- 1 Can a high protein diet cause weight loss?
- 2 Why you need protein in your diet
- 3 How protein boost weight loss
- 4 What exactly is a protein diet?
- 5 Foods allowed on a high protein diet
- 6 How to increase your protein
- 7 Risks associated with a protein diet
- 8 Best alternate diets for weight loss
- 9 Conclusion on using a protein diet
- 10 Using a protein diet to lose weight
Can a high protein diet cause weight loss?
Adding high protein foods to your diet is one of the most popular and effective weight loss tips most experts will recommend.
Protein is one of the three macronutrients your body needs in addition to carbs and fats. Not only does it promote weight loss but also assist in several body functions such as;
Why you need protein in your diet
1. Growth and maintenance
All tissues, organs, and muscles in your body are made up of` protein. This includes things such as hair, skin, and bones.
Because tissues in your body are constantly in a state of change as we grow, your body needs protein to maintain them. In addition, protein is also needed for repair when injury or damage occurs.
2. Enzyme function
Did you know enzymes are made up of proteins? Enzymes are responsible for the thousands of biochemical reactions that occur in your body.
These biochemical reactions include things such as digestion, energy production, and blood clotting.
Hormones are chemical messengers that enable different cells, organs, and tissues in your body to communicate. Some hormones are also proteins.
4. Aids in transportation and storage of nutrients
Protein also aids in the transportation of nutrients and other vital substances in the bloodstream. This allows substances such as vitamins, minerals, and vital oxygen to get in and out of your cells.
Read more on the function of proteins in the body.
How protein boost weight loss
1. Reduces Appetite and satiety
Many weight loss tips advise you to add protein to every meal because it makes you feel full and this is very true. Studies have shown that a protein diet keeps full for hours due to effects on certain hormones.
First, protein increases the production of GLP-1 and PYY hormones which make you feel full. At the same time, it decreases the production of the hunger hormones ghrelin.
Due to these effects, eating high-protein foods at every meal will lead to a reduction in the calories you consume. For many people, this calorie reduction occurring daily will result in weight loss.
2. Increases metabolic rate
It has been proven that your body needs more calories to digest protein foods as compared to other food groups. It’s not a small change either, recent studies have shown that your body burns as much as 35% more calories digesting protein.
To put it into perspective, your body burns only 15% more calories digesting fats and carbs
For somebody looking to lose weight fast, this increase in calories burnt can significantly affect how much weight you lose.
3. Prevents muscle loss
A common side effect of losing weight fast is that you end up losing muscle in addition to fats. Also, as you lose weight your metabolic rate slows down and your body burns fewer and fewer calories at rest.
However, studies have shown that all these effects can be prevented on a protein diet. Even as you lose weight, protein reduces muscle loss which in turn improves your metabolic rate.
What exactly is a protein diet?
The daily recommended protein intake for men and women is 56g and 46g respectively. However, this is just enough to prevent a deficiency but not boost weight loss.
On a high protein diet, you determine how much protein to eat based on your daily calories or weight. You must eat at least 30% of your total daily calories from protein.
For example, someone who eats 2500 daily calories, for weight loss should eat at least 188g of protein daily. If you determine this based on weight, you need to eat at least 1.2 – 16 grams of protein per kilogram or 0.6 – 0.75g per pound.
For someone weighing 180 pounds (82kgs ) this translates to 98 – 131g of protein daily.
How to get started on a high protein diet
To get started on a protein diet, this is what you need to do
Determine your current protein needs
You can calculate how much protein you need to lose weight based on your daily calories or by your current weight. This is the best starting point to get started.
After determining how much you need to eat daily, use this to come up with a good meal plan to meet your goals. For best results, divide your daily protein intake between all your meals.
Because a high protein diet works based on the amount you eat daily, you need to keep track of your diet throughout the day. You can invest in a food journal or use food tracking apps such as myfitnesspal.
However, don’t just assume you are eating enough protein, keeping track especially at the start will allow you to revise and improve as you go.
Eat high-protein foods at all mealtimes.
Adjusting to a protein diet can be very difficult as you cannot eat it all in one meal. The best way to go about it is to always incorporate protein-rich foods at every mealtime.
Aim to have at least 25g of protein with all your meals starting with breakfast.
Choose quality protein
A high protein diet doesn’t mean you are now allowed to eat your favorite processed meats as they’re high in protein. In fact, stay away from processed protein foods and opt for fresh, lean cuts.
Processed foods even those high in protein are not advisable as they tend to be very high in sodium and can contain unhealthy fats. Choose lean over fatty cuts unless you’re following a low-carb diet such as ketogenic.
Foods allowed on a high protein diet
As with any weight loss diet, the foods you choose can make or break your goals. For success with a protein diet, choose quality over quantity. The best high-protein foods to focus on include;
1. Lean meats
Choose meats such as chicken, beef, pork, and poultry. Because fatty animal proteins can negatively affect your health, you want to choose lean cuts of these meats for your protein diet.
Incorporating these into your diet shouldn’t be hard as you can have them for dinner or lunch.
Fish is one of the best high protein foods you can include in your protein diet because unlike animal proteins, fatty fish are actually very heart-healthy. Choose fish such as salmon, tuna, mackerel.
Not to forget shrimp, halibut and all the other varieties.
3. Plant-based protein
Many people falsely assume it’s hard to maintain a plant-based protein diet. This couldn’t be further from the truth as plant-based protein serves as very good sources of high-fiber in addition to protein.
For weight loss, fiber is another weight-loss food that’s actually as good as protein. Common legumes such as chickpeas, black beans, navy beans, and peas should be on your plate daily.
It’s actually best to incorporate both animal-based protein and plant-based legumes on a high protein diet. Also include plant-based protein such as tempeh, edamame, and tofu
4. Whole Eggs
Include all types of eggs in your diet.
Milk and other dairy products provide more than just protein as they often also good sources of bone-strengthening calcium. Dairy products such as greek yogurt, cottage cheese are considered good healthy snacks you should include in your high protein diet.
However, If you have don’t drink milk, you can always modify your protein diet to fit your dietary preferences. Feel free to exclude them from your diet and use other protein-rich foods.
For many people, the actual struggle is finding a way to include all these protein foods in their daily diet. To improve your protein intake use these tips
How to increase your protein
1. Start your day with protein
If you eat breakfast, then make sure you have a protein food included. Start by replacing your sugar-filled cereal with a hard-boiled egg or an egg omelet.
However, if you don’t have the time for that, then opt for a high-protein meal replacement smoothie. Eating protein-foods at breakfast will help you eat less throughout the day.
2. Eat your protein foods first
Always start with your high protein foods and you will find that you won’t even finish all the food on your plate as you will feel full and satisfied much faster.
3. Choose high-protein snacks
If you struggle with getting enough protein in your diet, you should consider high-protein snacks. Snacks such as greek yogurt or cottage cheese pack a good amount of protein per serving.
Not only will they keep you full but also increase your daily protein intake. You can also snack on protein-foods such as edamame or hummus.
4. Include protein-rich foods in all your meals
Adjusting to a protein diet can get very difficult. It’s almost impossible to eat all your protein in one meal. To avoid missing out on your target amounts, divide and include protein in all your meals.
From breakfast, lunch, and dinner, always have high-protein options. Choose healthy snacks that are also high in protein to improve your intake.
5. Include both plant proteins and animal proteins
Variety is the spice of life and more so when it comes to any weight loss diet. Have a meal schedule that alternates between plant-based proteins and animal proteins.
This way you don’t get too bored fast. In addition, some animal proteins contain unhealthy fats that can negatively affect your health. This is the best way to reduce risk and still benefit.
6. Stay hydrated
On a high protein diet, you are consuming more protein than your body is used to and this can leave you dehydrated. Even though you might not feel thirstier.
It is important that you drink more water throughout the day.
There is no set amount to drink but the color of your urine should give you an indication. You want it to have a similar color to lemonade.
Risks associated with a protein diet
Many healthy people can easily follow a high protein diet without any negative impacts on their health. However, for certain people, that’s not the case.
Those with kidney issues
If you have or have experienced any sort of kidney disease a protein diet might not be for you. This is is because it requires a significant increase in your daily protein intake which might affect your already weakened kidney.
May promote kidney stones
Some studies have shown that a high protein diet can lead to the formation of kidney stones in some people. This risk significantly increases especially with those who eat too much animal protein.
However, the same effect is not experienced with those who eat plant-based proteins.
In addition, those with liver disease or any other health condition should also be cautious about starting a protein diet. If you’re unsure always consult with your physician first.
Best alternate diets for weight loss
Even though a high protein diet can help you lose weight, it can only be used short term. To lose weight long-term, consider these weight-loss diets.
They are considered the best as they not only help you lose weight faster but also improve your health;
1. Intermittent fasting
Intermittent fasting is a great way to lose weight if you don’t want to worry about what foods you should eat or not eat. With fasting for weight loss, dieting is viewed as a time-based approach.
This has proven to be one of the best ways to lose weight for many people including myself without having to worry about food restrictions.
2. Low-carb ketogenic diet
Low carbs diets remain to be one of the most popular ways to lose weight and improve health. The concept of these diets such as ketogenic is that by limiting carbs your body is forced to burn stored fats for energy.
3. Plant-based diets
Even though most people don’t associate vegan and vegetarian diets with weight loss, they can actually help you lose weight. Plant-based diets are very high in fiber-rich foods, fruits, and vegetables which been shown to boost weight loss.
In addition by cutting out animal proteins, you’re more likely to lose weight and keep it off for good.
4. Mediterranean diet
The Mediterranean diet is more than just a heart-healthy diet. This simple diet is actually one of the easiest to follow as it doesn’t limit any food groups but provides guidelines on consumption.
On the Mediterranean diet, daily servings of fruits, vegetables, and legumes are encouraged with weekly servings of fish. However, you are advised to limit consumption of red meats and only eat them occasionally but not often.
5. Paleo diet
Paleo focuses on consuming foods you can pick, hunt, gather or fish just like our hunter-gatherer ancestors did.
Pioneers of the diet claim that the human body has not evolved to eating foods introduced during the farming era and hence the prevalence of lifestyle diseases.
Conclusion on using a protein diet
High protein diets can help you lose weight fast as they reduce appetite, increase fullness, and boost metabolism. Following this type of diet is not only beneficial for weight loss but also body functions that are dependant on protein.
A normal diet requires you to eat about 46g and 56g of protein for men and women. However, on a protein diet, you will need to increase your protein intake significantly for weight loss.
You can determine how much protein you need by using your daily calories or by weight. On the diet, you are allowed high-protein foods such as lean meats, fish, legumes, eggs, dairy, and dairy products.
Even though many people can follow a protein diet, those with kidney or liver disease are advised not to start on the diet and seek medical advice first.
A high protein diet can only be used to cause weight loss short term. However for sustainable weight loss long-term consider diets such as intermittent fasting, Meditteranean or ketogenic diet.