High protein diets are often used by bodybuilders and those on weight loss programmes to aid their weight loss and make them feel fuller for longer. So what is protein, what are the various merits of the high protein diet and how can it help you to lose weight healthily and sustainably?
Protein is the substance that helps our body to repair and grow its cells. Contrary to popular belief, this doesn’t refer exclusively to muscle tissue but rather to all cells in general. Protein is also vital to keeping our hair and nails in good shape, suggesting it has far more uses than we may have previously thought. Looking for protein isn’t likely to take long, since it is found readily in all animal products such as meat and eggs. You may have a little more trouble if you’re a vegetarian but many nuts, beans and vegetable have sufficient protein for your needs.
Protein is a very filling substance and sends signals to your brain telling you that you’re full. This will help you to stop overeating and to feel satisfied after having eaten less. There’s nothing worse than feeling a little hungry a few minutes after finishing your lunch. High protein diets can help to prevent this by filling your stomach with food for longer. Your body will use 25% of the energy contained in protein to digest what you have eaten and thus you will consume fewer calories in real terms.
High protein diets contain lots of fibre which raises your metabolism and moves waste through your bowels more efficiently. Fibre also removes toxins from your system which are partly responsible for extra weight gain.
Protein is the building block for muscle and muscle is what burns the fat. If you eat a diet that’s high in protein then you will put on muscle, providing you are exercising too. This will help you to raise your basic metabolic rate whilst improving your body tone. Bigger muscles will burn more fat and doing this will help you to keep the weight off for good. It is a common scenario to see somebody lose weight and then put it back on again, as if they had just returned from zero-gravity space.
Whilst a high protein diet will have all of the above advantages, you mustn’t go over the top since this will be of no use to anybody. Those who are building muscle are recommended to consume at least one gram of protein per pound of bodyweight. Your body has no way of storing excess protein and it will all go down with the rest of your waste produce if your body cannot use it.
High protein diets are very useful for building muscles and losing weight. Protein makes you feel fuller for longer and contains a lot of fibre for removing waste products. Just be careful not to consume too much of this macronutrient though and always give equal consideration to the other food groups as these are all equally as important.