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A Dosha-Based Protein Diet To Help You Lose Weight

Having a BMI in excess of 30 is an indicator of obesity. Ayurveda believes that obesity is caused by an unhealthy diet, lack of exercise, genetic predisposition, and stress. These factors cause an increase in kapha dosha which causes the excessive accumulation of fatty tissue and toxins in the digestive tract as well as poor digestive fire. Choosing the right proteins for your dosha can lead to fat burn by making you feel full and increasing calorie burn.

protein diet weight loss
Noni-Ingredient-Kapiva


A lifestyle where we’re inundated with cheap junk food, and tend to spend long hours sitting sedately in front of a screen have made obesity an increasingly common problem today. And being overweight can have serious consequences for your health.

How Do You Know If You’re Overweight?

Your body mass index (BMI), which is a measure that takes your weight and height into account, is usually used to determine if you’re overweight. Typically, for adults a BMI:

  • Between 18.5 to 24.9 = a healthy weight
  • Between 25 to 29.9 = being overweight
  • Between 30 to 39.9 = being obese
  • 40 or above = being severely obese

However, if you’re very muscular you can have a high BMI without too much body fat. Therefore, waist size is often used as an additional measure to determine if you’re overweight. Typically, a waist size of 94cm or more in men and 80cm or more in women can mean that they’re likely to develop health problems related to obesity.[1][Obesity](https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/obesity/ “Obesity”).NHS,UK.

What Health Problems Does Obesity Cause?

It is estimated that obesity can reduce your life expectancy by 3 to 10 years on average. And it can increase your chances of getting a range of conditions such as:

  • High Blood Pressure
  • Type-2 Diabetes
  • High cholesterol and atherosclerosis, which can result in stroke and coronary heart disease
  • Gallstones
  • Asthma
  • Certain kinds of cancer such as breast cancer, bowel cancer, and womb cancer
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • Reduced fertility
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Kidney disease
  • Sleep apnoea
  • Liver disease
  • Pregnancy complications[2][Obesity](https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/obesity/ “Obesity”).NHS,UK.

How Does Ayurveda Say About Obesity?

Ayurveda focuses on the expression of the five elements — air, space, fire, water, and earth — in the human body, spirit, and mind. These elements are thought to form three bioenergetic systems or doshas: pitta (fire and water), vata (air and space), and kapha (water and earth). Your body constitution or prakruti is determined by which dosha is predominant. Ayurveda also believes that an imbalance in these doshas leads to ill health.

In ayurveda, obesity is referred to as sthaulya (or medoroga). Sthaulya is considered to arise from an unhealthy diet, lack of exercise, genetic predisposition, and stress. These factors lead to an increase in kapha dosha which causes the excessive accumulation of fatty tissue. This is linked to the accumulation of earth and water elements in the body, and toxins in the digestive tract as well as poor digestive fire. Overeating, a sedentary lifestyle, excessive sleep and conditions such as anxiety and depression are thought to contribute to this condition.[3]Rioux, Jennifer, and Amy Howerter. “Outcomes from a whole-systems ayurvedic medicine and yoga therapy treatment for obesity pilot study.” The Journal of Alternative and Complementary … Continue reading

How Can You Lose Weight Through Diet?

The simple formula for weight loss suggests that you need to expend more energy (calories) than you take in. A balanced low calorie diet and regular exercise can help you lose weight. Do keep in mind that you should not have a very low calorie diet (of around 800 calories or less per day) unless it has been recommended by and is being supervised by your doctor.[4][Very low calorie diets](https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-weight/very-low-calorie-diets/ “Very low calorie diets”).NHS,UK.

Some research indicates that a higher protein weight loss diet can result in greater loss of body weight and fat mass.[5]Leidy, Heather J., Peter M. Clifton, Arne Astrup, Thomas P. Wycherley, Margriet S. Westerterp-Plantenga, Natalie D. Luscombe-Marsh, Stephen C. Woods, and Richard D. Mattes. “The role of protein … Continue reading

What Exactly Are Proteins?

Proteins are considered to be the building blocks of life. Every cell in your body contains protein. They are basically chains of amino acids. Proteins help your body make new cells as well as repair cells. They’re particularly key for growth and development in pregnant women, children, and teens.[6][Protein in diet](https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/002467.htm “Protein in diet”). U.S. National Library of Medicine.

There are three kinds of amino acids:

  • Essential amino acids: These cannot be made by your body. They need to be obtained from food. The 9 essential amino acids are: histidine, leucine, isoleucine, lysine, phenylalanine, methionine, tryptophan, threonine, and valine.
  • Non-essential amino acids: These can be produced by our body even if we do not get them from food. Non-essential amino acids include: arginine, alanine, asparagine, cysteine, aspartic acid, glutamic acid, glycine, glutamine, proline, tyrosine, and serine.
  • Conditional amino acids: These are typically not essential, unless you’re experiencing stress or illness. They include arginine, glutamine, cysteine, tyrosine, ornithine, glycine, serine, and proline.[7][Amino acids](https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/002222.htm “Amino acids”). U.S. National Library of Medicine.

What Foods Are The Highest In Protein?

The quantity of essential amino acids present in a protein is a measure of its nutritional value. Typically,
Animal products such as fish, beef, chicken, and dairy products, contain all the essential amino acids. They are, therefore, known as ‘complete’ proteins.

Quinoa, soy products, and amaranth seeds also contain all the essential amino acids.
Other plant proteins (such as lentils, beans, whole grains, and nuts) usually don’t contain at least one of the essential amino acids. Therefore, they’re considered ‘incomplete’ proteins.

What this means is that if you follow a vegan or vegetarian diet you need to get your protein from a variety of sources to ensure that all the essential amino acids are covered. For instance, a combination of legumes and cereals such as beans on toast will provide you all the essential amino acids.[8][Protein](https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/protein “Protein”).Better Health Channel.

How Much Protein Do You Need?

Your overall calories will determine the ideal amount of protein in your diet. It is recommended that healthy adults get 10 to 35% of their calories from proteins.[9][Protein in diet](https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/002467.htm “Protein in diet”). U.S. National Library of Medicine. Each gram of protein and carbohydrate will give you 4 calories. While each gram of fat contributes 9 calories.[10][Fat and Calories](https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/4182-fat-and-calories “Fat and Calories”). Cleveland Clinic.

Right Protein Sources For Your Specific Dosha

Ayurveda recommends having a balanced diet. It also advocates customizing your diet based on your prakruti or body constitution. For those with:

1. Vata constitution (who have a tendency to be lighter and less grounded): It is advisable to have more protein, though it’s considered to be ideally taken in small quantities during frequent meals. Sources of protein for this constitution include:

  • Milk products
  • Eggs
  • Grains (more white than wholegrain)
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Certain legumes such as mung, tur dal and urad dal, cooked with spices and oils to calm their vata aggravating nature. Red lentils and soya can also be used in moderation.
  • Certain meats such as goat meat which is both nourishing and easy to digest. Meat should be well-cooked, ideally in soups or stews.
  • Some fish

2. Pitta constitution (who tend to have more heat and stronger digestions): The following protein rich foods are considered suitable for them:

  • Most legumes
  • Milk products
  • Grains (a good mix of wholegrain and white)
  • Seeds
  • Almonds
  • Meat (white meats and venison only) in moderation, only if your digestion is strong.
  • Small quantities of fresh water fish

3. Kapha constitution (who have tendency towards heaviness): Ideally, plant proteins are thought to be best for this constitution. They can get their protein from

  • Most legumes
  • Grains (mainly whole grains)
  • Seeds in moderation
  • Eggs
  • Goat’s milk products in moderation
  • A little fresh water fish
  • Meat is best avoided. However, people with this constitution can have a little meat (white meat or venison only) if they so wish.

How Do Proteins Make You Lose Weight?

Proteins can support your weight loss efforts as it:

1. Makes You Feel Full

Research indicates that people feel fuller after having high protein meals. It has also been found that they have higher levels of hormones (satiety hormones) involved in signaling that you’re full.[11]Leidy, Heather J., Peter M. Clifton, Arne Astrup, Thomas P. Wycherley, Margriet S. Westerterp-Plantenga, Natalie D. Luscombe-Marsh, Stephen C. Woods, and Richard D. Mattes. “The role of protein … Continue reading

2. Increases Calorie Burn

Metabolism is the process through which food is converted into energy by your body. But even when your body is at rest, it uses energy for functions such as circulating blood, breathing, repairing and growing cells, etc. The number of calories used by your body to perform these basic functions is called your basal metabolic rate.[12][Metabolism and weight loss: How you burn calories](https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/weight-loss/in-depth/metabolism/art-20046508 “Metabolism and weight loss: How you burn calories”). … Continue reading One study found that when people had a diet where 29% of the energy came from protein they had a higher resting metabolic rate than those who had a diet where 11% of the energy came from protein.[13]Pesta, Dominik H., and Varman T. Samuel. “A high-protein diet for reducing body fat: mechanisms and possible caveats.” Nutrition & metabolism 11, no. 1 (2014): 1-8. This means that a high protein diet can increase your energy expenditure.

Precautions While Consuming Proteins

It is best to stick within the limits of the recommended quantity for protein, ie, it should make up 10% to 35% of your calorie intake. Diets that are excessively high in protein:

  • Can strain your liver and kidneys.
  • Prompt the loss of calcium which can increase your chances of getting osteoporosis.[14][Protein](https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/protein “Protein”).Better Health Channel.
  • Diets high in protein can potentially upset the acid-base balance in your body. Consuming fruits and vegetables which are high in potassium (alkaline-forming foods) can be helpful here. Few examples include spinach, beets, swiss chard, cucumber, avocado, figs, apricots, and almonds.
  • Some studies indicate that a high intake of aromatic amino acids (Phenylalanine, Tyrosine) and branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs, Valine, Leucine, Isoleucine) may be linked to the development of metabolic diseases.
  • Many protein rich foods of animal origin such as red meats, and milk products also contain high levels of cholesterol and saturated fats. This can be harmful for your heart. Substitute protein sources with high levels of saturated fat with healthier proteins such as fish, soy proteins, nuts etc.[15]Pesta, Dominik H., and Varman T. Samuel. “A high-protein diet for reducing body fat: mechanisms and possible caveats.” Nutrition & metabolism 11, no. 1 (2014): 1-8.

References

References
1, 2 [Obesity](https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/obesity/ “Obesity”).NHS,UK.
3 Rioux, Jennifer, and Amy Howerter. “Outcomes from a whole-systems ayurvedic medicine and yoga therapy treatment for obesity pilot study.” The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine 25, no. S1 (2019): S124-S137.
4 [Very low calorie diets](https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-weight/very-low-calorie-diets/ “Very low calorie diets”).NHS,UK.
5, 11 Leidy, Heather J., Peter M. Clifton, Arne Astrup, Thomas P. Wycherley, Margriet S. Westerterp-Plantenga, Natalie D. Luscombe-Marsh, Stephen C. Woods, and Richard D. Mattes. “The role of protein in weight loss and maintenance.” The American journal of clinical nutrition 101, no. 6 (2015): 1320S-1329S.
6, 9 [Protein in diet](https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/002467.htm “Protein in diet”). U.S. National Library of Medicine.
7 [Amino acids](https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/002222.htm “Amino acids”). U.S. National Library of Medicine.
8, 14 [Protein](https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/protein “Protein”).Better Health Channel.
10 [Fat and Calories](https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/4182-fat-and-calories “Fat and Calories”). Cleveland Clinic.
12 [Metabolism and weight loss: How you burn calories](https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/weight-loss/in-depth/metabolism/art-20046508 “Metabolism and weight loss: How you burn calories”). Mayo Clinic.
13, 15 Pesta, Dominik H., and Varman T. Samuel. “A high-protein diet for reducing body fat: mechanisms and possible caveats.” Nutrition & metabolism 11, no. 1 (2014): 1-8.

Disclaimer: The information on this website is for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. For more information pertaining to your personal needs please see a qualified health practitioner.

About the Author

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Dr. Ninny Sunny (KAA Expert)

With 6+ years of experience as a medical nutritionist, Ninny Sunny has worked with hospitals and brands like HealthifyMe and CureFit to guide people on lifestyle and nutritional issues. She is an expert in evaluating the nutritional status of people and can advise a balanced nutritional plan for optimizing overall health and wellness.

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