Recommended Strategies for Beginning a High Protein Diet
The primary reason given by those who decide to switch to a high protein diet is to lose weight while improving their overall health at the same time. Choosing a high protein diet helps dieters fight hunger, because foods high in protein produce a full feeling without overeating. Adding more protein to the diet is important to many Americans and their numbers are growing, according to a recent research study. Proteins are chains of amino acids that are found in many different foods. High protein diet foods are essential in the daily diet for preventing amino acid deficiencies. Because the body cannot store protein, it must be consumed every day in order to keep the body functioning properly. It is also important to spread out the consumption of high protein diet foods throughout the day to help curb the appetite, support the metabolism, and help control blood sugar levels.
Recommended Amount of High Protein Diet Foods
A condition known as Kwashiorkor can result from diets that are severely protein-deficient such as those in third world countries; however, it can occur when people fail to include foods containing amino acids in their daily diets. Consuming a wide variety of high protein food is important in maintaining optimal health. The USDA recommends a daily intake of protein for adults with average weight and activity level. Men should consume 56 grams of protein and women should aim for 45 grams per day. These are the recommended minimum protein amounts for healthy, moderately active individuals. Health professionals recommend multiplying an individual’s body weight by .5 to determine the ideal amount of grams of protein required each day.
Best Way to Consume Enough Protein
Ideally, approximately 30 percent of a dinner plate should contain some source of high-quality protein food. Eating this much protein at every meal provides much-needed protein for the day. An additional benefit for adhering to this formula is that protein foods create a fuller feeling, which helps prevent eating too many carbs and junk foods during the day. It is much better to spread out protein foods during the day rather than to eat a large amount at one or two meals. This prevents spikes in blood sugar levels, gives added support to metabolism, and helps stop between-meal snacking.
Good sources of protein are exceptionally nutrient-rich foods that are low in calories and contain very little saturated fat. These foods include salmon and almost any type of seafood. Salmon is very rich in omega-3. Lentils, beans, and soy are good non-animal sources of protein and provide much-needed fiber to the diet as well. Low-fat dairy products and eggs are very high in protein. Lean meats and almost all nuts and seeds are easy to incorporate in the diet. It is easy to add protein to a salad or breakfast cereal with the addition of walnuts, pecans, almonds, or walnuts. One of the keys to staying with a high-protein diet for the long-term is to vary the foods daily. This prevents boredom from eating the same foods constantly, which can lead to burnout quickly. It pays to know approximately how many grams of protein are in favorite foods. Cottage cheese contains almost 14 grams of protein per 1/2 cup, while only three ounces of tofu contains about 13 grams.
Low Protein Diet Risks
Vegetarians or vegans may suffer from low protein diets, because they rely completely on plant-based foods for all of their nutrients. Most plant foods do not supply the essential amino acids found in animal foods. Many problems can occur when an individual does not consume enough protein on a daily basis. Undesirable symptoms such as very low energy levels and extreme fatigue are common in people who do not consume enough protein-rich foods. Because protein foods increase metabolism, not consuming enough protein may inhibit weight loss. Mood swings and low immunity are symptomatic of low protein consumption. It is difficult to build body muscle mass without enough protein.
High Protein Diet Risks
A high protein diet that is undertaken for a short period is usually not harmful for a healthy person, but there are some exceptions. High protein diet risks increase for people with some chronic medical problems such as kidney disease. Too much protein has been known to interfere with normal kidney function. Too much protein can cause kidney stones. If a protein diet restricts carbohydrates, some nutritional deficiencies can occur. A diet that is high in protein and low in fiber can lead to chronic constipation problems. High protein consumption can contribute to high cholesterol if fatty meats are chosen. The high cholesterol risk is reduced by eating only lean meats to get the necessary amount of protein.
High Protein Diet Benefits
It is important at almost any stage of life to consume sufficient amounts of protein, which contains essential amino acids. Protein consumption provides the building blocks for the body’s bones and muscles. Individuals of all ages require high quality protein. Because the ability to process protein decreases with age, protein requirements should be increased. High protein diet benefits are numerous. Because protein is so satisfying, it reduces cravings that cause people to snack in between meals. A protein-heavy meal causes a full feeling that eliminates the need for desserts or after-meal snacks. Because high protein meals are so filling, the need to overeat at the next meal is eliminated. High protein foods contribute to faster weight loss. Early drastic weight loss is common with high protein diets, but will balance out over time with more gradual lasting loss. An unexpected benefit from a diet high in protein is an improvement in the skin and hair. It is also responsible for keeping the blood circulating properly. Stronger bones and muscles can be attributed to higher protein consumption.
A High Protein Diet is Affordable
A high protein diet does not require the purchasing of special foods. Most of the foods that are considered high protein are inexpensive and can be purchased at any grocery store. Because this diet relies on common foods most families consume on a regular basis, there is very little increase in the grocery bill. Inexpensive cuts of meats, along with fish and chicken are affordable on almost any budget. This allows families to eat a protein-rich diet that is essential for good health.