There are no long-term studies of high-protein diets, so their ultimate health impact is unknown. But the experts are sure of one thing: the formula for permanent weight loss is a healthy lifestyle. This includes eating nutritious, low-calorie foods and participating in regular physical activity. Note: Check with your health care provider before making major dietary changes.
High-protein diets come in many forms, and not all are created equal. The most nutritious high-protein plans are low in fat and INCLUDE moderate in carbohydrates, rather than high in fat and low in carbohydrates. High-protein diets take a page from the low-carb craze. The goal is to lose weight by eating more protein-packed foods, which often means consuming fewer carbohydrates. The portion of total calories derived from protein is what defines a high-protein diet. In a typical diet 10%-15% of daily calories come from protein. In a high-protein diet, this number can be as high as 30%-50%. For example, on an 1,800 calorie diet, you could safely consume anywhere from 45 grams (that’s 10% of calories) to 218 grams (35%) of protein per day. However, the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for protein is 56 grams a day for men and 46 grams a day for women. Besides curbing appetites, high-protein diets may also change a person’s metabolism. When carbohydrates are severely restricted, the body begins burning its own fat for fuel – a state called ketosis. Ketosis may shed weight, but it’s also associated with headaches, irritability, nausea, kidney trouble, and heart palpitations. High protein does NOT mean ALL protein, all this will make you is a weight loss weakling. Proper carbohydrates are fuel for the body which work in conjunction with protein for optimum nutrition and performance!
Great protein choices are lean beef and skinless chicken, as the skin is filled with saturated fat. Chicken and poultry pack plenty of punch in a high-protein diet, and if you enjoy the white meat you’ll be eating a lot less fat than if you choose dark. Fish is a no-brainer — it’s loaded with protein and almost always low in fat. Even the types that have more fat, such as salmon, are a good choice. That’s because the fat in fish is generally the heart-healthy kind known as omega-3 fatty acid — and most diets don’t contain enough of this good-for-you fat. Eggs are perhaps the common and least expensive form of protein. The American Heart Association says an egg a day is safe for healthy adults, so you may want to get cracking with eggs when you’re on a high-protein diet! Beans pack a powerful one-two punch – they are loaded with protein andalso full of fiber. Along with protein, fiber helps you feel full longer and also helps lower cholesterol. As for the protein content, 1-1/2 cups of beans is roughly equal to 3 ounces of broiled steak! Don’t overlook dairy products as a protein source. Milk, cheese, and yogurt are not only protein-rich, they also provide calcium for strong bones and a healthy heart.
Lastly, most high-protein diets limit grains to a couple servings a day, so you want to make sure the grains you do eat are pulling their weight. That means staying clear of white breads and pastas, which have little to offer nutrient-wise, when compared with their whole-grain cousins. Whole-grain breads, cereals, and pastas, on the other hand, are rich in fiber, which might otherwise be in short supply for people on a high-protein diet.
No matter the emphasis on protein, make sure you leave room for fruits and vegetables in a high-protein diet. These nutrient gold mines contain powerful antioxidants that aren’t found in most other foods, and research suggests that people who eat plenty of fruits and veggies may lower their risk of cancer.
To get the potential weight loss benefit, experts advise aiming for around 120 grams of protein a day. If you want to increase your protein intake, do it slowly over the course of a week. A few simple ways to add protein your diet include taking yogurt with you to the gym and enjoy it as a post-workout booster. Make your breakfast oatmeal with milk instead of water. Snack on fat-free mozzarella cheese.Use a whole cup of milk on your cereal. Try smoked salmon or one of the new lean sausages for breakfast. Take along a hard-boiled egg for an easy snack. Munch on edamame beans at meals and snacks. Choose round or tenderloin cuts of meat.
AGAIN, to be on the safe side, check with your doctor before adding large amounts of protein to your diet.