A high-protein diet encourages eating more protein and fewer carbohydrates or fats to increase weight loss, improve strength, and improve athletic performance. Protein is an essential element of health. It is responsible for many important functions in the body, including hormones, enzymes, and cell repair and maintenance.
People on these diets often choose to limit their consumption of foods, which may include reducing their consumption of processed foods, bread and other baked goods, sweets, and white pasta and rice.
There are some well-known dietary supplements, such as the Atkins diet. However, a person can increase his or her protein alone or without adjusting their diet to other food groups.
High protein diets have been around for centuries. Indigenous peoples in the Arctic region – where plant life is scarce – lived only marine life and caribou. The Maasai warriors of Kenya are traditionally known for their livelihood on animal blood, milk, and meat. And some Native Americans also lived on buffalo and plants.
In the late 1970s, a high-protein diet became popular with the Scarsdale diet, which recommended 43% protein intake, 22.5% fat, and 34.5% carbohydrate intake. Today’s diets that focus on high protein diets include Atkins, South Beach, and Dukan diets.
Some studies show that a high-protein diet can help obese and overweight women to lose more fat while maintaining a lean body weight. High-protein diets help reduce hunger, increase appetite, increase metabolic rate, and maintain weight. However, when it comes to food, one size does not fit all; what works for one person may not work for another.
What Can You Eat?
Generally, a high-protein diet is recommended to get more than 20% of your total calories from protein. That usually means eating fewer calories from carbohydrates or fats to keep your calories in balance.
No diet is explicitly prohibited on a high-protein diet. It is recommended that you eat very low protein and refined carbohydrates, sugars, and fats.
There is no recommended mealtime for high-protein diets, or for some people with a high protein diet and fasting from time to time, including limiting calories on certain days of the week and fasting for others or going long distances without eating, like 16 hours a day.
What You Need to Know
Any healthy diet for weight loss or health should include a balance of three macronutrients (or macros): fats, carbohydrates, and proteins.6 High protein foods contain at least 20% of calories from protein. The amount of protein you should eat depends on a few factors including your age, gender, body size, and level of activity.
The general guidelines recommend eating between 10% and 35% of your total calories as protein. Working adults may need 1.2 to 1.7 grams per kilogram of body weight per day. This equates to 82 to 116 grams of a person weighing 150 pounds [150 kg]. The recommended dose (RDA) for healthy adults is at least 0.8 g / kg/day (54 grams of protein for a person weighing 150 kg).
If you use a calorie tracking app or website to calculate calories, it is easy to check your protein diet daily. Many people on a high-protein diet use apps to track their macronutrient diet to ensure they get the right amount of protein in carbohydrates and fats.
The recommended starting point for a high protein diet is 30% of calories from protein, 30% of calories from fat, and 40% of calories from carbohydrates. After a few weeks in the program, you may find that you are doing better with more or fewer macronutrients, and you should adjust your macro settings as needed.
What Does Science Say?
There has been a lot of research on the role of protein in short-term weight loss and muscle gain. However, the long-term effects of high-protein diets need to be studied further.
Some studies indicate that health problems can result from eating high-protein foods over a long period of time. The authors of a review paper focusing on high-protein diets have warned that it could lead to high levels of kidney acid and that people could be at risk for health conditions that result from eating high levels of animal fats.
In addition, a diet low in carbs can be detrimental to one’s health. Children and adolescents are at increased risk of malnutrition as a result of eating fewer carbohydrates.
However, many studies show that a high-protein diet helps to lose weight, at least in the short term.
In this article, we will discuss how to eat a high-protein diet, what foods should and should not include, and the possible side effects of eating these foods.
Benefits of High Protein Diet
Combining beans with legumes and other protein sources can ensure that one gets all the essential amino acids.
In addition to helping to lose weight, protein provides the body with some important benefits.
Protein benefits include:
- providing enzymes that help the energy of thousands of chemical reactions throughout the body
- to help the body maintain and repair hair, skin, muscles, and bones
- certain proteins are needed to produce hormones that help organs and cells communicate
Proteins provide amino acids. There are 22 amino acids, nine of which are essential for food because the body is not productive.
Animal proteins tend to contain all the amino acids, so people refer to them as complete proteins. Conversely, most plant proteins provide only amino acids, which means that people need to combine them with other protein sources to get all the essential amino acids.
How to Eat High Protein Foods
Keeping a diet sheet can be helpful when following a meal plan.
There are many ways to incorporate more protein into the diet, even for those with certain dietary restrictions.
For example, people who follow a vegetarian or vegan diet or those who avoid milk may still eat high-protein foods.
People can adjust their current diet to include more protein or follow a specific high-protein diet.
Taking the following steps can be helpful when starting a high-protein diet:
- to find out their protein needs, which will depend on their body
- making church meal plans
- obtaining and utilizing high-quality protein
- includes at least 25-30 grams (g) of protein in each diet
- keeping a food journal to track the amount and types of foods they eat
- eating nutritious food
- including both plant and vegetable protein sources in the diet
Food to be included and not included
Choosing the right foods when eating a high protein diet is important for optimal performance.
Below are some excellent protein choices that can suit a variety of dieting programs:
- beef cuts
- chicken breasts
- turkey breasts
- beans, such as garbanzo beans or black beans
- nuts and seeds, such as pumpkin seeds, peanuts, and almonds
- fish, including salmon, flounder, and haddock
- sprouted grain, like Ezekiel’s bread
- Whey or plant protein shakes
- dairy products, such as Greek yogurt, cow’s milk, or cheese
- vegetables, including Brussels sprouts and broccoli
People with dietary restrictions should also continue to exclude unhealthy foods. For example, a person who is lactose intolerant should not use dairy products to boost his or her protein.
One should also avoid the following foods as part of a high protein diet:
- products containing refined sugar, such as sweets, baked goods, and soda
- highly processed foods
- food manufacturers market as “food” products, as they often contain excessive amounts of artificial sweeteners
Risk of High Protein Diet
One should consult with his or her physician when considering high-protein diets.
Most people can safely follow a high-protein diet, at least temporarily.
While some studies indicate that high levels of protein can adversely affect the kidneys, other studies show that people with healthy kidneys will not have side effects.
However, clinical evidence suggests that people with kidney disease should not eat high-protein foods.
Similarly, it seems that people with kidney stones should avoid foods high in protein, especially those that are high in animal protein. People with other medical conditions should talk to a health care professional before eating a high-protein diet.
Although short-term studies show that high-protein diets can promote weight loss, it is important to remember that there are no studies looking at the long-term effects of high-protein diets.
What can you eat on a high protein diet?
Most people can follow a high-protein diet by eating meat, fish, dairy products, beans and legumes, eggs, and vegetables that are relatively rich in protein, such as asparagus and spinach.
Why do you lose weight on a high protein diet?
By replacing carbs and fat with protein, you reduce the hunger hormone and boost several satiety hormones. This leads to a major reduction in hunger and is the main reason protein helps you lose weight. It can make you eat fewer calories automatically.
What is a high protein diet for weight loss?
A high-protein diet for weight loss and overall health should provide about 0.6–0.75 grams of protein per pound of body weight, or 1.2–1.6 grams per kilogram, and 20–30% of your calories per day.