Eat chicken fillets, burgers, steaks and lose pounds. That’s what high-protein diets like Atkins and the Zone promise you. It sounds too good to be true, and in many ways, it is. You need to think carefully before you go in for these fads, because they may not achieve the objective they’re touting.

Diets such as these often severely restrict foods like cereals, grain, fruits and vegetables, meaning you may not be getting enough fibre, vitamins and essential nutrients they contain, leading to digestive tract and kidney function problems, as your body may have trouble eliminating all the waste products of protein metabolism.

Your body loses water when you drastically cut carbs. With no extra carbs, it starts burning more fat for fuel. And while that sounds good it can also lead to mood swings, irritability, headaches and nausea.

You may be losing weight by focusing on meats, but too much meat and dairy consumption can raise your cholesterol and increase risk of heart disease. A more balanced diet which cuts fat but not too many carbs can be a better option.

Try tofu and other soy-based foods which are plant-based sources of protein instead of meat. Beans and lentils are an excellent source of fibre as well as protein, and a healthier choice than meat and dairy. The fibre makes you feel fuller longer and lowers LDL, the bad cholesterol.

High protein diets work most of the time, but their effects are short term. The pounds will come back soon after you stop. It’s better to eat smaller, more balanced meals, with lean meat, fish, low-fat dairy products, a portion of fruit and veg, and exercise regularly with a diet plan that is both sustainable and healthy.