The Ideal Protein Diet was created by Dr. Tran Tien Chanh and Olivier Benloulou.

Its principles were first used more than 20 years ago by Dr. Tran Tien Chanh, who was looking to create a safer and easier weight loss protocol for his patients.

This diet is considered ketogenic, a regimen that typically involves replacing carb intake with fat to put your body in a state called ketosis.

However, the Ideal Protein Diet takes a modified approach in which fat intake is also temporarily restricted. Its advocates claim that this makes it more effective at burning through your body’s fat stores.

This diet is said to be based on valid science for weight loss, as it applies the principles of a ketogenic diet alongside healthy lifestyle education.

The diet is managed and promoted by a company called Ideal Protein, also known as Laboratoires C.O.P., Inc.

Here is a detailed review of the Ideal Protein Diet.

RATING SCORE BREAKDOWN
  • Overall score: 3.5
  • Fast weight loss: 4
  • Long-term weight loss: 3
  • Easy to follow: 4
  • Nutrition quality: 3

BOTTOM LINE: The Ideal Protein Diet is a well-researched and -developed diet protocol. However, it’s pricey, relies on packaged or processed foods and drastically reduces calorie intake, which may cause uncomfortable side effects.

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To get started on the Ideal Protein Diet, you must first contact an authorized clinic or center, as this diet requires one-on-one guidance from a licensed healthcare practitioner or trained coach to assist you in your weight loss goals.

There are plenty of sites available across North America, which can be found on Ideal Protein’s website.

The Ideal Protein Diet is divided into four unique phases:

  • Phase 1: Weight loss
  • Phase 2: 14-day
  • Phase 3: Pre-stabilization
  • Phase 4: Maintenance

Phase 1: Weight Loss (Duration Flexible)

Phase 1 of the Ideal Protein Diet is known as the weight loss phase.

It’s meant to be followed until you reach 100% of your weight loss goal.

During this phase, people are asked to eat:

  • An Ideal Protein breakfast.
  • An Ideal Protein lunch with 2 cups of selected veggies (see below in the chapter “Foods to Eat”).
  • An 8-ounce (225-gram) portion of protein with 2 cups of selected veggies.
  • An Ideal Protein snack.

These Ideal Protein meals can only be purchased through authorized clinics or centers. Most meals provide 20 grams of protein and less than 200 calories per serving.

You can eat unlimited raw vegetables from their specified list with lunch and dinner.

In addition to the meals, dieters are told to consume the following supplements, which also must be purchased through authorized clinics or centers:

  • Breakfast: 1 multivitamin and 1 potassium supplement.
  • Dinner: 1 multivitamin, 2 calcium-magnesium supplements and 2 omega-3 supplements.
  • Snack: 2 calcium-magnesium supplements.
  • With all meals: 1–2 digestive enzyme supplements.
  • Once daily: 2 antioxidant supplements and 1/4 teaspoon of Ideal Salt.

Since the diet drastically reduces calorie intake, exercise is generally not recommended during the first three weeks, as it may cause unwanted side effects.

Phase 2: 14-Day (Two Weeks)

Phase 2 of the Ideal Protein Diet is known as the 14-day phase. It begins once you reach your weight loss goal.

While similar to the weight loss phase, this phase allows you to eat a real food lunch containing 8 ounces (225 grams) of protein with 2 cups of selected veggies. Dinner is similar.

The supplements you take here are the same as in phase 1.

Phase 3: Pre-Stabilization (Two Weeks)

Phase 3 is the pre-stabilization phase and starts the transition to a maintenance diet.

This phase is simple because all you have to do is swap your Ideal Protein food at breakfast for whole foods. It should include a protein, carb and fat option, as well as a piece of fruit.

Additionally, you’re no longer required to take the potassium supplement with breakfast.

Reintroducing carbs at breakfast is said to help restart your pancreas’s production of insulin and train it to produce the right amount. However, no clinical studies back up this claim.

Phase 4: Maintenance (One Year)

Phase 4 is the last phase of the Ideal Protein Diet.

This phase is a maintenance plan that lasts for 12 months. The goal of this phase is to teach you how to keep weight off while enjoying more dietary freedom.

Although this phase lasts 12 months, you are meant to follow its core principles for life.

There are several key principles in this phase:

  • Fats and carbs: Outside of breakfast, avoid combining foods that are rich in carbs and fats. For instance, if you eat a fat- and protein-based meal for lunch, limit your carb intake.
  • Protein: Take your body weight in pounds and cut it in half, then aim to consume that number of grams of protein each day. For instance, a 150-pound person should consume at least 75 grams of protein per day.
  • Indulgence day: One day each week, you are allowed to indulge in foods that are normally restricted on the Ideal Protein Diet.

Some supplements are recommended during this phase, but they’re optional.

Summary The Ideal Protein Diet is a four-phase ketogenic diet that must be undertaken with one-on-one coaching by a licensed healthcare practitioner or trained consultant.

The Ideal Protein Diet has several potential benefits that make it popular for weight loss.

May Help You Lose Weight

The Ideal Protein Diet is a modified version of the ketogenic diet.

There is strong evidence that following a ketogenic diet can promote weight loss.

For instance, an analysis of 13 studies showed that a ketogenic diet was more effective than a low-fat diet at promoting weight loss and helping patients keep weight off (1).

That said, published scientific studies that specifically examine the Ideal Protein Diet are lacking. Such studies are needed before it can be assessed how the Ideal Protein Diet stacks up to a regular ketogenic diet or any other weight loss diet.

Easy and Convenient

Diets like the Ideal Protein Diet are attractive for busy people.

During the weight loss phase, you will frequently consume premade Ideal Protein foods. The only exception is dinners, for which you must measure your protein and vegetable portions.

Consuming mostly premade meals can drastically reduce the amount of time spent shopping, planning and preparing meals, freeing up more time for people who have a hectic schedule.

Overall, the Ideal Protein Diet involves significantly less prep work than most diets.

Involves Professional Support

The Ideal Protein Diet provides support from a licensed healthcare practitioner or trained consultant, which can aid weight loss and help keep it off.

In fact, studies have shown that people are more likely to stick to a weight loss program when they have support throughout the process (2, 3).

What’s more, support helps people stay accountable (4).

May Increase Insulin Sensitivity and Improve Blood Sugar Control

Carrying excess fat can raise your risk of type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome.

As ketogenic diets can help you lose excess fat, they may also reduce risk factors for diabetes and metabolic syndromes, such as insulin resistance — all of which helps blood sugar control.

In one study, ketogenic diets reduced insulin resistance by a whopping 75% (5).

In another study, obese people with type 2 diabetes who followed a low-carb diet experienced a significant decrease in insulin resistance (6).

May Reduce Heart Disease Risk Factors

During the weight loss phase, the Ideal Protein Diet closely resembles a ketogenic diet.

Studies have shown that low-carb and ketogenic diets can improve heart disease risk factors.

For instance, a review of studies showed that low-carb diets not only reduced body weight but lowered two heart disease risk factors — total and “bad” LDL cholesterol (7)

In another analysis of studies, obese people who followed a ketogenic diet experienced a significant decrease in systolic and diastolic blood pressure, visceral fat, fasting blood sugars, blood insulin levels and blood triglyceride levels (8).

Summary The Ideal Protein Diet offers several potential benefits, including weight loss, ease of use, professional support, increased insulin sensitivity and reduced heart disease risk.

While the Ideal Protein Diet has several potential benefits, it also has a few drawbacks.

Cost

For people on a budget, the Ideal Protein Diet can be quite expensive.

Though Ideal Protein’s website does not list the costs of the diet, partner clinics offer services ranging from $320–450 — and that’s just to get started.

The difference in cost depends on how much the clinic charges for an initial consultation.

Once started, the Ideal Protein Diet will set you back approximately $15 per day.

Many Ideal Protein Foods Are Highly Processed

Many of the prepackaged Ideal Protein foods are highly processed.

They contain a variety of oils, additives and artificial sweeteners that are not naturally present in whole foods.

If you avoid prepackaged foods, the Ideal Protein Diet is not a good fit for you.

Very Restrictive

People who love flexibility may struggle with the Ideal Protein Diet, as it severely limits dietary options — especially in its early phases.

For instance, during phase 1, dinner is the only meal in which you can prepare your own dishes. Otherwise, you must eat Ideal Protein portions at breakfast, lunch and snack time.

What’s more, the diet restricts foods that play a role in healthy weight loss — such as whole grains, nuts, avocados and more.

That said, this diet does offer more freedom once you reach the maintenance phase.

Not Vegan-Friendly

The Ideal Protein Diet is not suitable for vegans, as its prepackaged foods sometimes contain eggs and dairy products.

However, vegetarians can still follow it.

If you avoid all animal products, a vegan low-carb diet may be more suitable.

Limited Outside North America

The Ideal Protein Diet is featured in over 3,500 clinics and centers across the world.

However, most of these sites are in North America, making the diet difficult to follow elsewhere.

Keep in mind that the diet cannot be followed without a supporting clinic.

There is a virtual support center for people in areas where clinics are unavailable. Still, if you go this route, you may need to import meals to your country.

May Experience Uncomfortable Symptoms

Another downside of the Ideal Protein Diet is its drastic reduction in calorie intake.

For instance, most of its meals have less than 200 calories, which means you may be consuming under 1,000 total calories per day.

Such restricted diets are not recommended — unless advised by a doctor — for children, pregnant or breastfeeding women, adults 65 and older and adults with certain medical conditions.

Reducing your calorie intake so sharply may cause side effects, such as:

  • Hunger
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Constipation
  • Cold intolerance
  • Hair thinning and hair loss
  • Gallstones
  • An irregular menstrual cycle

If the Ideal Protein Diet impedes your quality of life, consider going off it.

Summary The Ideal Protein Diet has many drawbacks, including cost, highly processed foods, severe dietary restrictions, limited geographic availability and potentially serious side effects.

The Ideal Protein Diet is very restrictive during phases 1 (weight loss) and 2 (14-day).

For instance, phase 1 requires you to eat three premade Ideal Protein dishes per day. The exception is dinner, for which you are allowed to select a protein option.

Here are some protein possibilities for the Ideal Protein Diet:

  • Fish: Any fish, such as anchovy, cod, flounder, hake, tuna, tilapia, mahi-mahi, red snapper, redfish, trout or salmon. However, limit salmon to once a week.
  • Other seafood: Squid, shrimp, oysters, mussels, lobster, crawfish, clams, scampi, scallops or crab.
  • Poultry: Skinless chicken, turkey, fowl, quail or wild birds.
  • Beef: Tenderloin, sirloin, very lean ground beef, rump or other steak cuts.
  • Pork: Fat-free ham or tenderloin.
  • Veal: Tenderloin, breast, shoulder, rib, shank, cutlet or other cuts.
  • Vegetarian: Eggs or tofu (plain).
  • Other: Venison, bison, kidney, lamb loin, liver, rabbit, ostrich or others.

With lunch and dinner, you are also allowed to consume two cups of selected vegetables or an unlimited amount of company-approved raw vegetables. These include:

  • Selected vegetables (2 cups per meal): Asparagus, bean sprouts, rhubarb, okra, sauerkraut, zucchini, yellow summer squash, chicory, alfalfa, kale and more.
  • Raw vegetables: Lettuces, celery, mushrooms, radish, spinach, radicchio and endives.

Here are the permitted seasonings and condiments for this diet:

  • Seasonings and toppings: Herbs (all), garlic, ginger, vinegar (white and apple cider), tamari, soy sauce, hot sauce, hot mustard, spices (MSG- and carb-free), mint and more.

Once you reach phases 3 and 4, you can reintroduce more carb, dairy and fat options, including:

  • Complex carbs: Whole-grain bread and whole-grain, sugar-free cereal.
  • Fruits: Bananas, apples, peaches, cherries, papaya, grapefruit, apricots, plums, tangerine, watermelon, passion fruit, grapes, oranges, kiwifruit and more.
  • Dairy: Butter, milk, yogurt and cheese.
  • Fats: Margarine and oils.
Summary The Ideal Protein Diet is quite restrictive and only allows specific foods alongside Ideal Protein meals.

The following foods are forbidden during phases 1 and 2 of the Ideal Protein Diet.

  • Pasta (other than Ideal Protein brand), rice, legumes, breads and cereals.
  • All root vegetables, including potatoes, beets and carrots.
  • Sweet peas and corn.
  • All fruit.
  • All dairy, with the exception of 1 ounce (30 ml) of milk in coffee or tea.
  • All nuts.
  • All soda.
  • All junk foods, including candy, chocolate bars and potato chips.
  • All commercial fruit juices and vegetable juices.
  • All alcohol (beer, wine, spirits, etc).

Once you reach phase 3, you’re allowed fruit, oils, dairy and complex carbs, such as whole-grain breads.

Summary The Ideal Protein Diet prohibits foods such as pasta, root vegetables, fruit, dairy and nuts. However, it allows more flexibility in its later phases.

Here is an idea of what one day of each phase of the Ideal Protein Diet might look like. Keep in mind that Ideal Protein recommends the brand Natura for all vitamins, supplements and enzymes.

Phase 1

  • Breakfast: One Ideal Protein food (such as apple-flavored oatmeal), one multivitamin, one potassium and 1–2 enzymes.
  • Lunch: One Ideal Protein food (such as beef stroganoff), two cups of selected vegetables and 1–2 enzymes. Optional raw vegetables.
  • Dinner: 8 ounces (225 grams) of a protein source, 2 cups of selected vegetables, one multivitamin, two calcium-magnesium supplements, two omega-3 supplements and 1–2 enzymes. Optional raw vegetables.
  • Snack: One Ideal Protein food (such as a peanut butter bar), two calcium-magnesium supplements and 1–2 enzymes.
  • Once daily: Two antioxidant supplements and 1/4 teaspoon Ideal salt.

Phase 2

  • Breakfast: One Ideal Protein food (such as an herbs-and-cheese omelet), one multivitamin, one potassium supplement and 1–2 enzymes.
  • Lunch: 8 ounces (225 grams) of a protein source, 2 cups of selected vegetables and 1–2 enzymes. Optional raw vegetables.
  • Dinner: 8 ounces (225 grams) of a protein source, 2 cups of selected vegetables, one multivitamin, two calcium-magnesium supplements, two omega-3 supplements and 1–2 enzymes. Optional raw vegetables.
  • Snack: One Ideal Protein food (such as a vanilla peanut bar), two calcium-magnesium supplements and 1–2 enzymes.
  • Once daily: Two antioxidant supplements and 1/4 teaspoon Ideal salt.

Phase 3

  • Breakfast: One Ideal Protein complete meal or a breakfast containing a protein, a carb, a fat/dairy option and fruit (for example, eggs with cheese, whole-grain bread and an apple). Also, one multivitamin and 1–2 enzymes.
  • Lunch: 8 ounces (225 grams) of a protein source, 2 cups of selected vegetables and 1–2 enzymes. Optional raw vegetables.
  • Dinner: 8 ounces (225 grams) of a protein source, 2 cups of selected vegetables, one multivitamin, two calcium-magnesium supplements, two omega-3 supplements and 1–2 enzymes. Optional raw vegetables.
  • Snack: One Ideal Protein food (such as peanut soy puffs), two calcium-magnesium supplements and 1–2 enzymes.
  • Once daily: Two antioxidant supplements and 1/4 teaspoon Ideal salt.

Phase 4

  • Breakfast: Whole-grain bread and eggs with ham or cheese and one multivitamin.
  • Lunch: Low-carb entrée (such as a chicken salad with white sauce).
  • Dinner: Low-fat entrée with complex carbs (such as spaghetti bolognese) and one multivitamin.
  • Snack: One Ideal Protein food or healthy snack of your choice (such as almonds) and two calcium-magnesium supplements.
Summary Your menu for the Ideal Protein Diet depends on the phase. Keep in mind that this diet includes a variety of supplements that must be taken at different meals.

The Ideal Protein Diet is a modified keto diet that adds proven techniques like professional support and healthy eating education to aid weight loss.

Though it’s convenient and designed to ensure long-term success, it’s expensive, restrictive, loaded with prepackaged meals and less accessible outside of America.

Though the Ideal Protein Diet is based on scientific principles, it’s not supported by clinical studies. Therefore, its effectiveness is unknown.