How Well Do You Know the Pros and Cons of a High-Protein Diet?


Protein is an essential nutrient to make you survive. It’s a macronutrient and is responsible for several functions in the body such as the secretion of hormones, enzymes, and cell repair and maintenance. High-protein diets encourage a higher intake of proteins with fewer carbohydrates and fat to help with weight loss, provide more energy, and improve one’s athletic performance.


Moreover, muscles are mainly composed of protein. Just like most body tissues, muscles are always dynamic, and they are constantly broken down and recreated. 


Diets that are high in protein are known to decrease hunger, increase metabolism, improve satiety, and preserve muscle mass. As for diets, it’s not one size fits all. It means that what works for one person may not go well with another.

 Experts’ Statement on High-Protein Diet


According to experts, a high-protein diet means reducing carbohydrates. A healthier approach to this type of diet is to have it balanced. It must be composed of 50 percent calories from carbohydrates, 30 percent from fat, and 20 percent from protein.


What You Are Allowed to Eat?


A high-protein recommends that you derive 20 percent of your calories from protein. That means getting fewer calories from carbohydrates and fats, to ensure balanced calories. There are no exact food prohibitions in a high-protein diet. You just have to lessen your intake of refined carbohydrates, fats, and sugars, and increase your intake of lean proteins. You don’t have any suggested eating schedule for a high-protein diet, unlike intermittent fasting. 


Some Tips on How to Prepare for a High-Protein Diet


Bear in mind that any healthy diet that aims for weight loss must have a balance of the three macronutrients, fat, carbohydrate, and protein. The general guidelines for a high-protein diet advise that dieters must get 10 to 35 percent of their total calories from proteins. The official recommended daily allowance (RDA) for any healthy adult is to have 54 grams of protein for an adult whose weight is 150 pounds.


You may use a calorie-tracking app or site to keep track of your calories. This will make it easier to check your daily protein intake too. Many dieters also use apps to track their intake of macronutrients, making sure that they get the proper ratio of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. 


A high-protein diet usually requires the following: the inclusion of protein in every meal, avoiding the intake of processed carbohydrates, snacking on lots of protein, and starting the day with protein intake. 


What Does Research Say about a High-Protein Diet?


Based on a PubMed report, evidence shows the major role of a high-protein diet in many weight loss programs. The most important benefit of a high-protein diet is its ability to preserve the body’s lean and muscle mass. This diet’s short-term effects include a reduction of blood pressure, body fat, and waist circumference. 


Another PubMed report also suggests that people who suffer from chronic kidney diseases must stay away from a high-protein diet. They are better off when they follow a low-protein diet. 


How to Manage Your Hunger and What about Your Body Composition?


The type of protein you consume has an effect on how long you will feel satiated. In a 2014 study published in Nutrition & Metabolism, scientists revealed that pea and whey proteins tend to suppress hunger more efficiently than casein protein. According to the same study, both long-term and short-term high-protein diets can effectively preserve the body’s lean muscle and at the same time promote fat loss. This improves the overall body composition as well. Furthermore, consuming more proteins than recommended may help you to maintain muscle mass even while you age. This is particularly true when you focus on lean protein sources like nuts, fish, legumes, seeds, low-fat dairy, and plant-based proteins.


What Are the Pros and Cons of a High-Protein Diet?


One thing you have to bear in mind is that it’s dangerous to follow a high-protein diet without counting your calorie intake. It’s important for dieters to know the pros and cons of a high-protein diet since this will highlight the significance of acquiring more protein safely.


The Pros


Reduced Cravings and Hunger Pangs


Most dieters complain about constantly becoming hungry while on a diet. This is not the case when you follow a high-protein diet. Your hunger pangs and cravings are reduced if not controlled by the amount of protein you take in. Even when you’re not trying to lose weight, a high-protein diet can make you feel full longer because protein is the most satiating macronutrient. A high-protein diet helps regulate blood glucose levels and suppress the hunger hormone ghrelin inside our bodies.


Better Appetite Control


Protein intake increases the levels of the hormone that gives you the full feeling, which is Peptide YY. Simultaneously, it also increases the levels of the hormone that increases the feeling of hunger which is called ghrelin. This results in appetite control and reduced chances of food cravings. 


Improved Metabolism


The body uses a certain amount of energy for digesting and absorbing nutrients from foods. This is known as the thermic effect of food. Foods that have a high thermic effect will increase one’s metabolism since these need more energy for them to be broken down. Based on research, protein has a higher thermic effect at 20 to 35 percent compared to fat and carbohydrate which is 5 to 15 percent.


 Good for the Bones


Studies show that proteins even those that come from animal sources can promote bone health. People who consume more protein tend to grow more bone mass as they become older. This lessens the chances of their getting osteoporosis or breaking bones. This is particularly crucial for post-menopausal women who are prone to osteoporosis. A great way to prevent this from happening is to eat more proteins and stay physically active. 


Quicker Recovery


Amino acids in proteins are not only meant for muscle growth. They are also great for tissue repair and recovery. With improved recovery and faster tissue repair, muscle growth, and strength are enhanced. The benefits of protein may also help those who have experienced injury or illness since protein is required for tissue repair. 


The Cons


A high-protein diet is not perfect. It also comes with several disadvantages that when not managed well can be dangerous to health.


It has some bothersome side effects.


Once the body gets into ketosis and it starts to use its own resources for fuel, some adverse side effects often start to occur such as headaches, fatigue, and a warm or feverish sensation. People who are burning fat or muscle are also often more irritable than normal people. They may also suffer from difficulty sleeping for several days as their bodies try to adjust to their new eating habits. 


Initial weight loss is not permanent.


Weight loss may be satisfying for dieters, but most dieters gain weight after their initial weight loss from this diet. This is because a large part of the weight loss is water loss, which the body often replenishes. Sometimes the water weight comes back which offsets the initial weight loss felt early on in the high-protein diet. 


It’s not everyone can follow this diet.


If a person has liver or kidney problems, the increase in protein intake can be detrimental to their health. Problems in these organs often translate to weakened bodily functions. Adding more protein to the equation will only cause more stress to the body, which may aggravate health problems. 


This diet may cause poor cardiac health.


High-protein diets may increase your risk of cardiac diseases when you get protein from red meat and full-fat dairy. Such food sources are loaded with cholesterol and saturated fats. This was also seen in several studies while the risk of cardiac diseases is greatly reduced when protein is derived from fish, poultry, eggs, nuts, and veggies. 


Bad breath and constipation may also be caused by a high-protein diet.


Too much protein in your diet may lead to bad breath. This is most obvious when you have a low intake of carbohydrates. According to experts, this is because a high-protein and low-carb diet can bring your body to a metabolic state known as ketosis. On the other hand, because of the low intake of carbohydrates in this diet, you may suffer from constipation due to a lack of fiber. To remedy this, you have to take lots of water and increase your fiber. 


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