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Ideal protein is a popular ketogenic diet. It has three different phases through the diet. The question is, Can ideal protein and diabetes work, to lose weight?
Going on a diet can be concerning for a diabetic. The trend these days is towards keto (ketogenic) style diets. These diets work off the premise that you eat extremely low carbohydrate amounts and higher amounts of protein or fat. The result is that it puts your body into ketosis, a metabolic state where fat is burned. For a diabetic, this means having ketones. I am already eating low-carb and cooking diabetic-friendly recipes, so what else do I need to do?
What is Ideal Protein?
Ideal protein is a ketogenic diet that involves eating low carb, low fat and high protein food to reset your metabolism to burn fat. Most keto diets focus on low-carb and high fats but Ideal protein is low-carb and low fat. The goal is the same, to put you into ketosis. the short answer to how it works is that ketosis is caused by the lack of carbohydrates and that causes your body to use your fat stores as energy.
When using ideal protein, you work with a counsellor, have regular weigh-ins and use the ideal protein food products.
One important component is that there isn’t supposed to be any cardio exercise during the ideal protein diet. Weight loss is achieved solely through the diet. I was not crazy about this idea, but it was just cardio. I was ok to exercise as long as it wasn’t hard exercise.
So here is how Ideal Protein worked for me.
The 3 phases of ideal protein
Phase 1 – is the first phase of the diet and can be the longest, depending on how much weight is lost and how long it takes to lose it. Phase 1 is the fat-burning phase. this is where you go into ketosis to start burning fat. Here is the first issue with ideal protein and diabetes.
Ketosis means having ketones, and that is a big red flag for us diabetics. Ketones can easily lead to ketoacidosis. I could not get a definitive answer if this was totally safe for a type 1 diabetic. My counsellor asked those higher-ups at seminars etc but was really not able to answer that question. I am sure that is why diabetics are placed on an Alternative Plan.
I think as a rule they deal with more type 2 diabetics and not type 1. It is recommended that all diabetics are placed on the Ideal protein alternative plan. So the alternative plan (as you will see) prevents you from going into ketosis and focuses on calorie restriction.
Ideal protein and diabetes in phase 1
Phase 1 is followed until 90% of your weight loss is achieved.
Phase 1 for a non-diabetic would look like this: an ideal protein product for breakfast, such as an ideal protein pancake and ideal protein syrup (or Walden farms) or ideal protein oatmeal. Lunch could be an ideal protein chicken patty and salad with an ideal protein dressing. Dinner/Supper could be a portion of meat such as cooked chicken breast, salmon or lean beef, a salad and steamed green vegetables.
Phase 1 for a diabetic looks like this:
Phase 1 for the alternative plan is exactly the same food choices, but other groups of foods are added to each meal
It is the same ideal protein pancake and ideal protein syrup accompanied by a small amount of fruit, such as raspberries, strawberries or blueberries. Lunch could be the same chicken patty, salad, ideal protein dressing and sugar-free yogurt. Dinner/supper could be the same meat, same salad, steamed green vegetables and add a small potato or small whole wheat roll.
It should be noted that the additions that are in the alternative plan can be tailored to your preference as far as timing goes. I didn’t have to have fruit at breakfast, I easily switched the fruit and had it at dinner and moved the starch from dinner to breakfast and I had a slice of whole-grain bread toasted.
Ideal protein and diabetes – Phase 2
Phase 2 – for both diabetics and non-diabetics phase 2, remains almost the same as phase 1 except you replace the ideal protein brand food from lunch with your choice of lean protein. You are essentially being weaned off of the ideal protein product, working back towards real food choices
Phase 2 lasts for 2 weeks.
Ideal protein and diabetes – Phase 3
The change in phase 3 is the elimination of the ideal protein food at breakfast and the introduction to the ideal complete foods. These basic meal replacements such as a bar, that contains all the necessary protein and nutrients that are expected in a meal.
Phase 3 also lasts for 2 weeks.
Also in all 3 phases
You get to have one restricted ideal protein product per day, such as an ideal protein caramel nut bar or ideal protein chilli. There are unlimited amounts of certain vegetables such as cucumbers, lettuce, celery, radishes etc. You also are required to take the ideal protein supplements as well as drink 2 litres of water per day, and have 2 tsp of oil such as olive oil. Non-diabetics are to have ideal protein salt but diabetics are not.
Some of the products available by ideal protein
This is not all products they sell, but this will give you some idea of what is available.
Breakfasts – oatmeal, omelette, pancake, rice crisp cereal, drink mix, like a chocolate smoothie type
Lunch – tomato basil soup, broccoli and cheese soup, chicken patty, creamy parmesan pasta, spaghetti bolognese,
Drinks – pina colada smoothie, chocolate smoothie, pumpkin spice latte, berry breakfast smoothie
Snacks – spicy trail mix, chocolate puffs, chocolate rice crisps, nacho cheese dorados, jalapeño cheddar crisps, salt and vinegar crisps.
Sweets ( well kinda) – salted caramel clusters, lemon wafer bars, chocolate caramel mug cake, double chocolate wafers.
There are many other food products available, this is just a short list. This list does not include restricted items such as chili, chocolate bars and brownies.
Ideal protein and diabetes – This article is for information purposes only. This is not medical advice.
Ideal protein and diabetes – My Ideal protein experience
My husband had retired and gained a bit of weight and wanted to give Ideal Protein a try. ! wanted to lose about 20 pounds, but had never gone on any sort of diet, in my life, other than a diabetic diet.
After getting my doctor’s okay to go on the Ideal Protein alternative plan, we made our first appointment. I quickly learned that dealing with diabetes, especially type 1, was not an everyday occurrence for the Ideal protein staff. The alternative plan had more carbs and fat incorporated into the diet than the regular diet. The protocol is a four-phase system, with weekly weigh-ins.
My doctor required blood work, ketone checks, and rigid blood sugar control. That was no problem for me, as I already maintain pretty consistent and good control.
My husband and I went together for weigh-ins. BIG MISTAKE. First of all, men and women lose weight at a different rate and I was on an alternative plan, which made it even slower for me. So we’d go and he’d lost 5 pounds and I’d lost maybe 2, and some weeks nothing. Towards the end, we started going separately and it was a little less stressful.
The weigh-ins keep you accountable and they take measurements and calculate body fat percentages etc, so that part was good. You have to purchase their food, as it’s a big part of the protocol. It was expensive, especially with both of us on it at once. so I was spending about $800 CAD -$900 CAD per month, for the two of us. it did work though. It was slow for me, but in four months I lost 27 pounds.
For me, it kept me accountable for my eating, as I had to weigh in weekly, and being able to buy their products after the fact is nice, but I’m not sure that I’d do it again. If you are considering Ideal protein or any other ketogenic diet, be sure you see your physician first.
Ideal protein and diabetes – what I learned
At the first meeting at our local ideal protein outlet, the counsellor told me that we would be going on a diabetic diet. I couldn’t believe my ears. after learning about it, it is not a diabetic diet. it has components of a diabetic diet but they are not the same.
What I discovered was that it (the alternative plan for me) ) was really about restricting calories, drinking lots of water, and protein keeps you from getting hungry and losing muscle and there are lots of vegetables to fill you up. The addition of carbs into the alternative plan prevents you from going into ketosis. So I am paying loads of cash to be on a keto diet without the keto.
During the time that I was on the diet, my blood sugar numbers were perfect. In the beginning, I had a couple of lows and I had to make a couple of adjustments on my insulin pump by reducing the amount of insulin I needed, but overall that was pretty optimal numbers.
When ideal protein promotors talk about a reset, I was told this is a pancreas reset. That is not applicable to a type 1 diabetic, since my pancreas doesn’t produce insulin there is nothing to reset (A good thing to keep in mind).
I kept an eye on my ketones while on the diet, and on most days there were none. There were a couple of times that I had a trace amount but none for the most part.
I had blood work done and there were no kidney issues and everything was coming out good.
One of the things I found difficult was that you aren’t supposed to exercise or work out while on the diet. I was a treadmill user at least 5 days a week. I found that hard to adjust to. I would go out on my bicycle once and a while and try to do a casual ride, but that wasn’t easy.
I put about 5 – 7 pounds back on over the last year and a half, but for the most part, I’ve kept the weight off. My body fat percentage has stayed in the healthy range, so that’s a bonus.
Ideal protein and diabetes – a benefit I enjoy
The one really nice thing is, that once you are a member, you can purchase their products anytime. Their products are not available in store. I still buy some of their products, such as salad dressings, chips, and sweet snacks. They taste pretty good and have only 5 grams of carb in each one. So if I’m craving chips or chocolate, I will have a bag of their chips and that satisfies me. Pictured below is the Ideal Protein version of Doritos, called Dorados. They are really pretty good. I have even had them with salsa or melted cheese and find it nice to be able to enjoy chips without the spike in. my blood sugar.
Ideal protein and diabetes – what does it cost?
Here’s the bad news. It is expensive. To purchase their food along with their supplement my husband and I were spending about 1000$ per month. It is 35$ per box of food and that is 7 portions. You need two ideal portions and a restricted portion every day on phase 1 along with the supplements. so that works out to three boxes per week plus supplements.
Would I do it again?
The answer to that is yes but I’d do it differently.
I would not use their supplements. I did some research and found some similar supplements from a less expensive brand. I would not eat the restricted item every day. I didn’t really feel any cravings for it but ate it because the plan allowed for it. Those two things would cut the cost and since I am really only doing it to cut calories, I don’t need to worry about the keto part of the diet.
The weigh-ins keep you committed. as someone is watching you, and asking you about your progress.
It is strictly limiting daily calories, so don’t compare yourself to someone else who is burning fat through ketosis.
If I could buy their products without signing up for the program I would just do that, but unfortunately, they are not available in retail stores yet.
Great anytime products that can be used while on the ideal protein protocol
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