Losing weight is something that millions of people in the world are looking forward to. However, despite various efforts, diet changes, rigorous exercise regimen, and various other things, weight loss does not happen as desired. Even if weight is lost, retaining the same is an arduous task for sure. If almost everything has failed, there is still hope for you. What? High-protein diet. Yes, you read it right. The high protein diet has proved to be very effective for losing weight in the most effective manner. In fact, there are specialized high-protein diets in the names of ‘Paleo’, ‘Atkins Diet’ and ‘the Zone’. Many people follow these diets initially but fail to maintain the same. If they are followed seriously and as recommended, results are bound to come for weight loss. The specialty of all these diets is that they are high-protein diets. Before we jump to conclusions directly, it is important to understand many things regarding this diet plan. In this article, we will discuss in detail about high-protein diet and how it is useful in losing weight successfully.
What is protein and what is its importance?
Proteins are considered as the building blocks in our bodies. They are among the most vital and crucial components, which are required for the healthy functioning of a human body (1). In fact, it is a major macronutrient in combination with fats and carbs. The body requires a certain amount of protein every day so that various functions are carried out well. As per Dietary Reference Intake (DRI), a person needs 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of weight.
Amino acids are the small units that makeup proteins. There are 22 amino acids and out of the 9 of them are considered as “essential” amino acids. This means that these amino acids have to be supplemented from outside in the form of various foods as the body cannot make these amino acids. Different foods have different amino acid profiles. Various kinds of animal products are considered as “complete protein” because all essential amino acids are present in them in optimal amounts as required. Some of these varieties include the likes of meat, dairy products, fish, eggs, and poultry.
It is interesting to note that various vegetable proteins are also available but they are not able to provide all kinds of essential amino acids. Therefore, they are combined with other plant sources so that the losses are compensated. Some high-protein plant foods include the likes of legumes, soy, beans, grains, nuts, and seeds.
How protein impacts the process of weight loss in the body?
In various research reports and studies, it has been deciphered that consuming high-proteins in the diet might have highly impressive results for weight loss issues. Not only this, various other things like metabolic rate, appetite, and body and weight composition is also impacted by high protein intake.
Mentioned below are some ways in which protein impacts the full process of weight loss in the body:
- Metabolic rate – When a high protein diet is taken, it increases the number of calories that need to be burnt. For digesting proteins, metabolic rate is boosted by an impressive 20-35%. On the other hand, for digesting carbs and fats, just 5-15% metabolic rate is boosted (2). The boost is metabolism takes place because of the thermic effect. Since more calories are burnt in a high-protein diet, it gives metabolic advantages over other low-protein diets. In fact, the calorie-burning process continues long after the diet is taken. A comparison of high-carb and high-protein diet intake showed that the latter boosted metabolic rate considerably.
- Fullness and appetite – Consuming more amounts of high-proteins help in suppressing appetite for long hours. Hunger pangs are curbed to a great extent with this diet. This happens because various kinds of hormones start functioning in the body which helps one feel full for a long period of time. The two most prominent hormones in this regard are GLP-1 and PYY. Along with feeling full, it also imparts a sense of satisfaction hence craving for food is curbed. Levels of ghrelin, which is also known as the hunger hormone, are also reduced in the body with a high-protein diet. With feelings of fullness and curbed appetite, food intake is reduced naturally.
- Body composition and weight loss – It has already been seen and proved that high-protein intake has the capability of suppressing appetite, promoting the sense of fullness, and also boost metabolism successfully in the body. Fat loss, as well as weight loss, is promoted in the body with a high-protein diet (3). In research reports, it was proved that high-protein diets seemed to be more effective when compared to standard protein-diets. In fact, even during the process of weight loss, muscle mass is preserved and the metabolic slowdown is prevented.
Along with weight loss, the high-protein diet also serves many other functions in the body. They are as follows:
- Helps in reducing muscle loss during the process of aging – With aging, people tend to lose muscles quickly. In a study (4), it was revealed that adding some protein supplements in the form of a shake or something helped in protecting muscle health in elderly men and in people suffering from age-related muscle loss.
- Helps in increasing muscle mass – In various studies, it has been proved that higher protein intake helps in increasing muscle size and strength. Best results are seen when such a diet is combined with resistance training (5).
- Betters wound healing – It has been seen that high-protein diets play a crucial role in enhancing wound healing related to injury, surgery as well as for bedsores (6).
- Helps in strengthening bones – Bone health is promoted greatly with high protein intake. It was seen in a study report that elderly women who took high-protein in the form of animal protein were at reduced risk of hip fracture by almost 70%.
Some important guidelines for a high-protein diet
The best thing about a high-protein diet is that it can be customized as per health-related goals and food preferences. Mentioned below are some important guidelines, which will help in following a high-protein diet:
- Calculate your protein needs by multiplying your weight in kilograms by 1.2-1.6 grams
- Maintain a food diary for setting your macronutrient and calorie goals
- Try including animal and plant proteins in the diet for proper balance
- Consume a minimum of 25-30 grams of proteins at various meals
- Try eating well-balanced meals with proper amounts of fats, carbs, and high-proteins
- Choose protein sources, which are of high-quality
Prominent high-protein foods which can be included in the daily diet for good results
It is true that diet programs like Cinderella Solution can offer great benefits for weight loss. If you are not in a condition of following the weight loss program right away, you can at least include the following high-protein foods in the daily diet. This will augment the process of weight loss in the body to a great extent. Mentioned below are some such prominent high-protein foods:
- Lentils – Lentils are an excellent source of high protein. It is said that having 100 grams of boiled lentils will provide the body with 9 grams of proteins. Along with that, the body will also get 8 grams of dietary fiber as well.
- Eggs – We all know that eggs are a super source of high-proteins. Make sure that you include eggs in the breakfast routine on a regular basis as it is highly nutritious and stacked with high-quality proteins. If you consume one boiled egg, you will get almost 13 grams of protein and no carbs at all. There are also different egg recipes that you can try. But having a boiled egg in breakfast serves the purpose best.
- Yogurt – When you are looking to lose weight with the help of the high-protein diet, you cannot miss including yogurt in your diet in any manner. In fact, it has been seen that health and fitness enthusiasts include yogurt in their diet for sure. The best thing about yogurt is that it contains no carbohydrates. Rather it has 10 grams of proteins in every 100 grams of yogurt.
- Tofu – Many people have a notion that vegetarians are low on proteins as they miss out on the rich source of animal proteins. But this is not true at all. Tofu is a hot favorite with vegans and vegetarians. It has been calculated by dietary experts that 100 grams of tofu contain almost 9 grams of high-quality proteins. Also, it contributes zero carbs in the system.
- Tuna – It is a well-known fact that fish is a source of high-protein. And if you are looking for the best variety, you cannot go wrong with tuna in any way. Tuna is a saltwater fish and a very favorite variety with people. It is considered as one of the best and most well-known sources of lean protein. With zero carbohydrates, the fish offers amazing 30 grams of proteins per 100 grams serving of the same.
All these above-mentioned food items are readily available in the market and can be almost afforded by everyone. Reap the benefits and enjoy weight loss successfully.