A high protein weight loss diet is defined by the percentage of calories that come from protein. In a balanced diet that does not focus on protein, typically 10% to 15% of calories come from protein. In diets that focus on the amount of protein, this percentage can rise to as much as 30-35%.
By restricting carbohydrates a high protein diet can cause what is known as “ketosis”. Ketosis is what happens when the body begins to burn its own stored fat for energy. This will cause weight loss but ketosis can also cause headaches, nausea, irritability in mood, and other problems.
Despite these potential problems, high protein diets are a constant favorite for a couple of reasons:
- They promote relatively quick weight loss
- The high amounts of protein eaten help dieters to feel full for a longer time
Unfortunately, because the weight lost during the diet is somewhat unnatural, the loss is frequently regained shortly after the diet ends.
Other drawbacks to a high protein diet are that they exclude desirable foods such as fruits and vegetables which provide a great many of the nutrients the body needs to function properly. Even if this type of diet is followed for only short periods, this lack of fruit and vegetable nutrition can be harmful to your overall health.
As of this writing, the long term effects of these high protein weight loss diets have not been studied so their long term heath effects are not known. If you do chose to engage in a high protein diet experts do agree that you should do so in moderation and keep a balance in your diet to ensure you get all the proper nutrients your body requires.
Here is a brief list of foods that are higher in protein and have other nutritional value as well:
- Seafood, especially salmon because of its omega-3 content and marginally higher fat content
- Skinless, white meat poultry. The dark meat and the skin both have high fat contents
- Dairy products. Use low-fat or skim dairy to cut down on calories and still get the valuable calcium
- Eggs. They are the least expensive source of protein
- Beans. A half cup of beans has as much protein as 3 ounces of steak with much more dietary fiber
- Pork Tenderloin. The “other white meat”. Today’s product is much leaner than it was several years ago
- Beef, lean. Just a little bit more saturated fat than a chicken breast and more zinc, B12, and iron
Other sources of protein can be the meal replacement drinks, cereal bars, and energy bars. Just be sure to check the label to be certain you are going to get a minimum of six grams of protein and also has reduced sugar and fat content.
Regardless of the diet you chose to begin you must be certain that you continue to get all the nutrients that your body requires for proper operation. A good way to do that is to add a dietary supplement to your daily meal plan and the best supplement available today is chia seed.
Chia is a concentrated source of many nutrients including Calcium, Potassium, Selenium, Magnesium, antioxidants, and Iron. Chia is also very high in complex carbohydrates, dietary fiber, and omega-3 fatty acids.
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