High-protein diets are an option, but not the only option

Healthy food for beautiful hair
You may have read some of our recent content at Diet Doctor focusing on higher protein diets. We hope you have found the information helpful as a means to achieving healthy, sustainable, and enjoyable weight loss.

However, you may have also read some of the controversies around our content. Have we abandoned low carb and keto to promote only the P:E Diet? (the Protein-to-Energy ratio Diet) Have we joined the low-fat enthusiasts warning about the dangers of any dietary fat?

The answer to both of these questions is a resounding “No.” But perhaps we haven’t been clear enough in that messaging.

First, I want to thank all of you who have provided thoughtful and constructive feedback to help us learn where we need to clarify our message (you know who you are!).

Here is my attempt at clearing the air.

1- We want to help millions of people succeed with healthy weight loss. By that, we mean enjoyable, sustainable weight loss that helps you lose mostly fat with minimal decrease in your resting metabolic rate and with significant improvements in your metabolic health.

2- We acknowledge that more than one way exists to achieve healthy weight loss. Scientific data and clinical experience demonstrate that keto and low-carb diets work. High protein (with or without low carb) also works. And studies show a very low-fat, high-carb diet can also work for some people. So, which diet is best? The one that works best for you. And that depends on many individual factors.

Regardless of the specific diet chosen, to be successful, diets all have certain factors in common. All must do the following:

  • Provide adequate nutrition
  • Reduce hunger
  • Focus mostly on whole foods
  • Eliminate or greatly reduce ultra-processed foods
  • Fit with your lifestyle, tastes, and preferences
  • Improve metabolic health (which includes reducing insulin and blood sugar levels)

3- If we acknowledge many different options, why are we recently focusing so much on higher protein diets? This is a great question. We have spent years focusing on low-carb and keto, often called low-carb, high fat (LCHF) diets. We have become the world’s leading site for low carb and keto content, recipes, and meal plans. We still have far more keto content than we have high protein content. Therefore, we wanted to balance things out by creating more information about the role of higher protein diets in weight loss as a way of creating more choices for people to succeed in their health goals.

4- Some feel we have gone too far and are now “fat bashing” or promoting “fat-phobia.” We regret that our message hasn’t been clear on this subject. But that is not our intent.

As an example, someone may lose weight and feel great on a 20% protein, 5% carb, and 75% fat diet. Someone else may do the same with a 30% protein, 10% carb, and 60% fat diet. The latter is a low-carb, higher protein diet, but by no means is it a low-fat diet.

Instead, we want to emphasize that you don’t need to eat as much fat as possible to succeed with healthy weight loss. There can come a point where eating too much fat holds back your progress. In fact, after achieving initial success on a keto diet, some people start gaining weight again or may stall in further weight loss when they still have many pounds to lose.

Reducing fat and adding more protein may be the shift they need to break the stall. How much fat and protein? The exact amounts may be different for different people. We want you to have the information and tools to help you find the right amount for you.

We want to stress, however, that if you are happy with your weight loss progress, your food choices, your health improvements, and the amount of carbs, fat, and protein you are eating on your keto diet, you don’t need to change a thing

5- Our new higher protein content focuses on healthy weight loss as the underlying goal. We recognize that higher protein is not the only way to achieve healthy weight loss (LCHF has worked well for many!). In addition, not everyone shares this as their primary health goal. For mental health benefits, cancer treatment or prevention, seizure control, migraine prevention, other neurological benefits, or other various goals, a higher fat/lower protein, low-carb diet may be better for you. We are proud of our guides and articles that address these various topics, even if we haven’t promoted them as strongly recently.

Diet Doctor’s mission is to empower people to dramatically improve their health. Empower means to equip you with the information you need to confidently make the choices that are right for you.

We hope this helps clarify any confusion surrounding our message and our core beliefs about what the best nutrition options are for most people. We welcome your continued constructive feedback and suggestions for how we can be clearer and how we can help you achieve your health and lifestyle goals.

Thanks for reading,
Bret Scher, MD FACC


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