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Dr. Oz: High protein Atkins-style low carb diets best for health and weight loss

Get Dr. Oz's new diet tips.
Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images

In recent years, many studies have shown that low carb diets are best for health and weight loss. After years of praising whole grains, Dr. Mehmet Oz has decided to respect that research. He explained why high protein low carb diets trump low-fat high carb plans for weight loss and health on his August 4 talk show.

Dr. Oz emphasizes that choosing the right kind of protein is important. For example, processed cold cuts often are high in sodium and sometimes even contain added sugar. In contrast, pure protein choices such as eggs and salmon can boost your metabolism, cut cravings and help you lose weight more easily.

In addition, it's important to customize your protein servings. A sedentary middle-aged woman who is five feet tall, for example, has very different protein needs than an active young man who is six feet tall.

Timing counts, too. Although the traditional American menu features cereal at breakfast, a sandwich at noon and then a hefty serving of protein such as steak at dinner only, Dr. Oz recommends eating a serving of protein at each meal. He also suggests using protein for low carb diet snacks.

But all protein bars are not created equal, warns Dr. Oz. If you want to use a protein bar as a snack, look for an option that contains minimal sugar, such as Quest bars. Choose bars with a minimum of 10 grams of protein and less than 350 calories.

The high protein low carb diet recommended by Dr. Oz resembles the Atkins ketogenic diet. It's become popular again recently with celebrities such as Sharon Osbourne and Kim Kardashian crediting it for their own weight loss success.

While Dr. Oz's protein diet advice may seem simple and sensible, he frequently touts supplements on his show that he describes as "weight loss miracles." The repeated focus on these pseudo-scientific products has caused many to question whether viewers should contain to trust Dr. Oz's weight loss advice, reported U.S. News & World Report on August 4.

During the years since Dr. Oz first started his talk show, he has highlighted more than 15 "magic miracles." Those products include yacon syrup, green coffee bean extract, raspberry ketones, and Garcinia cambogia, noted celebrity trainer Harley Pasternak.

"All promise to raise your metabolism and melt away fat without the need to change your diet or up your activity level. Sounds too good to be true. And of course, it is," cautions Pasternak.

Dr. Oz recently appeared in front of a Senate subcommittee to discuss his claims. He said that he viewed himself as "a cheerleader for the audience...I do look everywhere, including in alternative healing traditions, for any evidence that might be supportive to them."

So is there evidence that high protein diets can help with weight loss? Yes, according to several studies that show these types of low carb diets increase total weight loss as well as fat loss, cited in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

For example, a six-month randomized trial of 60 overweight and obese subjects showed that participants lost almost twice as much fat on a high-protein diet as on a moderate protein diet. Researchers noted that eating protein helps to curb cravings by satisfying your hunger more quickly.

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