Can Eating a High-Protein Diet Help You Lose Weight?
We all know that high-protein diets for weight loss have been trendy for years. Perhaps that’s why many are concerned about the amount of protein they’re consuming, and why we eat high-protein foods and sprinkle protein powder onto oatmeal and smoothies. But, does it help us to truly lose weight? Does the weight come back once we’re off the diet? To answer these questions, let’s take a look into the high-protein diet trend.
The DRI (Dietary Reference Intake) is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, or 0.36 grams per pound. The averages out to 56 grams for men each day and 46 grams for women. Protein sources tend to be high calorie, which means that counting calories doesn’t tend to work on a high-protein diet.
The basis of a high-protein diet is that the calories from the protein source will help to keep you fuller for longer, thereby preventing cravings later on in the day. This may be due to increased thermogenesis, which triggers the ‘full’ feeling that you have after consuming higher amounts of protein. By replacing carbohydrates and fat with protein, you help to delay the hunger hormone and boost several satiety hormones. This means that you end up consuming less food and fewer additional calories.
However, upping protein intake alone won’t help you lose weight. Choosing healthy sources of protein such as tofu, beans, and lentils is key. Studies found that eating large amounts of animal protein is linked to weight gain. In fact, red meat and processed meat are linked to an increased risk of cancer as well as heart disease. There is a large misconception that vegetarian and vegan diets are devoid of protein, however, this certainly isn’t the case. All protein is made by plants, meaning that if one was to consume the recommended amount of calories from a plant-based diet, he or she would still receive plenty of protein without supplementing.
It is worth noting that there are potential health risks when following a high-protein diet, including kidney problems and loss of bone mass. If you are following a high-protein diet that is low in carbohydrates, your body may go into ketosis, where ketones build up in your bloodstream and your body breaks down stored fat as energy. This puts added strain on your kidneys and could even worsen function. For those with pre-existing kidney issues and those who are pregnant or breastfeeding, talk to your doctor before changing your diet.
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