Diets for weight management: Can a high-protein diet help you lose weight?
11/04/2021 / By Joanne Washburn / Comments
Diets for weight management: Can a high-protein diet help you lose weight?

A high-protein diet is exactly what it sounds like. It’s an eating plan that emphasizes consuming larger amounts of protein than carbohydrates, which generally make up about 45 to 65 percent of your daily calorie intake.

Protein is an important building block of your bones, muscles, cartilage, skin and blood. Therefore, you need to consume large amounts of protein to stay healthy. Protein also supports healthy muscle recovery, ensures healthy immune function and helps maintain good gut health, among other benefits.

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Recently, health enthusiasts have been looking into protein for its potential role in weight loss. Previous studies show that protein can make it easier for you to curb your appetite because it can keep you feeling full for longer. As such, protein could help you lose weight or maintain a healthy weight.

Read on to learn more about how a high-protein diet can aid in weight loss.

A high-protein diet for weight loss

There are no hard and fast rules as to what goes into a high-protein diet. Generally, it includes different protein sources like beef, lean pork, poultry, fish, seafood, dairy products, eggs and healthy oils. A high-protein diet also usually restricts carbohydrates, such as bread, pasta, rice, lentils and starchy fruits and vegetables.

A high-protein diet can help you lose weight in many ways. For starters, protein affects levels of certain hormones that influence how full you feel after eating, like ghrelin and glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1). Ghrelin is the hormone that triggers hunger, while GLP-1 is an appetite-reducing hormone.

With protein, your body also burns more calories, For example, if you eat 100 calories of protein, your body will burn 2o to 30 percent of those calories while processing the protein. But if you eat 100 calories of carbohydrates, your body will only burn five to 10 percent of those calories while processing the carbohydrates.

In addition, high protein intake can speed up your metabolism, making you burn more calories even during sleep.

To put it simply, you can lose weight on a high-protein diet. But there’s a caveat. According to experts, the main issue with high-protein diets is they usually restrict carbohydrates, even the healthy ones.

If you don’t get enough carbohydrates, your blood sugar levels could drop to below the normal range. This may cause you to feel hungrier, prompting snacking or overeating. You could end up gaining weight instead of losing it.

Most foods high in carbohydrates are also rich in soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber dissolves in water. It is transformed into a gel-like substance, which blocks fats that would otherwise be digested and absorbed.

Insoluble fiber, on the other hand, is the indigestible material that attracts water to your stool, making it easier to pass. As such, insoluble fiber helps prevent gastrointestinal blockage and constipation, among other digestive issues.

If you don’t get enough fiber because you’re too busy focusing on protein, it could lead to serious health problems, such as colon cancer and high blood sugar and cholesterol levels.

Some studies also found that a high-protein diet can put stress on your kidneys and cause dehydration. A high-protein diet that includes fatty cuts of meat can also raise your risk of heart disease and other chronic diseases.

If you plan to go on a high-protein diet, make sure to include lean sources of protein and healthy carbohydrates like whole grains, beans and sweet potatoes. Don’t forget about your vegetables, too.

Recipe for chicken with goat cheese vinaigrette

This high-protein, Mediterranean-style dish features skinless chicken breasts, which pack lots of protein minus the fat found in pork and beef. Goat cheese vinaigrette also gives the chicken a bit of kick and tons of flavor.

The meal’s ready in 20 minutes from start to finish.

Ingredients for 4 servings:

  • 4 6-ounce chicken breast fillets, skinless
  • 1 cup whole-wheat orzo
  • 1/2 cup goat cheese, crumbled
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • Ground black pepper
  • Kosher salt

Preparation:

  1. Cook the orzo according to the package directions.
  2. Meanwhile, combine 1/3 cup of olive oil, parsley, crushed red pepper and goat cheese in a bowl.
  3. Halve the fillets crosswise and season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper.
  4. Heat the remaining olive oil in a pan. Cook the fillets for 2 to 3 minutes on each side.
  5. Serve the fillets with the orzo and goat cheese vinaigrette.

A high-protein diet can help you lose weight or maintain a healthy one. To take full advantage of the benefits of a high-protein diet, start eating more high-protein foods like lean meats, poultry, fish, seafood, beans and nuts.

Take note that you should still focus on getting proper nutrition when following a high-protein diet. Eating oily or fatty foods, for instance, will counteract any benefits you can get from healthy protein sources.

Sources:

MayoClinic.org

GoodHousekeeping.com

MensHealth.com

MedicalNewsToday.com

RealSimple.com

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