The protein diet is one of the most loved to get back in shape. Thanks to a low-carb diet, because many people avoid carbohydrates which are considered an obstacle to weight loss, and high protein foods, which help preserve muscle mass, stimulate metabolism, and allow you to burn more calories, this diet is considered one of the most effective to lose weight and not resume it. Is that it? Keep reading.
High protein foods? The protein diet
There is no standard hyper protein diet. The increase in the intake of high protein foods is, in fact, a common feature of various nutritional diets. All diets that are based on an increase in protein consumption at the expense of carbohydrates are protein-based. For this reason, protein diets belong to the group of low-carb diets that, in different measures, provide a reduction in the carbohydrate intake to the benefit of high protein foods, or fat. This approach overturns the principles of the Mediterranean diet, which provides this proportion between nutrients:
- Carbohydrates: 45-60% of calories consumed daily
- Fat: not more than 35%
- Proteins: 10-12%.
How much protein should I take?
In most protein diets, the reduction in carbohydrate consumption is associated with a substantial increase in the intake of high protein foods, far superior to what experts recommend. On average, a protein diet provides a protein intake of 27% of the total daily calories. According to a review of over 50 of the most popular protein diets, the protein intake of a protein diet is, on average, 1.38 g per kg of body weight (with peaks up to 2.5 g), while for a normal subject the recommended daily protein value is 0,8-1,1 g per kg body weight.
High protein foods to lose weight? Their benefits
Here are the main reasons that allow you to lose weight thanks to high protein foods.
- More protein and fewer carbohydrates increase fat consumption. The protein diet makes you lose weight because the increased protein intake, combined with a strong reduction of carbohydrates, pushes the body to use protein and fat storage to produce energy, not being available the "fuel" that is usually used as a primary energy source, which is carbohydrates. This causes you to lose weight quickly and burn excess fat.
- Protein burns more calories. The various nutrients (proteins, carbohydrates, and fats) need energy to be digested by the gastrointestinal system and thus absorbed into the bloodstream. The energy our body burns to digest and absorb nutrients is referred to as NEAT or Non-Exercise activity thermogenesis. NEAT is different for each nutrient: the protein NEAT is 25%, carbohydrates one is 5% and NEAT of fats is 2%. This means that 25% of the calories consumed through protein sources are burned during digestion, unlike 2-5% of the calories consumed by carbohydrates and fats. High protein foods, therefore, help to increase the basic metabolism (the energy expenditure of the body at rest, which in normal conditions represents about 65-75% of the total energy expenditure) and promotes the process of slimming.
- Proteins promote a sense of satiety.These nutrients are more satiating than carbohydrates and fats, so a high protein diet helps you eat less.
- Proteins help maintain muscle mass. A diet rich in high protein foods helps to preserve muscle mass and this makes it particularly appreciated by those who want to lose weight.
- Few carbohydrates reduce glycemic peaks. Compared to a carbohydrate-rich diet, a low-carb protein diet keeps insulin levels constant and significantly reduces glycemic peaks after meals. This helps to control hunger attacks, which can promote weight gain or hinder its loss.
What to eat in a protein diet
Protein diet is a diet high in protein food, both animal and vegetable, and low in carbohydrates.
Animal proteins are called "noble" proteins because of their high biological value: they contain, in fact, all 8 essential amino acids, which the organism needs to function properly and which it cannot produce alone, but must derive from food. The main sources of animal protein are:
- Fish and seafood
- Milk and dairy products (cheese).
Plant-based proteins, on the other hand, with a lower biological value, have the advantage of containing less saturated fats, the abuse of which is linked to greater risks to cardiovascular health. They are sources of plant-based proteins:
- Nuts (walnuts, almonds, pistachios)
- Some vegetables with high protein content, in particular broccolis, artichokes, cabbage, spinach, asparagus, mushrooms.
Cereals, legumes, and fruits, which are sources of protein but also of carbohydrates, should be consumed in moderation within a protein diet, at least in its most traditional sense.
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