- With Mayo Clinic nutritionist
Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D.read biographyclose window
Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D.Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D.
As a specialty editor for the nutrition and healthy eating guide, Katherine Zeratsky helps you sort through the facts and figures, the fads and the hype to learn more about nutrition and diet.
A Marinette, Wis., native, Katherine is certified in dietetics by the state of Minnesota and the American Dietetic Association. She has been with Mayo Clinic since 1999.
She is active in nutrition-related curriculum and course development in wellness nutrition at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and nutrition education related to weight management and practical applications of nutrition-related lifestyle changes.
Other areas of interest include food and nutrition for all life stages, active lifestyles and the culinary arts.
She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, served a dietetic internship at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, and worked as a registered dietitian and health risk counselor at ThedaCare of Appleton, Wis., before joining the Mayo Clinic staff.
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- Diet soda: Is it bad for you?
- Stevia: Can it help with weight control?
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Healthy diets (10)
- Canola oil: Does it contain toxins?
- Butter vs. margarine: Which is better for my heart?
- Detox diets: Do they work?
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Healthy cooking (7)
- When the heat is on, which oil should you use?
- Moldy cheese: Is it OK to eat?
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Healthy menus and shopping strategies (8)
- Calories in sushi: What are the low-cal options?
- White whole-wheat bread: Is it nutritious?
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Nutritional supplements (18)
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High-protein diets: Are they safe?
Are high-protein diets safe for weight loss?
from Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D.
For most healthy people, a high-protein diet generally isn't harmful if followed for a short time, such as six months or less, and may help with weight loss.
However, the risks of using a high-protein diet with carbohydrate restriction for the long term are still being studied. Several health problems may result if a high-protein diet is followed for an extended time:
- Some high-protein diets restrict carbohydrate intake so much that they can result in nutritional deficiencies or insufficient fiber, which can cause health problems such as constipation and diverticulitis.
- Some high-protein diets promote foods such as red meat and full-fat dairy products, which may increase your risk of heart disease.
- A high-protein diet may worsen kidney function in people with kidney disease because your body may have trouble eliminating all the waste products of protein metabolism.
If you want to follow a high-protein diet, do so only as a short-term weight-loss aid. Also, choose your protein wisely. Good choices include fish, skinless chicken, lean beef, pork and low-fat dairy products. Choose carbs that are high in fiber, such as whole grains and nutrient-dense vegetables and fruit.
It's always a good idea to talk with your doctor before starting a weight-loss diet. And that's especially important in this case if you have kidney disease, diabetes or other chronic health condition.
Finally, keep in mind that weight loss may be temporary, especially if you return to your previous way of eating.Next question
Monosodium glutamate (MSG): Is it harmful?
- Kushner RF, et al. Low-carbohydrate, high-protein diets revisited. Current Opinion in Gastroenterology. 2008;24:198.
- Brehm BJ, et al. Benefits of high-protein weight loss diets: Enough evidence for practice? Current Opinion in Endocrinology, Diabetes & Obesity. 2008;15:416.
- Larsen TM, et al. Diets with high or low protein content and glycemic index for weight-loss maintenance. New England Journal of Medicine. 2010;363:2102.
- Hensrud DD (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. April 15, 2012.
- Astrup A, et al. Atkins and other low-carbohydrate diets: Hoax or an effective tool for weight loss? The Lancet. 2004;364:897.
- Walker C, et al. Diets for cardiovascular disease prevention: What is the evidence? American Family Physician. 2009;79:571.
- Westerterp-Planteng MS, et al. Dietary protein, weight loss, and weight maintenance. Annual Review of Nutrition. 2009;29:21.