Heard a lot about the high-protein diets, haven’t you? Friends, fitness gurus, actors, and even Google say that it is the best for weight loss. Why not? Proteins take longer to digest than carbs, so it keeps you full for longer, helps burn calories during protein digestion and metabolism, builds lean muscle, and most importantly, proteins keep your taste buds alive. But can a high-protein diet really help you lose weight? What are the factors that stimulate weight loss in people on a high-protein diet? How much protein is good for weight loss? Don’t worry, you will find all the answers here. But first, take a look at the facts and science behind the success of the high-protein diet.
High Protein Diet For Weight Loss Facts
- Weight loss is tricky, and it depends on many factors such as age, current weight, genes, medical history, current medication, stress levels, and lifestyle. But the high-protein diet seems to work for most people who want to shed fat. Now, let’s get one thing clear—fat and weight are different. And your target should be to lose fat and not weight. Because muscles are mostly proteins and the more protein you consume, the more lean muscle you will build. Of course, when you shed fat your weight will reduce, but if you eat a high protein diet, you will gain lean muscle mass.
- Experts recommend consumption of 0.5 – 1.0 g protein per pound of your weight per day. So, if you weigh 120 pounds, you should consume anywhere between 60 – 120 g protein per day. If you are not very active but want to lose weight, you should consume about 60 – 80 g protein per day. However, if you are an active person you can consume 80-120 g protein per day.
- Protein is high calorie and therefore counting calories doesn’t really work for a high-protein diet. All you should keep in mind is that about 35% of calories should come from proteins and the rest from complex carbs and healthy fats.
- The most popular high-protein, low-carb diets are Paleo diet, Dukan diet, South Beach diet, Atkins diet, and The Zone diet.
- A high-protein diet should be followed for a month or two. Constantly being on a high-protein diet without being active can lead to arthritis, gout, etc.
- Being active is the key. If you are not active, the proteins will get converted to glucose and glucose will get converted to fat. So, instead of losing weight, you will gain weight.
Now, let’s find out why a high-protein diet works for people who want to lose weight, in the next section.
How High-Protein Diet Aids Weight Loss
- A high protein diet helps reduce hunger by upregulating satiety hormones cholecystokinin, GLP – 1, and peptide YY and by downregulating the hunger hormone, ghrelin (1) (2) (3). Therefore, after a high-protein meal, you will feel fuller and will be able to keep your hunger pangs at bay. This, in turn, will keep a check on your calorie consumption ultimately leading to weight loss.
- When you lose weight, you lose both fat and muscle. This can lead to a slower metabolism. Since muscles are made of protein, eating a high-protein diet will prevent muscle loss and help boost your metabolic rate.
- When you consume food, you need to digest it and metabolize it to use it as an energy source or store it for later use. Now, you need calories to fuel the digestion and to metabolize the food that you consumed. This is known as the Thermic Effect of Food (TEF). Proteins have a higher thermic effect (~30%) as compared to fats (~3%) and carbs (~10%). So if you consume 10 calories of protein, 3 calories will be used up to digest and metabolize the protein and only 7 calories of protein will be left to be used. This way, you will be able to reduce the calorie load, which will help you lose weight.
- The high Thermic Effect of protein can also help you burn calories while you are resting or sleeping.
Now that you know the science behind the high-protein diet for weight loss, let’s find out what are the sources of protein that you can include in your diet.
10 Vegetarian Sources Of Protein
If you are not a meat eater, you can rely on these sources of protein to shed the fat.
1. Beans & Legumes
Beans and legumes are an excellent source of protein. Foods such as kidney beans, black-eyed peas, green peas, lima beans, lentils, black beans, edamame, etc. can provide your body with the required amount of protein, iron, dietary fiber, soybeans, and calcium. Here’s how much protein you can get from a cup of these beans and legumes:
- Soybeans – 28.6 g
- Lentils – 17.9 g
- Winged beans – 18.3 g
- Mung beans – 14.2 g
- Split peas – 16.3 g
- White beans – 17.4 g
- Fava beans – 12.9 g
- Kidney beans – 15.3 g
- Black beans – 15.2 g
- Lima beans – 14.7 g
- Black eyed peas – 13.2 g
- Pinto beans – 15.4 g
- Chickpeas – 14.5 g
- Edamame – 17 g
How To Consume Beans & Legumes
You can boil them and add it to a salad or make soup for dinner with lots of other veggies. You can also add lentils to your favorite vegetable broth and have it with multigrain flatbread. You can consume about 2-3 servings of beans and legumes per day.
2. Nuts & Seeds
When it comes to protein content, nuts & seeds like almonds, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, peanuts etc. are a rich source of protein, magnesium, selenium, copper, zinc, healthy fats, and dietary fiber. They help reduce inflammation, suppress appetite, and provide energy. Here’s how much protein you can get from one ounce of these nuts and seeds:
- Walnut – 4.3 g
- Almonds – 6 g
- Peanuts – 7 g
- Flax seeds – 5 g
- Pumpkin seeds – 5 g
- Chia seeds – 4.7 g
- Macadamia nuts – 2.2 g
- Pine nuts – 3.9 g
- Pistachios – 6 g
How To Consume Nuts & Seeds
Soak the nuts in water overnight. Have them in the morning with breakfast. You can also have pistachios as a snack in the afternoon or evening. Add chia seeds or ground flaxseeds to your smoothie. Pumpkin seeds can be roasted and added to soups and casseroles.
3. Whey Protein
This milk-based protein has many health benefits. Whey breaks down incredibly fast and is rich in BCAAs (Branched Chain Amino Acids), which are essential for increasing your muscle mass and improving blood flow. It is available in many flavors like chocolate, strawberry, and vanilla.
How To Consume Nuts & Seeds
Have a glass of whey protein mixed in milk 1 hour before workout or 1 hour after workout.
4. Tofu & Tempeh
Tofu is an ideal alternative to meat. You can obtain 11gm of protein from 150gm of tofu in addition to magnesium and iron. Tempeh, a chewier version of tofu, contains 15gm of protein in half a cup of serving.
How To Consume Tofu & Tempeh
You can grill or saute tofu or tempeh and add it to your salad or sandwich for lunch. You can also make tofu kebabs or grate it and mix it with spinach, tomato, and avocado to make tofu or tempeh tacos.
Mushrooms are delicious and a high-protein source. 100 g mushroom contains 3 g protein. It can be an easy substitute for chicken or turkey. Be careful not to consume mushrooms that are poisonous. You should also avoid consuming mushroom if you are allergic to it.
How To Consume Mushroom
You can have mushroom omelet for breakfast, mushroom sandwich for lunch or mushroom soup for dinner. Grilled mushroom with veggies is also a perfect option for dinner.
6. Peanut Butter
Yummy peanut butter is also a superb source of protein. Peanuts contain proteins, vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats and therefore peanut butter is also nutrient rich. 2 tablespoons of peanut butter contains 8 g protein. Here’s how you can consume peanut butter:
How To Consume Peanut Butter
Spread peanut butter on bread or on a cracker. You can also add peanut butter to your cake or pancake batter. Mix peanut butter with yogurt and honey, add some seasonal fruits to it for a filling breakfast.
7. Soy Milk
Soy milk is the perfect option for those opting for non-dairy milk. The product is rich in protein at about 7gm per serving. Since vegetarians are advised to have 2-3 servings of protein a day, soy milk and other soy products will easily fulfill your daily requirements. Soy milk also provides potassium.
How To Consume Soy Milk
You can have soy milk for breakfast, add breakfast cereal to it, can prepare oatmeal or smoothies with it, and may add it to your pancake, waffle, or cake batter. You can also have a cup of chilled soy milk as an evening snack.
Hummus is a dip made of mashed chickpeas mixed with tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, and beans. One tablespoon hummus contains 1.2 g protein. It is also a great source of manganese, zinc, iron, calcium, vitamins K and E, folate, and thiamin, 20 essential amino acids and omega-3-fatty acids.
How To Consume Hummus
Have hummus with grilled veggies or with celery, baby carrots, cucumbers etc. as a snack.
100 g spinach contains 2.9 g protein. So, now you know why Popeye’s muscles would become stronger as soon as he gulped down a can of spinach! It is also an excellent source of vitamins A, C, and K, folate, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, omega-3-fatty acids, and dietary fiber.
How To Consume Spinach
You can consume blanched spinach or have spinach smoothie for breakfast. Toss baby spinach with cherry tomatoes, feta cheese, olive oil, salt and pepper for a delicious lunch.
Spirulina is a blue-green alga which is highly nutritious and a very good source of protein. 1 tablespoon of spirulina contains 4 g protein. It is available in tablet or powdered form and is one of the best natural supplements for weight loss.
How To Consume Spinach
Add spirulina powder to your morning juice or smoothie, or lunch salad, or in grilled veggies and lentil soup for dinner. You can also have 1 tablet of spirulina per day. Consult your doctor before consuming spirulina. Avoid spirulina if you are allergic to seafood.
Proteins From Non-Vegetarian Sources
The popular Indian adage, ‘Sunday or Monday, eat eggs every day’, is quite true. Plain egg whites or even whole eggs help you gain muscle mass and improve your strength. A Texas A&M University study concludes that consuming 2-3 eggs daily helps you double your muscle mass in three months.
Red meat isn’t really all that popular. It is crammed with saturated fat and cholesterol and is anything but heart-healthy. However, if you are looking for an effective high protein diet for muscle building, then beef is the ideal food for you. The demonized saturated fat and cholesterol help boost your testosterone levels and increase your strength and muscle mass in the process.
3. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids help cure inflammation, boost immunity and also help prevent the onset of certain types of cancer. They are also quite essential for many body functions and help you gain muscle due to the presence of essential amino acids. You can consume nuts like camu camu, as these contain all the eight amino acids.
Oily fish like Salmon, Tuna, Mackerel and Sardines are also crammed with omega-3 fatty acids. If you are a vegetarian, you can get your dose of omega-3s from most kinds of nuts, like flaxseed and pili nuts, which are excellent sources of vegetable protein.
27 Best High Protein Diet Recipes For Weight Loss
Let us now take a look at some delicious high protein diet recipes for weight loss.
1. Cheesy Scrambled Eggs
Any high protein diet, and any day will have to begin with eggs. It doesn’t take long to prepare this recipe, and the calcium from the cheese is better absorbed because of the vitamin D. As a bonus, eggs are low in carbohydrates.
- Unsalted butter, 2 spoons
- Diced onion
- 10 beaten eggs
- Quarter spoon salt
- Half spoon ground pepper
- Goat cheese
- Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat.
- Add onion, cook for 5 minutes. Pour egg, mix and stir.
- Add pepper, stir, allow to cook, stir some more.
- Add goat cheese in the end, and serve hot.
2. Chicken Casserole
Chicken is an excellent protein source, and casseroles are a family favorite. It offers about 35gm of protein, and one can never get bored of this recipe. It is inexpensive and takes 30 minutes to prepare it at home, allowing you to use healthy products during the cooking process (14). Casseroles have plenty of vegetables that add fiber and nutrients to your diet as well.
- Diced 12 oz cooked chicken breast
- 2 spoons unsalted butter
- 2 spoons all-purpose flour
- Pinch of white pepper
- Skim milk
- 7 oz penne pasta
- 1 spoon grated parmesan cheese
- 2 chopped orange bell peppers
- 1 chopped zucchini
- 2 heads chopped broccoli
- Little amount of cheese and Italian seasoning
- Add butter to a preheated sauce pot.
- Once it foams, add milk, and stir until it bubbles.
- Let it simmer for 10 minutes on low flame.
- Now add Italian seasoning, parmesan cheese, and pepper.
- Cook pasta according to directions on the package, but add broccoli.
- Later drain the same and then combine it with veggies and chicken.
- After covering the pasta with sauce, place it in a baking dish, sprinkle it with cheese, cover with foil and bake until cheese is melted.
3. Lentil Salad
Lentils are one of the best sources of plant protein on the planet. They are not just protein-packed but are also super easy to be turned into yummy salads.
Lentils may not be the world’s tastiest foods, so you can ‘taste-them-up’ by adding veggies and fruits. You can add lentils to avocados, sources of good quality fats, raw nuts, seeds, and lots of vegetables like beans, and you have a tasty, healthy snack for you to enjoy!
4. Cauliflower Soup
Who would believe that this modest, off-white vegetable can be super healthy and packed with the building blocks of our bodies! Consider this – 1 cup cooked cauliflower equals 28 gm of protein. A healthy way to eat cauliflower is to add other protein and mineral rich veggies and make a soup. Not only will you get loads of proteins that way, but you will also be consuming abundant nutrients for keeping you protected against cardiovascular diseases and cancer.
Cauliflower also contains carotenoids and omega-3 fatty acids that reduce inflammation in the body and decrease the risk of heart disease.
5. Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
These small, orange seeds pack in 7gm protein per 1oz. and are great for you. Because of their high protein content, pumpkin seeds are an excellent pre-workout snack. They make an exemplary grab-and-go snack after they are washed, dried and roasted. They are also great as a topping for salads and soups.
A word of caution – All nuts and seeds, including pumpkin seeds, are high in calories and fat. Hence, make sure not to overindulge in them. Remember, you don’t want to pile on fat while consuming more protein, do you?
6. Tofu Tacos
This easy-to-make recipe is delicious and has 17g proteins per serving. You can store tofu filling for up to 2 days and make tasty tacos anytime you desire.
- 1 pack Tofu
- 2 tsp onion powder
- ¼ cup whole wheat flour
- ¼ cup yeast
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ¼ tsp turmeric
- 2 tbsp liquid Aminos
- 8 Corn tortillas
Here Is How To Prepare
- Drain tofu and crumble into a bowl.
- Add flour, onion powder, garlic powder, yeast, and turmeric. Stir well and add liquid Aminos.
- Heat a nonstick pan and pour tofu mixture. Cook until it turns brown.
- Serve with tortillas, salsa, or any other topping.
7. Oatmeal Cookies
They are moist with a dash of good flavor. You can add raisins or nuts as you desire. You can also use applesauce to replace butter.
- 4 cups oats
- Half cup egg white
- 3 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 8 tsp vanilla Whey-HD protein powder
- 2 tsp olive oil
- ½ cup grated coconut and almonds, each
- 2 tbsp cinnamon
Here Is How To Prepare
- Take all the ingredients and mix well.
- Take one tbsp measurement for each cookie.
- In preheated oven, bake for approx. 20 minutes.
8. Blueberry Quinoa Parfait
This will give a sweet start to your day with 25 grams of proteins and lots of good carbs. You can use blueberries to make this creamy breakfast.
- 1 cup cooked quinoa
- 2 cup yogurt
- ¼ tsp vanilla extract
- One cup blueberries
- 1/8 tsp cinnamon
Here Is How To Prepare
- Keep quinoa in the fridge for chilling.
- Make a parfait by a layering of yogurt, quinoa, blueberries, and chopped walnuts.
9. Hard-Boiled Eggs
Eggs, especially the yolk, is loaded with nutrients and proteins. This makes eggs one of the best and most inexpensive sources of protein. All you have to do is hard boil an egg, slice it, and place it on a slice of whole-wheat bread for a healthy snack on the go.
10. Peanut Butter And Jelly Sandwich
Peanuts have many other benefits due to the presence of a substance called Co-Enzyme Q10, which protects the heart when the oxygen supply becomes low. It also contains Resveratrol, (15), which is a chemical that improves blood flow to the brain and lowers your LDL or bad cholesterol. This is one of the best high protein snacks for kids.
11. Mung Bean Sprouts Salad
Most beans, including the humble Mung bean, are excellent sources of protein. 1 cup of Mung bean contains 3.16 gm of proteins; it is also low in calories and is super healthy as Lecithin lowers blood cholesterol levels and reduces liver fat. You can add other sprouts to the mung bean sprouts and enjoy a healthy mid-morning snack.
12. Egg White Frittata
This downy frittata with Mediterranean inputs is low in calories and high in proteins. It offers 21.6 g protein in each serving.
- 8 egg whites
- 2tbsp olive oil
- 1 green and red pepper, each chopped
- ½ cup feta cheese
- ¼ yellow onion
- 2 cups spinach, fresh and washed
- Salt and black pepper, 1tsp each
Here Is How To Prepare
- In a heated pan, sauté onion, pepper for a few minutes until they soften.
- Add salt and pepper.
- Add egg whites and cook for 5 minutes.
- Pour feta cheese and spinach.
- Bake uncovered for 10 min. in a preheated oven.
13. Apple Walnut Oatmeal
This healthy and tasty recipe with loads of nutrients is simple and fast to prepare. It offers 24 grams of protein in one serving. Enough for a day, isn’t it?
- ¾ cup dry oatmeal
- ¼ cup skim milk/ low-fat milk
- ¼ cup chopped walnuts
- 1 cup chopped apple
- 1/8 tsp cinnamon
Here Is How To Prepare
- Cook oatmeal with milk.
- Add chopped walnuts and apple.
- Pour cinnamon and a little honey for sweetening.
14. Spinach Stir Fry
Spinach is the king of greens. This vegetable is excellent as an ingredient in both stir fries and salads. 1 cup of cooked spinach packs in 5.35 gm of protein. And since it is rich in flavonoids and possesses anti-cancer properties, spinach is good for your skin, eyes, bones, and the brain!
15. Spinach And Egg Wrap
A wrap helps you carry your food on the go, making it a healthy snack choice after breakfast. This wrap has more than 20gm of protein. The recipe packs several vitamins (16) and minerals and also lowers cholesterol, improving heart function.
- Chopped baby spinach
- 4 eggs
- Required salt and pepper
- 1 avocado
- Hot sauce
- Whole wheat tortillas
- Add spinach to a non-stick skillet and cook over medium heat.
- After 2 minutes, add the beaten eggs and allow to cook while stirring.
- Place the mixture in the tortillas, season with pepper and salt, top with avocado and fold burrito style.
16. Turkey Meatloaf
A lean serving of turkey meat is a great choice for a high protein diet. Consumption of just 150 calories of low-fat turkey offers you a comfortable 25gm of protein. Again, eating out may seem convenient, but the varieties could contain hidden unhealthy factors (17). Have flavorful turkey meatloaf at home, served with steamed vegetables and green beans.
- One and a half pounds ground turkey
- Chopped onion
- Minced garlic
- 2 spoons butter
- 1 egg
- Half cup of bread crumbs
- 2 spoons Worcestershire sauce
- Salt and black pepper
- In a skillet, melt butter and then cook onion and garlic while stirring.
- Let it cool.
- Combine bread crumbs, turkey, egg, sauce, onion, catsup, salt, and pepper.
- Spread remaining catsup on top and bake for 55 minutes.
17. Caesar Salad With Shrimp
The classic Caesar salad can be spruced up to add more protein. Not only does it add more flavor, but shrimp also contains 20gm of protein per 100gm. That makes it an excellent source of dietary protein. Now, you’re armed with more muscle as well as a better heart.
- 1 pound shelled medium shrimp
- 1 loaf bread
- 2 cloves chopped garlic
- 4 spoons lemon juice
- Half cup grated parmesan
- Dijon mustard
- Anchovy paste
- Ground black pepper
- Diced lettuce
- 2 cups halved cherry tomatoes
- Spread oiled bread on a baking sheet and place in a preheated oven.
- Bake until crispy brown on the outside.
- Meanwhile, put garlic, lemon juice, anchovy paste, parmesan, salt, pepper and mustard and blend until smooth.
- Slowly add oil to the mixture while whisking.
- Add a little oil, salt, and pepper to shrimp and boil it for 4 minutes.
- Combine the tomatoes, lettuce, croutons, and shrimp in a large bowl and finally, add the dressing.
18. Fish Steak With Onions
Grilled fish is a tasty way to add more proteins to the diet along with the beneficial omega-3 fatty acids. Fish steak with onions and other veggies will help build muscles and improves heart and brain functions. This recipe could literally be named brain food (18). Grill-friendly vegetables can be paired with fish such as cod steaks, tilefish or grouper.
- Thinly sliced medium onions
- Olive oil
- Bay leaf
- Half cup chicken broth or white wine
- 2 tuna steaks.
- Cook onions in large skillet over medium heat.
- When they turn golden brown, add wine, bay leaf, and peppercorns.
- Bring to boil, reduce flame, let simmer for 15 minutes over low flame.
- Move onions to the side, cook tuna in the oil until they become brown on both sides.
- Cook for few minutes until the fish flakes easily, then serve with the onions.
19. Cereal And Granola
Wheat-based cereals are good sources of protein as well. They contain an average of 3 to 6 gm of protein per cup. 1 cup of cereal eaten dry or with 1/2 cup of milk will serve you as a protein-rich snack at any time of the day. If you want more proteins, you can have 1/2 cup of granola containing 4 gm of protein as a protein-rich snack.
20. Wheat Free Pancakes
Your breakfast cravings will become more fun with this high protein Indian breakfast. These hot pancakes are low in carb, high in fiber and proteins providing 6 grams of proteins per serving.
- 3 cup of almond meal
- 1 tbsp flax seeds (ground)
- ½ tsp salt and baking soda, each
- 3 eggs
- ¾ cup unsweetened coconut milk/almond milk
- 2 tbsp olive oil/ coconut oil/ melted butter
Here Is How To Prepare
- Mix almond meal, salt, flax seeds, and baking soda in a bowl.
- Whisk eggs with milk and oil/butter.
- Add flour mixture to egg and whisk thoroughly to have a proper consistency for pancakes.
- Heat oiled skillet on medium flame. Pour batter into it.
- Cook for three minutes and flip to ensure even cooking.
- Serve these delicious pancakes with Greek yogurt or maple syrup to add sweetness.
21. Cheesy Egg Sandwich
This healthy sandwich is delicious that you will love it every day. It offers you 40% more proteins at 25 grams as compared to any other sandwich.
- 1 egg
- 1 whole wheat English muffin
- ½ cup low-fat cheese
Here Is How To Prepare
- Boil the egg and toast the muffin.
- Cover the top of muffin with cheese.
- Top with sliced egg and your protein rich breakfast is ready!
22. Mediterranean Sandwich
With lots of Mediterranean flavors, this sandwich will suffice your protein requirement by offering 22 grams per serving.
- Whole wheat Pita bread
- 4 tbsp Hummus
- Tomato slices
- 1 ounce goat cheese
- ¼ cup sliced almonds
Here Is How To Prepare
- Take the slice of Pita bread and layer with hummus.
- Top it with tomato slices, cheese, and almonds.
- Serve it fresh.
23. Beef Or Turkey Jerky
This snack is full of protein and is super tasty. Just 1 serving gives you 9 gm of protein. Just make sure that you choose a low-sodium and preservative-free variety of jerky.
24. Cottage Cheese And Grapes
Cottage cheese is a good option for protein. You can add cinnamon and grapes to cottage cheese for an easy-to-make high protein snack. Cheese on its own is a good source of protein and can be packed in your lunch box for a good snack. Just ensure you choose a low-fat and hard cheese, like the mozzarella string cheese for making the snack. We also recommend cottage cheese as it is also an excellent source of protein. Just half a cup of cottage cheese has as much as 14 gm of protein.
25. Tofu Sticks
Tofu is a great source of proteins and an excellent alternative for vegetarians. Low in fat and high in isoflavones, tofu has many health benefits, particularly for women.
What makes tofu even more appealing is that it can be cooked in different ways. This soybean-based protein snack called Tofu isn’t just for making stir-fry; it can also be sliced into sticks and baked to make tofu sticks, a high–protein snack. If you want to spice tofu sticks up, all you have to do is serve them with spicy teriyaki sauce.
26. Chia Crunch
Chia seeds are enriched with Omega 3 fatty acids, fibers, and proteins. This super food is a definite entrée to the breakfast recipes with 22 grams protein in each serving.
- 1/3 cup cooked quinoa
- ¾ cup Greek yogurt
- 2 tsp Chia seeds
Here Is How To Prepare
This simple recipe requires you to mix all these ingredients and relish its mouthwatering taste.
27. Paleo Breakfast Bowl
This low-carb breakfast is perfect for Paleo dieters. It has omega-3 fatty acids and 22.7 g of proteins to energize your mornings.
- 2 eggs
- 2 ounce smoked salmon
- ½ cup arugula
- ¼ cup avocado
- Ground pepper and fresh lemon juice
- 1 tsp ghee
Here Is How To Prepare
- Heat ghee in a non-stick pan and add scrambled eggs.
- Pour other ingredients in a bowl. Sprinkle lemon juice and pepper.
- Slide cooked eggs into this bowl and enjoy your hearty breakfast!
Side Effects Of High Protein Diet
1. Kidney Stones
Protein-rich diets are proven to cause kidney stones and various other kidney problems. The kidneys filter proteins, which puts the organs under immense stress when on a high-protein diet. The effect of high-protein diet on kidney function is severe in the long run. Those with renal abnormalities were observed to have faster deterioration in kidney function if a protein rich diet was taken.
According to researchers, protein from animal sources is more harmful than the same from plant sources. This is because animal protein contains purines, which indirectly lead to the formation of kidney stones.
2. Makes Blood More Acidic
Too much protein in the diet forces the body to derive its fuel by breaking down proteins and fats. Hence, ketones are produced, as certain parts of the body like the brain cannot use fats as fuel. Now, there are certain internal mechanisms to control ketone production, but a high protein diet results in ketoacidosis. It is a condition that ultimately leads to kidney damage and even death.
In the short term, it makes the blood too acidic and results in bad breath.
Excess protein has an adverse effect on the intestines. Restricting yourself from eating any food group directly removes the benefits of the said group. Here, a high-protein diet restricts you from having enough fiber. This causes major constipation issues along with other intestinal irritations.
4. Heart Diseases
A typical protein-rich diet is high in bad cholesterol and saturated fat as most of this diet features meat sources. This contributes to the development of high LDL cholesterol levels in the cardiovascular system. Perhaps one might have minimized their carbohydrate intake, still the fat percentage in their body is at an all-time high. Anyone on a protein rich diet is placing their heart at risk.
5. Nutritional Deficiencies
With an absolute focus on a high-protein diet, or maybe love for a certain type of food, you might have been missing out on eating many vitamin-filled foods. It is important to know that our body needs glucose and other nutrients to generate high performance. This holds particularly true for bodybuilders, whose efforts to create muscle sometimes makes them ignore the importance of a strong immune system.
Research says enough proteins, along with glucose, fatty acids, and vitamins, are absolutely essential for wound healing.
6. Aggravates Neuropathy
High protein diets play a role in worsening diabetes. Few of the symptoms of diabetes include cardiovascular disease, renal impairment, and diabetic neuropathy. Diabetics on a diet that induces ketoacidosis are at a risk of aggravating their existing symptoms.
Is High Protein Diet Safe For Liver?
- Liver And Its Function
The liver has one of the most important functions in the human body as a nutrient supplier and detoxifier. Everything we consume and absorb is processed by the liver and converted into components that our body can use. These metabolic processes, where carbohydrates, fats, proteins, and minerals are broken down, maintain normal body functions. The organ also detoxifies and excretes many metabolic waste products.
- Nutrition For Liver
To keep the liver functioning well, a normal adult requires an intake of all the necessary food groups that include fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. The liver stores sugar as glycogen and releases it for energy between meals. This keeps the blood sugar steady at all times, preventing hypoglycemia.
The liver also produces bile, which digests fats. Proteins reach the liver in the form of amino acids, where they are stored. Later they are either released for muscular use or converted to urea and excreted. All adults require 1-1.2gm of protein per kg body weight every day. Anything less would cause a deficiency of several necessary amino acids.
- High Protein In Liver
As long as a person eats a balanced diet, a high protein diet does not seem to have extremely adverse effects on the liver. However, problems arise when other important nutrients are missed from the diet over the long term. A lack of carbohydrates and sugars in the body would lead to a breakdown of energy from protein. As its primary function, it is found to place a strain on the liver in addition to building up toxic substances in the blood. This process would also lead to muscle wasting.
- Impaired Liver Function
While high protein content in a healthy individual’s diet is not harmful to the liver, the same cannot be said for an impaired liver. Liver disease has many causes; some of them being alcohol, diabetes, obesity, viruses and a high-fat diet. Cirrhosis of the liver is represented by severe long-term liver damage, where the cells are permanently replaced with scar tissue. Initial treatment for extensive liver dysfunction includes diet changes. Notably, physicians advise reducing the intake of a high-protein diet for liver disease.
- High Protein And Impaired Liver
Individuals with impaired liver function can’t metabolize what they eat, leading to nutritional deficiencies. The liver is also unable to excrete waste metabolites, which causes toxic build-up. Hence, it would seem their protein demands have doubled. Experts agree that a protein rich diet aids in the regeneration of healthy liver tissue. It helps to maintain muscles and other tissues that ensure normal functioning of the body. Yet, in extreme cases, doctors advise patients to decrease the amount of protein in their diet, taking small portions at regular intervals.
- Protein Intolerance
Certain patients with cirrhosis become too malnourished from excessive renal impairment. A high protein diet for liver cirrhosis must contain more than 2,500 calories to help rebuild the liver. Contrarily, some patients are prone to protein intolerance and need a specific quantity. Too much protein could also harm the liver as it might raise ammonia content in the blood.
- Protein Intake In Liver Disorders
Those with hepatic encephalopathy have impaired blood flow in the liver. As a result, toxins in the blood return to the circulation and enter the brain. These patients are advised 40gm protein a day. Cholestasis, where the liver cannot excrete bile, leads to fat malabsorption. Patients are advised to have fat soluble vitamins.
Now that you have understood how high protein in liver works, having a diet rich in protein shouldn’t be a deterrent to any muscle building goals. However, those on a fatty diet or suffering from diabetes and hepatic conditions should think twice about opting for such a diet.
Does High Protein Diet Lead To Cancer?
- High Protein Diet And Cancer Risk
Does high protein diet cause cancer? Cancer and related conditions have many causes. One could wonder then, how a healthy protein is a cause for concern. Proteins are essential to the body. However, too much protein from a high protein diet makes the body behave differently. Besides being converted to sugars and fat, the excess sugar has an influence on the levels of IGF-I, a growth hormone. The hormone encourages the growth of cancer cells as well as healthy cells (30). Every 10 nanograms per milliliter rise in the growth factor enhances cancer risk in high protein diet takers.
- How Much Is Safe?
A human body has changing requirements depending on the age. Proteins are required for the body’s muscles, bones, and other functions. You must obtain at least 10% and less than 35% of your daily calories from proteins. Adult men and women need 56 and 46 grams of proteins a day respectively. Teenagers need around 50 grams and younger kids 19-34 grams of protein a day. A diet comprising 20% of daily calories from proteins is considered a ‘high protein’ diet.
- Protein As A Carcinogen
Experts advise you to think about where you’re sourcing the protein from. All animal sources of protein are potentially cancer causing. Alternately, plant sources of protein were observed to decrease the risk of cancer.
Most meat eaters have a tendency to eat significantly more than the required dose of protein in their diet. Their risk of contracting cancer is consequently higher, decreasing their lifespan. According to researchers, a simple reduction in protein intake, rather than a reduction in calorie intake, was found to improve health outcomes considerably.
- The Age Quandary
The fact whether a high protein is good or bad for middle-aged people is under constant debate. This is because, as a person ages, they lose lean muscle mass. To build and maintain it, a high protein diet is more useful than detrimental. In such cases, can a risk for cancer be overlooked? Not necessarily, as improper intake of protein can lead to deficiencies. Experts suggest 0.36 grams of protein per pound of body weight each day, comprising exclusively of plant-based proteins. Those above 50 years of age must eat plenty of proteins to protect themselves against frailty.
- Animal Proteins
Research has found that those who consumed animal proteins were generally prone to die of many causes, including cancer, compared to those who consumed a low protein diet. This is because having animal based food stuff adds several unhealthy components to your diet. To reduce such risks, cut back on saturated fats. This means preferring lean cuts over fatty cuts of meat. One can also avoid processed foods like sausage and hot dogs. As a healthier option, pick salmon or tuna, which offer you omega-3s.
- High Protein, Low Fiber
There has been a correlation between high protein, low carbohydrate, low fiber diets, and cancer. Repeated intake of red meat and other fatty foods increased the risk of colorectal cancer. Studies have shown a definite contribution of red meat towards the development of this cancer type, which is one of the most common. A high-protein diet also prevents an individual from consuming enough fiber. This does not allow the intestines to function as they should, as fiber aids the biochemical environment in the digestive tract. Fiber enables the removal of carcinogens from the intestines, thereby protecting against cancer.
Can High Protein Diet Cause Kidney Stones?
- Stones In The Kidneys
Modern lifestyle trends have proved to wreak havoc with our health. While our bodies tried to adjust to newer forms of sugars, the weight gain epidemic has spread unchecked. Many people across the globe eat more food than necessary, which unfortunately compromises the required nutrition. Unhealthy diet habits are one of the factors that lead to the formation of stones in the kidneys. But, what are these stones?
Kidney stones are formed from an unusually high build-up of certain substances in the urine. These substances include uric acid, calcium, ammonia, and in rare cases, cystine. Lack of sufficient fluids in the diet leads to the formation of crystals, as these substances become concentrated and grow into large masses. Ranging in size from a granule to a golf ball, the stones obstruct urine flow in the urinary tract.
Living with kidney stones is very painful. Stones are lodged in the ureter, which is when the symptoms begin to appear. Symptoms include pain in the side and back, episodes of intense pain lasting for more than 20 minutes, pain radiating to the lower abdomen, cloudy urine with pain during urination, bloody and foul smelling urine, abnormally frequent urges to urinate, nausea, and vomiting.
- Role Of Protein
Uric acid is formed after the body metabolizes protein. A very high protein diet, comprising mostly meat products, is a high-risk factor for the formation of kidney stones. Animal proteins have purine content that leads to higher than usual uric acid production. Moreover, a large protein load on the body drives it to burn fat, thereby generating ketones. This creates ketoacidosis, which makes the blood more acidic and more acid for the kidneys to excrete. Acidic urine simply lays the foundation for uric acid stones.
- Animal Proteins
Animal proteins were found to be particularly hard on the kidneys. High-protein diets from animal sources reduce citrate levels in the body. Present in urine, citrate is a chemical that prevents kidney stone formation. Even in the short term, these foods decrease the body’s capacity to absorb calcium. Calcium reabsorption will also have a stressful effect on the kidneys. Red meat, fatty liver, beef, chicken, pork and similar food selections are high in cholesterol. Experts suggest that one should avoid fatty cuts of meat and prefer fish and vegetables instead. These are also advised to be consumed in moderation.
Is a high-protein diet bad for your kidneys? Anyone who has ever had uric acid kidney stones would tell you that their doctor first advised them to cut back on protein. The idea is to prevent any recurrence of kidney stone formation by eliminating the risk factor. Individuals are told to minimize their protein intake and include essential nutrients in their diet. Additionally, they are also advised to drink plenty of water to produce at least 2 liters of urine per day.
A high-protein, low-carb diet has gained focus in recent times for its quick weight loss benefits. However, a diet with too much protein and virtually no carbohydrates is detrimental to our health in general and the kidneys in particular. A low carbohydrate diet was found to further enhance the risk of uric acid stones.
Kidney stones are more common than one could imagine. Just one visit to the doctor can’t cure the problem. Those who developed one kidney stone are at a higher risk of developing another stone later in their lifetime. Lately, even the younger generation is beginning to face this problem.
Role Of Exercise
Eating healthy is no doubt a recipe for a healthy you. To accelerate weight loss and also to make the high protein diet help you tone your body, exercise is a must. As you begin to lose weight, which happens fast in the beginning, you will reach a point when the metabolism would slow down. Exercising has multiple benefits that add to a high protein diet. It keeps the calories burning while keeping the metabolism steady. As the fat levels in the body come down, daily exercise helps build significant muscle mass.
Long Term High-Protein Diet
Protein is one component that can ensure weight loss when handled the right way. However, experts have warned that long term intake of high protein – low carbohydrate diets can have adverse health effects. Anyone with liver conditions should talk to their doctor before attempting any diet changes.
Now that you are armed with what protein can do to your midsection, a high protein diet and probably a little exercise is all you need to melt that fat. So why wait, start this high protein diet for weight loss today and share your experiences with us in the comments box below.
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