High Protein Diet
The High Protein Diet is a diet which encourages the user to eat protein in large quanities, inlcuding meat protein, egg protein and other sources of high protein foods. The High Protein Diet is often recommended and promoted by bodybuilders, strength athletes as protein is the basic building blocks of muscle.
The High Protein Diet shouldn't be confused with the high protein / high fats diets outlined by the Atkins Diet, which unlike the High Protein Diet is not a calorie controlled diet.
How does the High Protein Diet work?
Like other low carb diets, the High Protein Diet suggests that carbohydrate foods - breads, pasta, rice, fruit etc., are replaced by high protein foods, including meat, poultry, fish, eggs and dairy products.
Where most people are encouraged to eat a diet where protein makes up 10-15 percent of total calories, those on a high protein diet will consume a diet where protein makes up 30-40 percent of total calories.
The reason some believe the High Protein Diet works is that unlike carbohydrates, protein tricks the dieter into feeling full quickly, meaning someone looking to lose weight with the High Protein Diet will be less likely to overeat and consume too many calories for weight loss to occur.
Advantages of the High Protein Diet
The High Protein Diet is a dream diet for those who love eating meat but who are also looking to lose weight. The High Protein Diet encourages the dieter to eat meat as it is an excellent form of protein which contains 23 amino acids - making it a complete amino acid food source.
The High Protein Diet may also be benefical to those people who resistance train to alter their body shape via exercise. Those people who weight train often need more protein than non-weight training individuals as exercising with weights breaks down muscle mass and during rest protein works to repair muscle damage and make it stronger. having said that those who do weight train - bodybuilders, strength athletes and who looking to tone up their muscle for weight loss - often only need to eat 0.75 to 1.5 grams of protein per kg of body weight.
Disadvantages of the High Protein Diet
Often eating meat, especially red meat, encouarges the consumption of fat as well as protein. Consuming more fat when dieting will have a detremental effect on weight loss as each gram of fat contains 9 calories, whereas both protein and carbohydrate only contain 4 calories per gram each.
High Protein Diets can also put a strain on your kidneys as any excess protein not being used by the body will often not be stored as body fat put instead will pass through the body as urine via the kidneys.
It has also been reported that a High Protein Diet may shrink the brain and boost the risk of developing Alzheimer's diesease. US researchers, including Sam Gandy, a leading expert on Alzheimer's disease, observed the effect of a variety of diets, including a high protein diet and a and low carb diet on the brains of mice. Mice on the high protein diet where observed to have lighter brains.
Interestingly, they did not have more plaques than the other animals.
It is thought that a high protein diet may make the brain more vulnerable to the poisonous effect of the plaques, speeding up cell death.
The researchers did however, suggest that further investigation and research was needed but that the study has offered more to the debate of how Alzheimer's disease develops.
High Protein Diet - The conclusion
A diet high in protein is not to be tried lightly. Reducing the amount of carbs eaten in the diet may leave many dieters feeling tired and lacking in energy. Carbohydrates are the foods easily digested by the body and it is the food stuff that the body readily uses for energy. Replacing the majority of carbs for more protein on the High protein Diet may leave you feeling fuller but a reduction in energy may find that you are less likely to exercise or undertake any physical activity which could leave you overly tired.
Reducing carbs also means that you may suffer from lacks in concentration as it is sugar (digested from carbs) that fuels the brain rather than protein or fats.
One possible solution could be to eat carbs earlier in the day (say at breakfast) to kick start the body and brain and then consume the majority of protein at lunch and at dinner time.
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