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Health and Fitness News

Pile on the Protein

What you need to know about high-protein diets.

What if you could lose weight while enjoying your favorite foods like hamburgers, bacon, cheese, and steak? It sounds like a dream, but this is what high-protein diets are all about. Popular diets such as The Zone, Atkins, and South Beach are all based on an eating plan that includes lots of protein and small amounts of carbs. Rather than closely following one of these diet plans, some people just increase the amount of protein and limit the number of carbs they consume in their effort to lose weight.

Is a high-protein diet something you should try? Possibly. Keep reading to learn the benefits, the possible risks, and the best foods to eat and avoid on a high-protein diet.

What Is Protein?

Protein is one of the three macronutrients, along with fat and carbs. Essential for health and wellness, protein is used in the body for a variety of purposes. In addition to playing a central role in building bones, muscles, hair, and skin, protein makes up the enzymes in your body that perform chemical reactions and the hormones that deliver messages between cells.

Why Protein Matters

You know protein is important, but does it promote weight loss? It does, and here’s how.

Foods high in protein cause you to feel full. They also digest slowly. This means you feel full longer, so you eat fewer calories overall.

As it’s being digested, protein increases your metabolic rate. As a result, you burn more calories during and after digestion. While calorie-restrictive diets often lead to muscle loss and therefore a slowed metabolism, eating high amounts of protein does the opposite. Protein consumption helps prevent muscle loss and even helps build muscle, keeping your metabolism elevated.

Possible Risks of Too Much Protein

Before you jump on the protein train, you should consider the possible risks. Consuming excessive protein for long periods of time is associated with certain health problems. When you eat a lot of animal protein, your body produces extra acids and toxins. This places additional stress on your kidneys as they filter the acid and toxins. With this in mind, if you have kidney problems or a history of kidney stones, avoid high-protein diets at all costs. However, even those with healthy kidneys should limit the amount of time they spend on such a diet, as a high-protein diet can lead to damage.

Protein overkill isn’t the only threat. Severely restricting carbs for a long period of time can also have a negative effect on health and nutrition, especially for kids and teens.

Protein Diet Know-How

The typical adult should consume at least 50 (women) or 60 (men) grams of protein each day. On a high-protein diet, you should aim to eat 25 to 30 grams of protein at each meal. To ensure you meet your goals, plan out your meals each week and to keep a food journal to track your progress.

What foods should you eat? Unless you’re vegan or vegetarian, aim to eat both plant and animal protein sources. Great sources of plant protein include lentils, beans, nuts, seeds, quinoa, sprouted grain bread, oats, and chickpeas. When it comes to animal protein, be picky. You’ll have more weight loss success and be kinder to your heart if you choose lean meats. This means avoiding fatty cuts of beef, processed meats, dark poultry meat, and high-fat dairy. Healthy sources of animal protein include chicken and turkey breasts, lean cuts of beef, shrimp, fish, eggs, and dairy products.

What foods should you avoid? To limit carbs and cut calories, eliminate highly processed foods and foods that contain refined sugar and refined grains.

About Training with Mr. America
About my programs: Mr. America Jason Kozma's Personal Training is a triple threat of body shaping weight workouts, precision fat-loss cardio and holistic nutrition using regular foods. Using his system, you can radically upgrade your fitness, health appearance and self-confidence. Clients routinely shed 20 pounds of body fat in eight weeks or less, increase their strength and flexibility, and achieve extreme cardiovascular fitness.

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