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Published August 12, 2012, 11:30 PM

Protein-based weight-loss plan targets insulin control

The concept of weight loss through insulin control is the basis of the Ideal Protein weight-loss plan.

By: Tracy Frank, INFORUM

The concept of weight loss through insulin control is the basis of the Ideal Protein weight-loss plan.

The diet is a meal replacement system that combines a dieter’s vegetables, salads and lean animal protein with Ideal Protein foods, like shake mixes, soups, pudding, bars, even pancakes, cookies, and mixes for spaghetti Bolognese.

Michael Jorgensen, a chiropractor and certified wellness practitioner who owns Red River Wellness, Chiropractic & Weightloss in Fargo and Grand Forks, started offering the Ideal Protein plan at his Fargo clinic in June of 2010.

“It’s based on science. That’s what really attracted me to the program,” Jorgensen said. “It’s not based on some get-rich-quick diet program that I need to sell to my patients. We’re seeing real changes in their blood chemistries and their cholesterols and their blood pressures. Their bodies are returning to well-being, and that’s what’s so powerful about this.”

Only licensed health care providers can sell the product so weight loss can be monitored, Jorgensen said.

The diet targets insulin, which determines whether the body stores or burns fat, he said.

“The concept is to have people eat a steady supply of calories and healthy protein throughout the day to maintain stable blood sugar levels,” Jorgensen said. “When we keep carbohydrates virtually out of the system, insulin is not there, which allows the body to burn its fat stores.”

Jamie Benson, of Fargo, lost 80 pounds and 71 inches in 24 weeks on the plan.

“I started it because I had two co-workers on the program and was really impressed by how fast they lost weight,” Benson said. “And they were happy people; they weren’t crabby because they couldn’t eat.”

She said it was difficult at first, but she got used to the diet. She’s also gotten rid of her heartburn and is a happier person, she said.

“I used food a lot to cope with my emotions,” she said. “Now I’m learning healthier ways to cope.”

The program also teaches people the proper combinations of carbohydrates and proteins and how to make better food choices, said Stacy Wahl, wellness coordinator at Red River Wellness.

The difference between Ideal Protein and an Atkins-type diet, is that Atkins is very acidic, she said. She said the body also absorbs protein better from the Ideal Protein foods.

The diet is restricted to about 850 to 900 calories a day, but Jorgensen said it’s better than just eating an 850-calorie diet because it’s restricting insulin production and getting the body to burn fat instead of muscle.

“Anybody can starve themselves to lose weight,” he said. “That’s not what we’re trying to do. We’re trying to get the body to retain its muscle and burn only fat.”

The program costs $310 to start. That includes a consultation fee, nine days’ worth of food, and a month’s supply of vitamin and mineral supplements. A week’s worth of about three Ideal Protein foods cost $85. For about a month on the program, it would cost about $565.

“I just have high hopes,” Jorgensen said. “From what we’ve seen over the past few years, this is one of the big weapons we can use as a culture to beat back diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol. I’ve not seen it fail.”

Always check with your health care provider before making major dietary changes.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Tracy Frank at (701) 241-5526