” service provided at no charge by our field representatives.


There are many misconceptions about protein-based diets and “ketosis”.  Ketosis simply means the body is using fat as an energy source and is transforming fatty acids into ‘ketonic bodies’. Therefore a degree of ketosis occurs in ANY weight loss program.  This is a normal metabolic function like glycogenolysis, gluconeogenesis, or glycolysis and is totally safe as opposed to the pathological condition of ketoacidosis.  Unfortunately many nutritional consultants will say a diet that greatly restricts carbohydrate intake is dangerous as can deprive the glucose dependent tissues of their sole energy source and can also lead to severe hypoglycemia. These notions are just not consistent with basic physiology.  If a deprivation of glucose occurs, the body will begin to break down its fat reserves (triglycerides).  The glycerol then enters a gluconeogenic pathway and is transformed to glucose.  Simultaneously some muscle is broken down and the amino acid alanine is converted into glucose in the liver via another gluconeogenic process “the Alanine – Glucose Cycle.  The kidneys use yet another pathway and convert the amino acid glutamine into even more glucose (incidentally this process also helps maintain proper acid/base balance thus preventing ketoacidosis-Type I diabetics being the exception).  Hypoglycemia therefore occurs, NOT because of a lack of glucose (there is no lack of glucose) but rather because of an overproduction of insulin following the ingestion of a high glycemic carbohydrate.  Hypoglycemia should be more properly termed “reactive hypoglycemia” and this condition will almost always resolve completely within two weeks of the protocol. Finally remember, our ‘interventional phase’ is not a lifestyle, there is a beginning and an end!  Think of it as “a bridge” to a well- balanced diet in which healthy, complex carbohydrates are essential.

By: Michael P. Ciell, RPh,
Chief Science Officer and V-P of Clinic Operations, Ideal Protein of America








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