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Last Updated on April 19, 2023
On a high-protein diet, you’re encouraged to eat more protein and eat fewer carbohydrates. If you’re following this diet, it’s recommended that you get more than 20% of your calories from protein. This diet can be quite common with athletes because it can improve energy and boost athletic performance.
Protein is an essential nutrient for the human body, as are carbohydrates and fats. All three are essential for a balanced diet. Protein serves many functions in the human body. These processes include but aren’t limited to, growth, the function of the immune system and transporting oxygen throughout the body.
Meat is the most obvious source of protein but there are other foods that are also good sources of protein. Seafood, beans, soy milk, vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower, eggs, nuts, whole grains and seeds are all other great sources of protein. Plant-based sources of protein might be more affordable than meat, find out more about affordable, high-protein foods.
Benefits of a High-Protein Diet
As previously mentioned, athletes are known to favour this diet because of the physical benefits that can be had from this diet. There are several different benefits that you can enjoy from switching to a high-protein diet.
Build Muscle Mass
A high-protein diet will help build and maintain muscle mass. So, if you’re looking to become a bodybuilder or gain some weight, this is the diet for you. Muscles burn more calories than they do fat, so there’s more for the muscles to burn off.
Can Boost Weight Loss
Eating protein can contribute towards weight loss because the body will burn off more calories when working to chew and digest the protein. While calories are burned, it’s not a large enough amount that you wouldn’t need to supplement the weight loss with a workout plan.
Another way a protein-heavy diet can help you lose weight is by providing more nutrient-dense food. This means that you’re less likely to have less nutritious food on your plate when the diet is protein focused. Of course, this is dependent on basing the meals around lean protein instead of fat saturated protein.
Stay Full Longer
A protein-dense diet can help you lose weight by making you feel fuller for longer. Having protein in meals and snacks can help you have better portion control because you’ll feel satisfied for longer.
Risks of a High-Protein Diet
While there are some great benefits to be gained from eating a protein-heavy diet, there are also a few potential pitfalls. If you are selective about your sources of protein and consult a healthcare professional, you can potentially avoid the cons of a high-protein diet.
Can Affect Kidney Function
A high-protein diet is not always best for those who suffer from chronic illnesses. This is especially true of those who struggle with their kidneys. A high-protein diet can have negative effects on those who suffer from kidney disease but there should be no problems for those who have healthy kidneys. A high-protein diet can also negatively affect people who suffer from diabetes.
Potential Nutrient Deficiencies
A protein-dense diet can be quite restrictive. Depending on how you decide to approach the diet, you may find that you cut out too much of other necessary nutrients. For example, there can be a lack of fibre and carbohydrates that can negatively affect health. Fibre is essential for your colon health and helps reduce inflammation within the body.
On the other end of the spectrum, some people might choose to focus on high-fat sources of protein such as processed meats, full-fat dairy and fatty cuts of meat instead of the lean options. These foods aren’t great options for maintaining a healthy, balanced diet and can lead to heart disease and high cholesterol.
Whether or not a high-protein diet will benefit you is dependent on your body. There is no eating plan that is one size fits all. We all have different bodies that have different needs.
For some, a high-protein diet works well and for others, it doesn’t. If you’re considering switching to a high-protein diet, you should consult your doctor first and make sure that it’s the right choice for you.
Overall, being on a high-protein diet can make it difficult to maintain a balanced and healthy diet. If you’re going to go down this route, it’s important to be thoughtful and intentional about your food choices.