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What are the Side Effects of the Ideal Protein Diet?

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Because of the various no-carb, low-carb, and slow carb diets on the market today, clients often ask if there are any side effects of the Ideal Protein Diet. The question is usually centered on the side effects of eating a low-carb, high-protein diet, and they want to know what effect the Ideal Protein Diet will have on their body.

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Ideal Protein Diet Side Effects

What are the side effects of the Ideal Protein Diet?

I’m not going to sugar coat things for you…because, well, we don’t use a lot of sugar around here, but chances are you may feel some side effects in the first few days of being in the Ideal Protein Weight Loss protocol.

I’m guessing that you probably haven’t been feeding your body the best foods. What have you been eating? Do you take a sugary, flavored creamer in your morning coffee? Have you been eating a lot of processed, refined carbohydrates like white flour, pasta and breads? What about your intake of pre-packaged foods like snack foods and frozen dinners? What’s really in those? Can you read the ingredients?

There will always be side effects and discomfort to any dramatic dietary change. Not only does your body have to adjust to the new foods you are feeding it, it must also release and eliminate the toxins present in many of the foods you were eating prior to starting the Ideal Protein Diet. The good news is that these side effects will occur in the first few days of the diet as your body makes the transition and are temporary.

Hunger: A Rare Side Effect Since You Can Eat Unlimited Greens

Hunger will be a temporary side effect of the Ideal Protein Diet. How many calories have you been eating per day? On the Ideal Protein diet your caloric intake will be restricted, and this will cause you to feel hungry until your body adjusts.

In the first few days of the diet you may eat up to 5 Ideal Protein foods (but only one restricted) if you feel hungry. Throughout the diet, you can also eat unlimited salad greens, which will add fiber to your diet and will help you feel full. By the fourth day on the diet, your body should start producing ketonic bodies and the hunger pangs will subside as long as you stick to the protocol. No cheating!

Headaches: A Side Effect of Reduced Sugar Intake

When you dramatically reduce your sugar intake as you will on the Ideal Protein diet, one of the side effects is headaches. Headaches occur when insulin secretion is abruptly reduced. Again, this is the body adjusting to the foods you’re providing it and the headaches will subside after the first few days. Personally, I experienced what I’ll call “withdrawal headaches” years ago when I tried to jumpstart my weight loss with an intestinal cleanse. I went cold-turkey, no sugars, no alcohol. Oh Lord! I had massive headaches.

Having learned my lesson from that experience, I tapered off my sugar and alcohol intake before I started the Ideal Protein diet in attempt to ward off the side effect of headaches. For me, it worked. If you feel dizzy or light-headed or have headaches in the first few days on the Ideal Protein Diet, you can take 1/3 of a teaspoon of sea-salt in 8 oz. of water and it will usually alleviate the headache in about 15 minutes.

Headaches later in the protocol are cause by lack of water and can be eliminated simply by making sure you get your water intake each day.

Nausea: Use Lighter Ideal Protein Foods First to Avoid This Side Effect

When you start the Ideal Protein diet, nausea is another side effect. The Ideal Protein Diet includes a morning meal of protein and if you are not used to eating breakfast, the body may react with nausea.

There are several light Ideal Protein foods such as the Cappuccino Drink Mix or Chocolate Drink Mix, with which it is best to start. If you’re not used to having a big breakfast, breakfast foods like the pancake or omelet may make you nauseous.

Wait to try those until the end of your first week on the diet if you normally haven’t eaten breakfast in the past. Then experiment with several of the different Ideal Protein foods on the breakfast list and see which ones work the best for you.

Bad Breath: A Happy Side Effect of the Ideal Protein Diet

Another side effect of the Ideal Protein Diet is bad breath. Although this may be a socially negative thing, it is actually a positive sign for your body and your diet. It means your body is in ketosis, meaning that the body has used up its stores of carbohydrates. At that point, the body switches to burning fat to produce energy. That’s a very good thing!

RememberNO GUM!!! Gum can have “hidden” carbs. Food companies don’t have to list carbohydrates if there is less than 1 gram, so gum can have .9 carbs and be listed as ZERO CARB. If you chew a few sticks of gum, it could kick you out of ketosis!

Listerine Breath Strips/Spray and Binaca Spray are acceptable alternatives to gum.

Fighting the Side Effect of Fatigue

Two things can cause fatigue while on the Ideal Protein Diet. You may either have low blood pressure or low blood sugar.

The Side Effect of Fatigue Due to Low Blood Pressure Is Easy to Fix

Low blood pressure can cause fatigue as a side effect, and can be particularly noticeable if you are taking a prescription diuretic. The best thing to do if you are experiencing fatigue while on the Ideal Protein Diet is to make sure you are getting enough sea salt and increase the amount of water you drink each day.

Check your blood pressure daily, and see your doctor if your BP is consistently low.

Low Blood Sugar is the Most Common Side Effect

Typically fatigue associated with low blood sugar will only occur within the first five days of starting the Ideal Protein Diet. If this side effect occurs, eat an additional packet of unrestricted Ideal Protein food. Once you’ve been on the diet for at least a week, you should only experience fatigue if you have cheated or consumed too many carbohydrates. If that happens, figure out where you went wrong, strengthen your resolve, listen to your coach, and get yourself back on track.

Constipation: Don’t Drink Your Water and You May Experience This Side Effect

As unpleasant as it sounds, you may experience constipation as a side effect of the Ideal Protein Diet. If this occurs, it’s important to make sure you’re getting AT LEAST 2 liters of water per day and eating four cups of vegetables in addition to a green salad each day. The veggies will provide the fiber your body needs to eliminate.

Those are the typical Ideal Protein Diet side effects. The good news is; they’re temporary! Stick to the protocol, drink enough water, eat your veggies, and get your sea salt, and you shouldn’t experience any of these side effects after the first few days, if at all.

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12 comments on “What are the Side Effects of the Ideal Protein Diet?”
  1. Rosie

    Hey guys.
    So I am on this diet as well. And I have loss about 10 pounds within two weeks. I take apple cider vinegar mixed with 12oz mug of water. Also I make this soup that is with chicken broth and veggies . But it helps fill me up.

  2. Jody

    What happens if I eat more than one of the restricted snacks or more protein in one day ?

    1. Tammy Benner


      Eating more than one restricted food in a day will kick you out of ketosis. DON’T DO IT! Eating more protein in one day bumps up your calories and you lose slower. Remember with Ideal Protein 100% gets you results, 90% gets you a goose egg. That’s why we say EAT THE SHEET!!

      You can do it! GOod luck!

  3. this is the only diet that works for me.. !! i have no real side effects , more energy, wake up earlier! the trick will be keeping it off!!!

  4. adam anderson

    Can I substitute eggs for breakfast? If so how many?

    1. Tammy Benner


      You can borrow from your dinner protein to have eggs in the morning. 1 egg = 1 ounce. Don’t substitute anything. The diet is tried and true, and designed to help you lose weight the fastest. “Don’t Think, Just Shrink!1” is what I tell my dieters!

      Good luck,


  5. Connie

    I have been nauseated and finding it almost impossible to eat the dinner protein. I’m at the end of my second week and still happening. I dread eating the ptotein!!!

    1. Tammy Benner


      So sorry to hear that. Have you tried having your real protein earlier in the day, or in smaller amounts throughout the day? I have lots of dieters that can’t stand the idea of eating 8oz of protein at a sitting. So what I tell them is to have a couple eggs in the morning (1 egg = 1.3oz of meat) and then some meat at lunch (a few ounces of chicken or tuna) then the dinner protein isn’t so overwhelming. So you’re simply spreading out your 8oz of protein throughout the day.

      You can also substitute a very low carb IP food like a drink (anything but the chocolate drink MIX) or a soup for your protein. 1 packet = 4oz of protein. So I like to have 2 soups (that’s 5 IP foods total for the day) instead of my meat, or 1 extra soup (4 total IP foods) plus only 4 oz of protein.

      Hope that helps!


      1. adam anderson

        On day 3 . Been having headaches since starting.Advil doesn’t work. Any suggestions?

        1. Tammy Benner

          Salt Salt Salt!!! Get some nice pink Himalayan or Real brand sea salt, and eat it. You can put it on food if you like, or just take it as a shot of salt water as part of brushing your teeth! It’s great for gum health – swish it around in your mouth, swallow it, chase it with some water and then brush your teeth. My dentist patients LOVE when I give this advice!

          The headache should abate once you get fully into ketosis.

          Good luck!


  6. Kimberly Rubi

    I’ve had extreme dizziness on this diet. What should I do? My AIC was fine.


    1. Tammy Benner

      Kim, I’m not a physician so I am unable to give you specific medical advice. With my dieters that do NOT have hypertension AND that take the supplements religiously, I have found that extra salt staves away dizziness. That being said, I would speak with your IP Coach and physician for your own personal situation. Good luck! Tammy

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