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April 2017
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The discovery of essential amino acids (essential for the body to carry out normal activities) began at the beginning of the 19th century with the identification of the first amino acid, leucine, followed by phenylalanine, lysine, valine, tryptophan, isoleucine, methionine and, at the end of 1935, thanks to the work of McCoy, Rose and Meyer, threonine.
Already at the beginning of the 20th century the importance of amino acids, and thus protein in our diet, was clear. In fact in 1946, Rose spoke about ‘the daily necessity for essential amino acids’ and in the same year, Block and Mitchell confirmed that ‘the nutritional quality of a protein depends on the essential amino acids it contains’, further highlighting the importance of essential amino acids.
In 1946 more fundamental progress was made when the scientific community recognised the primary importance that amino acids have in nutrition. At the end of 1955, the World Health Organization proposed the following table for the amount of amino acids we should eat, daily: (Fig. 1).

Fig. 1. FAO - OMS 1955 - 1966 Necessary daily amounts of essential amino acids

Proteins represent one of our three food energy sources, together with carbohydrates and fats. Proteins are formed by amino acids connecting to one another and each protein can contain up to 30,000 amino acids, some of which are called essential because the human body cannot produce these itself and therefore they have to be supplied by food. Protein chains are fundamental to living and muscles, nails and skin show an elevated protein content.

Proteins have two origins:

  • Animal: meat, fish, eggs, dairy products; these foods are rich in essential amino acids;
  • Vegetable: cereals, vegetable extracts (rice, corn, semolina) and soya.

Amongst the main functions of proteins there is also an important biochemical one; amino acids are needed for enzyme synthesis and for the synthesis of some hormones.
Proteins provide the body with the nitrogen it needs to ‘build’ itself; the body’s cells draw amino acids out of the blood and, through protein biosynthesis, bodily structures are made. This process is also regulated by some hormones, for example, cortisol, thyroid hormones, insulin, androgenic hormones, the growth hormone and catecholamine.
A whole series of studies have shown how important it is to ensure that patients, who repeat diet regimes, must get adequate amounts of fats, sugars, vitamins and minerals as well as consuming good mixtures of amino acids which have high nutritional values and produce a low amount of waste.

After a series of experiments that started in 1971, the Master Amino Acid Pattern (MAP) was discovered which is the ideal, nutritional amino acid formula. This is very advantageous for the body, particularly because it does not contain any salt or fat and there are almost no nitrogen residues present, therefore there is does not overload the hepatic and renal functions. This combination of amino acids is used in the SON food regime, and it can also be used if you have problems with malnutrition as it can be added to normal foods.

In general you can say that a diet that is followed so as to reach a certain weight and keep you safe from illness should be low in calories, but at the same time, more than just guaranteeing weight loss, it should be nourishing and include the correct amount of proteins.
If this is not the case, inadequate weight loss will occur, which could even include muscle loss, causing malnutrition that could lead on to damage of the immune system and, as recent studies show, weight gain (the yo-yo effect). The SON diet, in order to avoid the aforementioned effects, is a low calorie diet that provides sufficient amounts of amino acids in such a way that it ensures a good balance of nitrogen and negative energy.

A protein is divided in to two parts, the digestible part and the non-digestible part. The amino acids in the digestible part, once absorbed in the intestines, can take one of two paths:
the anabolic path, which is characterised by the amino acids being used for protein biosynthesis, that is the ‘building’ of the bodily structures without producing any waste products, or;
the catabolic path, which is where the amino acids are used to produce energy, thus producing waste products.

All of this shows that protein, depending on the combination of each amino acid, can provide different amounts of energy, waste and support for protein biosynthesis.
Consuming the MAP, which has a very good nutritional effect and produces little waste, as part fo the SON diet can be successful when trying to combat excessive weight and obesity.
N.B.: The SON diet programme produces good results not only for those with excessive weight problems, but also for those with cellulite problems.

The SON diet is made up of three fundamental points:

  1. A personalised diet;
  2. The use of amino acid mixtures;
  3. Carrying out suitable and appropriate, physical exercise.

The dietary supplement (the SON formula) is made up of a mixture of essential amino acids which have the following characteristics:

  1. About 99% of the amino acids play a part in protein biosynthesis;
  2. The mixture is absorbed in the intestine in just 23 minutes, whereas normal protein is absorbed in 3-4 hours;
  3. The nitrogen residues (wastes) are equal to about 1% and therefore do not overload hepatic or renal functions;
  4. A 10g dose of SON provides enough protein for protein biosynthesis that 450g of meat or fish would provide, and contains only 40 calories;
  5. It is a dietary supplement free from salts and fats;
  6. It can be used by those who suffer from gastritis thanks to its amphoteric qualities.

All of these characteristics allow for sufficient weight loss for people who are either over weight or even obese. It also protects muscle mass, minimises the feeling of hunger and, following it with a ‘bridge’ diet and then a ‘maintaining’ diet, prevents the yo-yo effect, which causes the regaining of the weight that had previously been lost.
The diet begins with a doctor prescribing the right amount of SON formula for the patient, basing the decision on a value that varies for men and women, and then the amount is spread over breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Breakfast, as well as including the prescribed dose of SON formula, should be made up of fruit, vitamins and minerals. At lunch the SON formula should be consumed with vegetables, rice, fish, chicken or fresh fruit. Dinner, which should be rich in trace elements and essential fatty acids, is completed with fruit and vegetables. It is possible, if the personalised diet allows it, to supplement the diet with mid-morning and mid-afternoon snacks which help to prevent drops in blood pressure.
It is obvious though, that in order to lose as much weight as possible, the consumption of fizzy drinks, fried and fatty foods and alcohol should be reduced or even eliminated.
The weight loss programme should last until the desired weight has been reached; that could last one week or maybe many. Weight loss can be constant and continuous but it relates to the patient’s ‘commitment’ and if the programme is only followed in short bursts, the results will not be optimal.
After losing some weight and before moving on to the ‘maintaining’ diet, a ‘bridge’ diet, that is created by a doctor, should be followed for a precise amount of time. During this time no more SON formula is consumed and different parts of the diet are reviewed in order to increase both fluid loss, firming of bodily tissues and to keep the new weight under control.
After finishing the ‘bridge’ diet, the important ’maintaining’ diet is started which is used to prevent any weight gain by slowly introducing controlled amounts of different foods, starting with carbohydrates (rice) and then, if the results are positive, introducing cereals, all eaten in set amounts according to the patient’s body and its responses. Vegetables can be eaten with meat, fish and fresh cheese. It is preferable to dress foods with spices and fresh, extra virgin olive oil.
In order for the SON diet to work well, it must also be supported by physical activity, which can be chosen at will by the patient. Each activity must be carried out for a minimum amount of time however, so that it is effective, for example, swimming must be carried out for at least 30 minutes otherwise it will not bring about the desired results.

Amongst the various weight loss diets around, the SON diet is different because it provides therapeutic protection. The diet is also simple to follow, has no side-effects and looks after the body, taking care of the lean body mass as well as producing good weight loss results. Another advantage of this therapeutic, nutritional regime is that the protein supplement it contains does not spoil the skin but instead makes it bright and toned (particularly evident in women) therefore, for those who have a lot of cellulite, the skin will appear younger and the outline of the body will be much more desirable. It is recommended that patients follow the diet as explained by a doctor in order to overcome the very delicate phase of maintaining the ideal body weight after having followed the weight loss regime.


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