Are high protein diets effective? Are they safe? Ultimately, when it comes to protein, how much is too much?
About high protein diets
This type of diet became very popular recently due to the promotion of the Atkins Diet Craze. There are different types of low carb diets like Atkins, Paleo or the Zone – and many celebrities are endorsing these diets, especially for weight loss.
The high protein diet is very popular because there is no calorie counting involved, and many foods that many people love to eat are allowed on the diet.
The main idea of this diet is to reduce your carbohydrate intake, which prevents the body from producing as many insulin spikes, lessen hunger and control cravings. Insulin is the primary hormone that regulates blood sugar and fat storage.
What are the benefits of high protein diets?
Protein is an important nutrient for healthy weight loss.
Over the past 20 y, higher-protein diets have been touted as a successful strategy to prevent or treat obesity through improvements in body weight management. These improvements are thought to be due, in part, to modulations in energy metabolism, appetite, and energy intake.
Getting enough protein may support healthy metabolism and reduce your appetite, helping you feel fuller longer. It can also help you lose body fat without losing muscle.
Protein powders have been studied and shown to help with weight management and improved metabolism. These powders are popular among athletes and bodybuilders looking to add lean muscle mass.
What you need to eliminate or reduce
These high protein diets usually eliminate all carb-filled foods, including refined sugars and grains, which can cause an increase in blood glucose levels. These serve as empty calories in your diet, providing no nutrients yet many calories.
Eliminate all sugars and starches like pasta, potato chips, rice, fruit and juices. Subtract any foods made with flour or with corn flour or cornstarch.
What you can eat
When you’re choosing high-protein foods, be sure to select healthier options. The best high-protein plans focus on lean proteins and include some carbs.
These include grass-fed lean meats and pasture-raised poultry, grass-fed and organic dairy, eggs from pastured hens, wild fish, whole grains, legumes and nuts.
Last but not least, a quality protein supplement is another option to boost your protein intake, especially for vegetarians.
How you can supplement your protein intake
NOW® Sports Plant Protein Complex
NOW® Sports Plant Protein Complex is specifically designed to address your needs with a non-GMO vegan protein blend from pea, hemp and quinoa. Each scoop offers 22 grams of protein, about 3,900 mg of branched-chain amino acids and 1,800 mg of arginine.
NOW Sports Plant Protein Complex
Garden of Life Raw Organic Protein
Certified USDA Organic, this plant-based protein powder helps you refuel and repair muscles after a hard workout with 30g of complete protein and over 5g BCAA amino acids, glutamine and glutamic acid. Also NSF Certified for Sport and Informed Choice for Sport Certified.
Garden of Life Organic Vegan Sport Protein Powder, Chocolate
MyProtein US – Impact Whey Protein
MyProtein US Impact Whey is a perfect source of everyday protein with over 80% protein content and naturally occurring BCAAs to help build and repair new muscle. With essential amino acids including 4.5g of BCAAs and delicious flavors to help build and maintain muscle mass.
Are high protein diets effective?
Protein is essential for life – it’s a building block of every human cell. It is also important to preserve muscle mass and strength as we age or lose weight.
High-protein diets are very effective for losing weight, but they should not be used by everyone.
Studies have shown that the average person loses 2-3 pounds in the first week of their high protein diet. This is because they are cutting out carbs, which causes the body to dump water weight.
Can too much protein be harmful?
The short answer is yes – especially on the long term.
It’s important to understand the potential consequences of consuming too much animal protein — especially if you indulge in too much red meat or other animal products.
There can be too much of a good thing when it comes to food in general. Some sources claim that the average American diet already contains too much protein. For example, a high protein diet that contains lots of red meat and higher amounts of saturated fat might lead to a higher risk of heart disease and colon cancer, or of kidney stones.
However, a high protein diet rich in plant-based proteins may not carry similar risks. When you’re choosing high-protein foods, be sure to select healthier options. This can help lower your risk for some of the negative effects of a high-protein diet.
Ultimately, when it comes to protein, how much is too much?
Most people should aim for a maximum of 2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day, according to Medical New Today. That would be about 125 grams/day for a 140-pound person.
Busy people and athletes may be able to eat as much as 3.5 g of protein per kg of body weight without any side effects.
High-protein diets are effective for losing weight, but they should not be used by everyone. It’s important that you take the risks into consideration before starting a high-protein diet to determine whether or not it’s suitable for you. Always speak to your doctor before beginning any new diet, especially if you have any health conditions.
Try to avoid high-fat meats and dairy products as well as fried or processed protein sources, especially on the long term.
More Great Protein Supplements to Consider
Organic Plant-Based Protein Powder by Four Sigmatic
This nutritionally-dense superfood packed protein powder contains plant-based protein, functional mushrooms (reishi extract, turkey tail extract, cordyceps extract, chaga extract, and lion’s mane extract), plus adaptogens (Ashwagandha and eleuthero). This supplement blend provide a plethora of immune boosting, brain balancing, and stress support benefits.
Organic Plant-Based Protein Powder by Four Sigmatic
If you’re looking for a high-quality, rigorously tested protein powder, Momentous Essential Grass-Fed Whey Protein is at the top of our list. This product contains whey isolate, which contains 90% protein and little fat or lactose, making it easy to digest. Momentous also contains ProHydrolase, an enzyme blend designed to enhance digestion and absorption.
Momentous is both NSF Certified for Sport and Informed Sport Certified, so it has undergone third-party testing to ensure that it is not contaminated with any prohibited substances.
Momentous | Essential Grass-Fed Whey Protein Isolate