We're always on the lookout for new ways to make healthy eating easier, so when we heard the Almased diet plan mentioned in conversation, we knew we had to delve deeper. Let's be honest, if we haven't tried Whole30, keto, or the 80-20 plan, we definitely all have a friend who has, and since something different works for everyone when it comes to healthy eating (including sometimes following no diet at all), we figure we always need to educate ourselves.
The Almased diet plan revolves around four key stages that train your metabolism to work with you. To learn more about what each stage entails, we reached out to a few experts to get their take. Keep reading for everything you need to know about the Almased diet, including the pros and cons and exactly what you can (and can't) eat.
Meet the Expert
What Is the Almased Diet?
This popular diet plan is based on a protein powder meant to replace or supplement meals for optimal digestive functioning. It all started in Germany in 1985 when scientist Herbert Trouille created the unique protein powder from a few key ingredients: natural soy protein, skim milk yogurt powder, and honey (by the way, it's gluten-free and doesn't contain any artificial sweeteners). Trouille's belief was that you shouldn't have to go hungry to lose weight and that by taking in this certain type of protein, you'll kick your metabolism into high gear.
What Is the Almased Diet?
The Almased diet aims to help people lose weight using Almased, a low-glycemic high-protein meal replacement and food supplement. The multi-protein formula is created from different sources to fit the amino acid profile that the human body needs for optimal functioning.
Because of its special fermentation process, the powder causes bioactive peptides to be released into the body, which supposedly helps you lose weight. "This powder contains vital nutrients, such as enzymes and essential amino acids, mostly needed by your body to make digestion easy," says Charushila Biswas, an ISSA Certified fitness nutritionist.
The four-stage diet plan incorporates Almased powder into shakes as meal replacements. The stages start out super strict, and gradually become more of a lifestyle where the shakes are accompanied by clean meals. But be warned: The diet plan is not for those who cannot follow a strict regimen.
The Pros of the Almased Diet
According to Amy Shapiro, a registered dietitian and the founder of Real Nutrition NYC, one of the pros of the Almased Diet is that its instructions are clear. “There are no grey areas,” she says. “It is easy to follow, and the prep work and food shopping is minimized.” Plus, if you can actually stick to the strict plan, you’ll likely see quick results. “It also helps that they teach you how to reintroduce regular food slowly in order to see continued and maintained progress,” Shapiro explains.
The Cons of the Almased Diet
One of the major cons of the Almased Diet, notes Shapiro, is that the ingredients in the shake are very processed. “Their protein comes from soy protein isolate, which is a very processed and broken down form of soy that does not provide the same health benefits of the soy plant,” she explains. Additionally, the shakes also contain 15 grams of added sugar and only one gram of fat. “Fat helps to keep us full and helps to absorb fat soluble vitamins,” says Shapiro. Overall, the diet is also very limited, which might make it harder to stick to long term.
Stage 1: Starting Phase
Almased shakes per day: 3 (breakfast, lunch, and dinner: Mix the protein powder into low-fat or soy milk and add flaxseed powder.)
Other food/drinks: Start the day with a glass of warm water with lime juice (add honey and ginger if you'd like) and consume at least 64 ounces of water. You can also have homemade veggie broth and 100% vegetable juice, as well as fruit like a peach or plum between shakes.
Time to stay in this stage: 3 to 14 days
Key recipe: Try a zucchini and watermelon salad with fresh grapefruit, cumin powder, mango powder, and salt as a nighttime snack before dinner.
What's going on: "This will allow the body to mobilize the stored fat and use as an energy source," says Biswas. According to Shapiro, you'll see rapid weight loss during this phase due to the removal of solid foods and the loss of stored water and glucose.
Stage 2: Reduction Phase
Almased shakes per day: 2 (breakfast and dinner)
Other food/drinks: Have one solid meal, preferably for lunch. Limit snacking and avoid having too much fruit.
Time to stay in this stage: Until you reach your desired weight loss goal.
Key recipe: Try a simple chicken stir-fry with vegetables for lunch.
What's going on: "Now that a good amount of stored fat has been used up as energy to drive the body functions, the low-carb lunch will not be stored as fat," says Biswas. During this phase, weight loss will slow down, but you'll still continue to lose weight since you're restricting calories, explains Shapiro.
Stage 3: Stability Phase
Almased shakes per day: One
Other food/drinks: Have two solid meals a day that are low in carbs and high in greens and protein.
Opt for high-protein, high-fiber snacks like yogurt with berries and flaxseed, hard-boiled eggs and a few nuts, or hummus and vegetables to keep you full between meals.
Time to stay in this stage: At least two weeks
Key recipe: Baked salmon with a vegetable for dinner.
What's going on: "Your body will continue burning fat by being metabolically active without losing any vital nutrient," Biswas explains. According to Shapiro, "this allows you to maintain your weight loss or continue to lose more slowly as you are adding back regular meals but still watching the content."
Stage 4: Life Phase
Almased shakes per day: One (part of breakfast or dinner)
Other food/drinks: Three solid meals a day along with your Almased shake
Time to stay in this stage: This is your ongoing regimen.
Key recipe: Veggie-stuffed mushrooms are protein-packed and tasty.
What's going on: "You will continue to lose weight through this phase, but the results won't be as dramatic as in the reduction phase," says Biswas.
The Final Takeaway
While the Almased Diet may help you lose weight quickly, experts say to proceed with caution. “This is not something I would recommend due to the ingredients and calorie restriction,” says Shapiro. “You will get results however you will not be doing it in the healthiest way.” Instead, she recommends choosing a plan with more flexibility. “I like to work with my clients so they can navigate daily situations and enjoy their life by eating real, healthy foods when trying to reduce weight.”
Röhling M, Stensitzky A, Oliveira C, et al. Effects of a protein-rich, low-glycaemic meal replacement on changes in dietary intake and body weight following a weight-management intervention—The ACOORH trial. Nutrients. 2021;13(2):376. doi:10.3390/nu13020376