The High-Protein Diet for Weight Loss
People may adopt a protein-based diet for different reasons. Typically, when we think of someone participating in a protein diet, our first image might be of an athlete or bodybuilder looking to increase their weight and muscle mass. However, both those looking to lose weight and gain weight can benefit from a high-protein diet plan when done correctly. Protein is an essential macronutrient that we need daily: It helps regulate hormones, aids in the transportation and storage of important molecules, and repairs and protects your muscles, bones, skin, and hair. When eating a high-protein diet for weight loss, it’s crucial to eat the right kinds of lean and healthy protein.
High-Protein Diet Foods
When creating your high-protein diet plan, make sure you receive the proper quantity and quality of healthy protein. We’ve listed acceptable food options for high-protein diet plans below.
- Organic and lean animal-based products (meat, fish, dairy, eggs)
- Beans, legumes, lentils
- High-protein vegetables (broccoli, spinach, cabbage, avocados)
- Nuts and seeds
- Protein products (shakes, protein bars)
- Dairy products (milk, yogurt, cheese)
If a Protein Diet Helps Me Lose Weight, Why Do People Gain Weight on It as Well?
High-protein diet plans help with metabolic processing and building and repairing muscles. People who want to gain weight often consider a high-protein diet the best way to build muscle mass quickly. Strengthening your muscle mass by lifting weights or engaging in high levels of physical training will add density to your body and contribute to weight gain.
Benefits of a High-Protein Diet
Protein is packed with a variety of amino acids, b-vitamins, and fats that are needed to support healthy brain and cholesterol function. It is excellent at helping the body sustain energy and also helps the body recover more quickly from muscle injury. Protein builds muscle, and the more muscle gained, the more fat is burned. This is why most who engage in moderate weightlifting tend to maintain their weight. Eating more protein has also been linked to better sleep quality, improved strength and mobility, increased bone density, and even hair growth. If weight loss is your goal, healthy protein can help with:
- Appetite suppression, leading to lower calorie intake
- Burning fat when done in conjunction with moderate to high physical activity
- Increasing metabolism
- Building muscle mass, which supports a toned and lean look
- Increasing satiety and communicating to our brains that enough fat or energy is stored, causing the body to release extra fat storage from stubborn areas
Side Effects of a High-Protein Diet
Consuming too much protein can have drawbacks as well. Research has shown that diets too high in protein can cause issues with kidney function and increase the risk of digestive conditions, including colon cancer. High-protein diets can also put you at a higher risk of heart disease, other types of cancer, and gout, due to the increased amount of uric acid in the blood. It is generally advised that people only adhere to high-protein diets for a short time because of these potential complications.
How Much Protein Should I Eat Daily?
The typical amount of protein needed to maintain optimal health is 56 grams per day for men and 46 grams per day for women. As a rule of thumb, there are generally seven grams of protein in one ounce of meat.
Depending on your level of physical activity, the amount of protein you need in your diet may fluctuate. Those actively building muscle can metabolize protein more efficiently than the average sedentary person and can therefore consume more.
How Do I Begin a Protein Diet?
- Understand how much protein you need: A high-protein diet for weight loss should consist of at least 0.6-0.75 grams of protein per pound of body weight and about 20-30% of your daily calories. If you are trying to lose weight or build muscle, you can usually add 10-20 grams of protein to your daily allowance. Consult your doctor before beginning a protein diet, especially if you have kidney disease or other conditions.
- Consume at least 25–30 grams of protein per meal: Research shows that consuming at least 25 grams of protein at each meal can promote weight loss and appetite suppression, build muscle, and improve health.
- Eat high-quality, natural protein: If possible, choose wild-caught seafood, lean meats, and organic dairy products. Try to avoid processed proteins like deli meats, canned meats, and sausage. Farmer’s markets and local produce stores are great places to find natural, healthy proteins.
- Eat protein from both animal and plant sources: Protein can be found in much more than just meat and dairy. Including both animal and plant-based protein in your diet ensures that you get the right balance of healthy vitamins and minerals. Try to balance protein-based foods with vegetables, fruits, and other plant foods as often as possible.
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