Low carb, high protein diets have been touted as one of the quickest and easiest ways to lose weight for around a decade now. Celebrities such as Demi Moore and Jennifer Aniston have raved about the benefits of high protein diets. But what exactly do protein foods do for our bodies and how can they help us achieve the weight loss that we crave?
Protein is a macronutrient used by the body to build and repair tissues. As we cannot store protein, the body needs a constant supply of it. Protein foods come from both animal and plant sources – meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, and pulses like beans and peas as well as nuts and seeds.
To get your quota of protein simply choose from and eat a range of these foods daily. The highest quality sources of protein are generally considered to be ‘complete’ proteins. Complete proteins contain the full range of amino acids required by the body.
However, a full range of proteins should be eaten and bodies such as the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommend varying protein choices for a healthy diet.
Since the upsurge in interest in low carb high protein diets for weight loss around a decade ago, much of the guesswork has been taken out of shopping for high-quality proteins with specialist sites stocking a range of high-quality proteins suitable for both dieters and sportspeople with increased needs such as athletes and bodybuilders.
How can protein promote weight loss?
In tandem with regular strength-building exercise, protein assists in building and maintaining muscle mass. As muscle is more metabolically active than fat you will be burning more calories if you build muscle – even when you are resting.
In addition, when you eat a low carb high-protein diet your metabolism enters a state of ‘ketosis’. During ketosis, the body changes its main source of fuel from carbs to its own fat.
As the fat is broken down, ketones are released into the bloodstream as energy. Appetite is reduced while the body is in a state of ketosis and water is lost, adding to further weight loss.
How to eat high protein
Eating a diet high in good-quality proteins need not be a chore. If eating low carb and high protein, starting off the day with a high-protein breakfast such as an omelet made with two eggs and some cheese is advisable. This is because the body has been in starvation mode overnight and if not fed promptly with protein on waking could resort to calling on muscle tissue for fuel. Lunch could be tuna salad, dinner a chicken and vegetable casserole, with snacks of nuts and seeds in between.
For long-term weight loss and maintenance, the key to a high protein diet should be sustainability through healthy eating of tasty foods supplemented by plenty of water to flush out the kidneys. If made tasty and palatable a high-protein diet can easily become a way of life rather than a short-term diet solution leading to losing weight and keeping it off for life – something we all strive for.
Tiffany is a Medical Student and also works as a fitness coach in part-time. She is also a writer and writes on health and fitness articles. Tiffany loves to engage with users and help them provide various useful information on General Health. She provides researched-based information and also featured on various blogs and magazines.