What is a High-Protein Diet ? Does it make you slim?
These days, the high-protein diet has become one of the top trends in the field of weight loss. All kinds of meat, cheese, and protein foods are good options to satisfy hunger. People who love meat go on diets like Atkins and the Protein Power diet and follow them. These diets may be effective, but before deciding to follow them, we should know their advantages and disadvantages.
High-Protein Diet: How Much Protein Should We Consume?
Many people get 12% to 18% of their daily calories from protein, which makes up more or even half of their daily calories with a high-protein diet.
Most of this extra protein comes from animal sources such as meat, eggs, and cheese. Grains, legumes, seeds, fruits, and vegetables are strictly limited in such diets.
How does a high-protein diet work?
By stopping the consumption of carbohydrates and increasing the consumption of protein, weight loss occurs faster because the amount of water in the body decreases.
Without extra carbs, the body starts burning fat for fuel, which is called ketose. The condition makes the diet easier for dieters because it reduces the feeling of hunger, but ketosis causes headaches, mood swings, nausea, heart palpitations, and kidney and heart problems.
Is the high-protein diet safe?
The American Heart Association is against diets that are high in protein. The high amount of fat in processed meats increases blood cholesterol and causes heart problems.
Not consuming vegetables and legumes makes the body empty of fiber and nutrients, but a high-protein diet prevents obesity. With a managed diet that is low in fat and moderate in carbohydrates, you can implement a weight loss program more safely.
How do I start a high-protein diet?
The most nutritious protein plans are low in fat and contain some carbohydrates. Avoid diets that are high in fatty meat and low in vegetables and legumes. A proper diet helps carry out the protein program efficiently.
Foods rich in protein
Nothing has protein like a juicy steak. If you choose a lean cut of meat, you will get plenty of protein without consuming extra fat. A piece of lean beef contains only slightly more saturated fat than a piece of skinless chicken breast.
2: White meat
Chicken and fish are essential in a high-protein diet. By eating white meat, you will get very little fat. If you want this fat to be less, remove its skin because its skin is rich in saturated fat. Fish contain healthy fats and proteins.
Even high-fat fish like salmon and tuna are good choices. Since the fat in these meats is heart-friendly (the same as omega-3 fatty acids), they reduce the risk of various types of cancer, arthritis, and heart diseases.
Eggs are one of the richest sources of protein and contain good cholesterol. Most of this cholesterol is related to the egg yolk, which is why in the recent past it was recommended that the yolk not be consumed.
But new research has shown that egg cholesterol is one of the useful cholesterols and has no harm to the body.
Soy burgers, soy pasta, and other foods made with soy are excellent sources of protein. Daily consumption of 25 grams of soy reduces blood cholesterol.
Legumes are rich in protein and fiber. Along with the protein in beans, their fiber helps you feel fuller and more energetic. One and a half cups of beans are equal to 85 grams of meat in terms of protein.
What other nutrients are in the high-protein diet?
- Calcium: Milk, yogurt, and cheese not only contain protein, but the calcium in them strengthens muscles and heart health. Using fat-free or low-fat dairy products will help you consume fewer calories.
- Fiber: Many high-protein diets limit grain intake, so try to use whole grains. Avoid simple bread and pasta and use whole grains. The cereal type of these foods is rich in fiber, which compensates for its lack in the high-protein diet.
- Antioxidants: Make sure you leave room for fruits and vegetables in your high-protein diet. These nutritious foods are gold mines and contain powerful antioxidants that cannot be found in many other foods. People who use fruits and vegetables in their daily schedule are less at risk of cancer.
Benefits of a high-protein diet
The effect of carbohydrates and fats on the health of the body is controversial, and their types should be considered. But almost everyone agrees on the importance of protein.
Most people consume enough protein to avoid a deficiency, but some people perform better with more protein. Many studies have proven that a diet rich in protein has a significant effect on weight loss and body metabolism.
Next, we want to provide you with 10 scientific reasons to get more protein.
1: decrease in appetite and hunger level
The three macronutrients (fats, carbohydrates, and proteins) each affect the body in some way. Research has shown that protein is the most satiating macronutrient, meaning you feel full of less food.
Part of this effect is due to protein lowering the level of ghrelin (the hunger hormone). Protein boosts the level of peptide YY hormone (the hormone that causes the feeling of satiety) and affects appetite.
In a study, the protein intake of a group of overweight women increased from 15% to 30% of daily calories. The researchers found that these people ate 441 fewer calories than the previous days without restricting their diet.
If you need to lose weight or belly fat, you should consider replacing carbohydrates and fats with protein. For example, cut back on potatoes or rice and eat more meat or fish instead.
2: Increasing physical strength and muscle tissue
Protein builds muscle in the body. Therefore, consuming a significant amount of protein helps stabilize muscle tissue and increase muscle growth, along with strength training.
If you’re physically active, lifting weights, or trying to gain muscle, you need to make sure you’re getting enough protein. A high intake of protein helps you not lose muscle during weight loss.
3: Bone health
There is a common misconception that protein (especially animal protein) is bad for bones.
This misconception is based on the idea of increased acid secretion in the body, which causes calcium to be washed from the bones to neutralize the acid.
However, many studies have shown in the long term that protein, including animal protein, has many benefits for bone health. People who consume a lot of protein maintain their bone density better as they age and are less at risk of osteoporosis and fractures.
This is very important for women because they are more at risk of developing osteoporosis after menopause. Consuming a lot of protein and increasing mobility are good ways to prevent osteoporosis.
4: Reducing food cravings
Food cravings are different from normal hunger. In food cravings, the issue is not the body’s need for energy and nutrients but the brain’s need for reward.
Controlling food cravings is very difficult. Therefore, the best way to deal with it is to prevent it from happening. One of the best ways to prevent food cravings is to increase your protein intake.
In a study done on overweight men, researchers upped their protein intake to 25% of their daily calories. They found that their cravings for food and desire to eat late at night went down by 60%.
Also, the results of research on teenage girls have shown that eating a protein breakfast helps to reduce food cravings to a great extent and prevents the consumption of extra meals at the end of the night.
High protein intake helps dopamine function better. Dopamine is one of the main hormones involved in food cravings and addiction.
5-Increasing body fat burning
Eating for a short period of time increases your metabolism. The reason is that your body uses calories to digest food, which is called the thermic effect of food.
But not all foods are the same in this regard. The thermal effect of protein is much higher than that of fat and carbohydrates (25–30% compared to 5–15%).
High protein consumption has a significant effect on strengthening the metabolism and increasing the number of calories your body burns. This means that your body burns 80 to 100 more calories per day.
Some studies have claimed that you can burn more calories. In a study, it was found that people who consumed a diet rich in protein burned 260 more calories per day than those whose diet was not high in protein.
This amount is equal to one hour of moderate-intensity exercise per day.
6: Lowering blood pressure
High blood pressure is the leading cause of heart attacks, strokes, and chronic kidney disease. Interestingly, a high protein intake helps lower blood pressure.
After doing research, scientists came to the conclusion that eating more protein helps lower both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
Another study showed that a high-protein diet, in addition to reducing blood pressure, also helped reduce bad cholesterol (LDL) and blood fat.
7- Help stabilize weight
Since the high-protein diet increases metabolism, reduces the number of calories consumed during the day, and also reduces food cravings, many people who increase their protein intake will see weight loss.
Researchers found that women who got 30% of their daily calories from protein managed to lose 5 kg in 12 weeks, even though they did not try to limit their calorie intake.
Even when you are restricting your calorie intake to lose weight, protein consumption is very effective. In a 12-month study on 130 overweight people, it was shown that a group that consumed protein in addition to a slimming diet burned 53% more fat than another group that only had a slimming diet. Of course, losing weight is only the beginning. Fixing it is very challenging for most people.
Increasing protein consumption also helps stabilize weight. In the research, it was shown that increasing the protein from 15% to 18% reduces weight gain by 50%. If you want to lose excess weight and keep it off, consider adding more protein to your diet.
8: Increasing the health of the kidneys
Many people mistakenly believe that high protein intake damages the kidneys. Reducing protein intake is indeed beneficial for those who already have kidney problems.
This should not be underestimated because kidney problems are very serious. Although high protein diets are harmful to people with kidney problems, they are not harmful to those whose kidneys are healthy.
Many types of research have been done in this field, and the researchers concluded that a diet rich in protein has no harm for all healthy people.
9: Fast recovery of the body after injury
Protein helps the body repair itself quickly after an injury. This is completely logical because protein is the main material in body tissues and organs. According to studies, more protein helps speed up recovery after an injury.
10: Maintaining fitness despite getting older
One of the concerns with aging is that the muscles gradually weaken. The most severe cases related to aging are related to sarcopenia, which is one of the main causes of weakness, brittle bones, and reduced quality of life among the elderly.
One of the best ways to prevent sarcopenia and reduce the muscle weakness that comes with getting older is to eat more protein.Physical activity, strength training, and weight lifting are also very necessary.
High-protein diet: is too much protein dangerous?
The medical community has always been concerned about high-protein diets, especially those that are followed over a long period of time. Diets that are high in saturated fat and low in fiber, like many high-protein diets, may increase cholesterol and increase the risk of heart disease and stroke. A long-term high-protein diet leads to bone fragility (osteoporosis) and kidney problems.
Even though eating more protein is good for many people, not everyone needs to do it.Many people get about 15% of their daily calories from proteins, which is more than the amount needed to prevent deficiency.
However, in some cases, people can consume more protein than this and still benefit from it (more than 20–30% of their daily calories).
If you want to lose weight,
- Improve your metabolic health.
- Add muscle tissue and increase muscle strength.
- Make sure you get enough protein.