Amino acids are the building blocks of our bodies. Twenty (or so) amino acids come together to create the proteins that form our tissues, muscles, hair and skin.. Logically, proteins that we eat are digested and reduced to their amino acid components. Makes sense, right? So it isn’t too surprising that someone has created a diet named after these hard working molecules: the amino diet.
Many amino acids are synthesized by our bodies as required. We don’t need to eat them or take a pill, we manufacture them on demand. There are a few amino acids called “essential amino acids” that we don’t synthesize at all or in sufficient quantities. That means that we must eat foods that contain them. For those of us who remember our biochemistry fondly, these essential amino acids are: isoleucine, leucine, lysine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine. There, I said it. Knew those premed classes would come in handy.
The amino diet promises weight loss from 15 to 30 pounds in a month. All you need to do is purchase their amino diet drops and follow their meal plan for 30 days. The drops contain homeopathic medicines and these essential amino acids that are said to stimulate fat burning and reduce hunger pangs.
The amino diet is broken down into three phases. The first phase is where the weight loss magic happens. During this time, you will eat only 1,000 calories a day. These calories will come primarily from lean protein (think fish and chicken), vegetables and fruit. Your calorie intake is very low. The government’s minimum recommended calorie intake for a safe diet is 1,200 calories a day. The amino acid diet leaves this in the rear view mirror. At this low calorie level, exercise should be restricted for safety’s sake.
After 30 days, you should be at your goal weight. If you aren’t, the amino diet experts say that it is safe to continue the regimen for an additional 60 days. You will, of course, need to order additional diet drops.
Once you have reached your goal weight, you enter phase two of the program. During these three weeks, your body adjusts to the new normal. You maintain the sharply restricted calorie intake, but cut back on the amino diet drops. This weans you off dependence on the magic liquid.
Phase three is your “diet for life” phase. You can slowly add food back into your diet, especially those foods containing starch and sugar that you’ve been missing to keenly. Your calorie intake floats back up to normal. According to the amino diet folks, though, your weight will not climb back up.
The amino diet proponents say that this three-step cycle can be repeated over and over. They are proud to report that some patients have lost over 100 pounds! Of course, you mileage may vary, the disclaimer says.
So can these amino acids drops help you lose weight? There is no question that amino acids are critical to life, and that we need to consume certain amino acids because we don’t make them naturally. Unfortunately, there are no formal, scientific studies that have shown any value in consuming these amino acid drops. Certainly, eating only 1,000 calories a day will let you lose weight, but at what cost? This is an unsafe level of nourishment, and your body will quickly shift into starvation mode. That means that once you do start to eat normally again, each and every calorie will be savored and saved. The weight you worked so hard to lose is almost certain to return.
Do yourself a favor. Stay safe and chose from the many safe and proven effective diets that are available. Your body will thank you.