High-protein diets are founded on the idea that eating more protein-packed foods leads to successful weight loss. These diets are often low in carbohydrates and/or low in fat, therefore the dieter is consuming far fewer calories than on a typical diet. There are many other benefits to a diet high in protein, and it has become a popular solution for weight loss.
High-protein diets have been found to stimulate weight loss for many reasons. Eating more protein tends to curb a person's appetite. Foods such as steak and chicken leave a person feeling full for much longer than foods rich in fats and carbohydrates, which limits the risk of overeating and snacking later.
A diet high in protein has also been found to increase a person's metabolism due to the lack of carbohydrates in the system. When the body needs energy, it always turns to stored carbohydrates first. If the necessary carbohydrates aren't present, the body begins burning fat for energy instead. By limiting your intake of carbohydrates, you force your body to turn to fat for energy, which in turn leads to further weight loss. The body also begins converting protein into glucose for energy, and studies show that it takes far more effort to convert protein than carbohydrates and fats. The combination of burning fat and protein instead foods full of heavy carbohydrates is a very successful formula to rapid weight loss.
Not only do diets high in protein lead to weight loss, but they have health benefits as well. Protein is essential to the body. It is a building block of almost every cell in the body and is a key component in blood, skin, muscles and bones. It is also used to build and repair tissues in the body.
Protein is considered a macronutrient, which means the body requires large amounts of it to function properly. Carbohydrates and fats are also macronutrients. The body stores both carbohydrates and fats, but it does not store protein. Therefore, it is essential to consume foods rich in protein in order to supply the body with the nutrients it needs.
Dieters on a high-protein diet tend to eat more servings of fish. Fish is a high-protein food low in fat with plenty of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Beans and nuts are also a common presence in these types of diets. Not only are they high in protein, but they contain high amounts of good fibre which assists in curbing appetite. These foods have also been found to help lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease.
Protein and Hormones
Along with the calorie burning results of protein, higher protein intakes can increase the release of the hormone glucagon. Insulin prevents fat loss from fat tissue, but glucagon helps to reverse this result. Glucagon also lessens the enzymes accountable for making fats and increasing the fat stores in your body.
In this case as well, higher protein consumption may lead to losses in body fat. And, during high food consumption, it may result in a smaller increase in fat.
A high diet in protein may not be the best dietary choice for vegans and vegetarians, whose lifestyles discourage the consumption of animal meat. The decision to not eat meat can actually make following a high protein diet rather difficult. One aspect of the diet is that it does discourage the consumption of carbohydrates, which the human body actually requires in certain amounts to use for daily energy. Finding the right balance between these two scenarios can be difficult for some dieters. Before an individual makes the decision to begin following a high protein diet, he or she should first consult their primary care physician.