The who, what, when, where, and why of a high-protein diet.
Thinking of hitching your wagon to a new weight-loss craze? In case you haven’t heard about the pros of a protein-rich diet, listen up! Adding some protein (quite a bit of it, actually) can help you lose a little weight. But how does it really work, and is it for you?
The Protein Plan
A high-protein diet’s main goal is to help you lose weight. Whereas the typical diet consists of 10 to 15 percent of all calories coming from protein, a high-protein diet demands as much as half of your calories come from protein. As a high-protein diet changes your eating habits, it can also change your metabolism.
If you stop eating sufficient carbohydrates and other nutrients, your body can stop burning food for fuel and will instead begin to use your own fat as fuel. This can result in rather rapid weight loss, which sounds pretty good to anyone looking for a quick fix. Unfortunately, this fast and furious pound shedding isn’t experienced without some side effects. Irritability, heart palpitations, kidney trouble, headaches, and other problematic symptoms can all result from a diet high in protein and low in other nutrients.
The Protein Participant
When followed for short periods of time, a high-protein diet is usually safe for otherwise healthy adults. However, anyone with kidney or liver disease should avoid high-protein diets, as they put excessive stress on the body’s waste removal system, a system that is already damaged due to kidney or liver disease.
High-protein diets are also not ideal for people with high cholesterol or are already at risk for heart disease. Since some foods packed with protein also come with a fair amount of cholesterol and fat, adding even more of these foods into your diet isn’t a good idea.
The Protein Predicament
While a high-protein diet may help you lose weight, it is doing it with the same problem that many diets have. Instead of encouraging a healthy, well-rounded diet filled with various foods, a high-protein diet leans heavily on protein-rich foods. As a result, other foods, such as those that are high in carbohydrates, become neglected. Though reducing carbohydrate intake in most people is fine, a drastic reduction in the consumption of any vitamin, mineral, or nutrient is never good for your body.
If you’re set on going with a high-protein diet, be careful not to neglect other foods in the process. That way, you’ll be more likely to get the results you seek without damaging your body along the way. You should also consult a dietitian to find out the most efficient and healthiest ways to up your protein intake. After all, your goal is to lose weight – not your good health!
Finding the Protein
Looking for a nice piece of protein that will help in your quest for a thinner you? Look no farther than your local butcher! Just remember these tips to make sure your protein won’t work against your waistline.
Tip 1: White Poultry Is Good Poultry. Few foods provide the same protein punch as a good piece of chicken – at least not for the money. Just make sure you go for the white meat. Dark meat may be juicier and tastier, but it also comes with added fat. You may also want to cut off the skin, as it has some of that undesirable saturated fat.
Tip 2: Steak Should Be on the Menu. The ultimate protein-rich food is steak. When chosen properly, a lean piece of steak tastes fantastic and gives your body the protein it craves. When chosen poorly, a fatty piece of steak will give your body the protein you seek, but it will be marred by unwanted fats.
Tip 3: A Fish a Day. People in Asian countries have long touted the health benefits of fish. One of the perks of eating fish is the great amount of protein in each bite. Combine that protein with the fact that fish is usually very low in fat, and you’ve got a protein source that will never do you wrong!