High-protein diets are all the rage when it comes to weight loss. But do they work in reducing excess pounds? We’ve heard this advice and have watched celebrities who’ve accomplished a loss in weight by using a high-protein diet plan. But, before you take the time, efforts, and extra money spent on following this weight loss method, know the facts to enhance your success at reaching your weight loss goal.
There is no set definition, but a protein amount greater than 35 percent of total energy intake is usually considered high-protein. The U.S. Dietary Guidelines recommend between 10 to 35 percent of your daily calories from protein for adults.
Following a high-protein does not involve eating endless amounts of protein foods such as sausage, high-fat meat, high-fat cheeses, etc. Rather, a high-protein meal plan includes plenty of lean protein sources, both plant and animal, providing several benefits making your endeavor achievable:
One unique quality lean protein sources have is making you feel full. You will feel satiety after eating when you include protein in your meals and snacks. Satiety is a feeling of fullness that lingers in the hours after a meal and can inhibit you from eating until the next mealtime. Thus, you end up eating less food resulting in fewer calories.
To build and maintain muscle mass, protein is required. Having sufficient protein sources at each meal and snack helps provide amino acids, the building blocks of protein that help you build a strong body with adequate muscle mass. Combine this way of eating and weight training, and you’ll attain more muscle mass. Increased muscle mass increases the number of calories you burn, even when at rest, making it easier to lose weight.
When chewing and digesting protein foods, a few extra calories will be burned since it takes more effort for your body to do so. Called the thermic effect of food, it means your rate of metabolism, or the rate at which you burn calories, is temporarily speeded up when eating food.
A lot of what helps a high-protein diet work is that it has to do with replacing low-quality carbs such as refined sugary snacks that spike insulin and are stored as fat if they are not used for energy. In addition, since protein takes longer to digest, is more filling, and requires more energy to metabolize, it will aid in weight loss better.
High-protein foods are perfect after a workout. Protein helps your muscles repair, recover, and grow; muscle growth is what you want. The more muscle you attain burns more calories, helping to spur weight loss.
There are several things to consider when deciding to follow a high-protein meal plan for reaching a healthier weight.
First, it’s important to spread protein intake evenly throughout the day, so aim to have some with every meal and smaller amounts at a snack. Aim to have 25-30 grams of protein at breakfast, lunch, and dinner and 10-15 grams at a snack.
Second, eat high-quality protein sources – eggs, chicken breast, lean meat, fish, beans, legumes, dairy foods, nuts, and whole grains such as farro or quinoa. Stay away from greasy, fried, or high-fat meat sources.
Most people can follow a high-protein diet safely, but it is worth noting that potential health risks exist.
When protein sources are high, your body excretes calcium from the bones. Bone loss from excess protein may cause loss of bone mass, leading to the brittle bone disease of osteoporosis.
Another risk is making sure you are properly hydrated when consuming more protein. Protein molecules hold on to a lot of water, making becoming dehydrated a threat. Drink at least 64 ounces of water or more each day.
If your protein intake is very high, ketosis is a real possibility. Ketosis is when ketones build up in your bloodstream, and the body starts to break down stored fat as energy. While it may sound like a good thing, side effects from this include headache, bad breath, and nausea, and being in a state of ketosis can be dangerous for people with kidney problems or pregnant or breastfeeding women.
Anyone wanting to lose weight wants to lose it quickly, but the goal should always be to do it safely and to where you take it off for good. After all, no one wants to regain lost pounds again. Making lifestyle changes that use a healthy eating plan and exercise is necessary to make it work.
Also, anyone with an existing kidney problem or who is pregnant or breastfeeding should discuss with their doctor to make sure a high-protein diet is safe for them before going on it.
Dr. David Samadi is the Director of Men’s Health and Urologic Oncology at St. Francis Hospital in Long Island. He’s a renowned and highly successful board certified Urologic Oncologist Expert and Robotic Surgeon in New York City, regarded as one of the leading prostate surgeons in the U.S., with a vast expertise in prostate cancer treatment and Robotic-Assisted Laparoscopic Prostatectomy. Dr. Samadi is a medical contributor to NewsMax TV and is also the author of The Ultimate MANual, Dr. Samadi’s Guide to Men’s Health and Wellness, available online both on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Visit Dr. Samadi’s websites at robotic oncolo gy and prostate cancer 911.