Well known in the world of sport, and more particularly in bodybuilding, the dry diet consists of losing fat mass. How does it work and what are the dangers of this diet? Lighting by a dietitian-nutritionist specializing in sports nutrition.
A “dry” is a diet that consists of losing fat while increasing or maintaining muscle mass. This expression comes from bodybuilding: it is the ultimate nutritional and athletic step before a competition. The term “dry” is sometimes used in common parlance by the general public, but it refers more to high protein and low-calorie diets.
In sports and bodybuilding, the goal of a hairstyle is clear: to shape the silhouette and make muscle fibers and streaks visible. To do this, athletes reduce their body fat percentage through food so that it is around 6 to 8%. As a reminder, in a healthy person, the fat mass rate is on average around 15% in a man and 20% in a woman. The dry diet is therefore not without risks and must be supervised by a healthcare professional.
How does a dry diet work?
In order to achieve their goal, athletes adapt their training: they opt for light loads, long sets, and multiple repetitions, which burn glycogen and body fat.
What about food? Athletes reduce their overall calorie intake and increase their protein intake in order to maintain muscle mass. To achieve this, they banish simple sugars, limit lipids as well as complex carbohydrates. The consumption of carbohydrates, which is essential for the body, thus comes down to brown rice or foods containing whole wheat, rye flour, or buckwheat. Their advantage? They have a low impact on blood sugar and allow a minimum of fat to be stored.
Ultra-processed products, which contain simple sugars, but also animal or partially hydrogenated fats, are also eliminated. And for good reason: the hydrogenation process consists of adding saturated fatty acids, bad for health and for the figure, in the fat.
Salt intake is also limited, as it has a direct impact on water retention. However, the goal of athletes is to eliminate as much water as possible in order to have the thinnest possible skin and make the muscle fibers visible.
Instead, athletes opt for green vegetables, low-fat protein sources such as lean fish, egg white, or white meat. The consumption of dairy products, meanwhile, comes down to 0% cottage cheese, high in protein and low in fat.
what are the typical menus of it?
With the dry diet integrating few food families, it is sometimes difficult to compose varied and balanced menus. Here are some examples of typical meals to eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
- a white omelet, for example containing three egg whites and a single yolk;
- three slices of wholemeal or cereal bread;
- a handful of oleaginous fruits, such as almonds;
- Granny Smith apple or a grapefruit, which contains little sugar. Lunch and dinner:
- steamed green vegetables such as asparagus, green beans, or broccoli;
- white meat or lean fish;
- some starchy foods, preferably whole.
Dry diet: what are the dangers and how to avoid them?
The dry diet offers little dietary diversity: it is, therefore, monotonous and difficult to follow in the long run. And because it bans or limits the number of food families. It must be supervised by a professional and last two to three months at most. If the dry diet is poorly managed or lasts too long. It risks causing nutritional deficiencies, especially in iron, vitamins, and minerals.
It is therefore advisable not to launch in case of health problems, to seek the advice of a doctor, and to have a blood test before starting. But that’s not all: it is also recommended to be followed by a nutrition professional throughout the duration of the diet, and not by a sports coach, who does not have a diploma in nutrition in his training. based. The nutrition professional will calculate the patient’s energy needs based on their weight, height, age, and level of physical activity and help them achieve their goals while maintaining health.