You know protein is good for you, but you may not be entirely sure of the details. You may be asking the question: What are the benefits and risks of a high protein diet? Some information can help you make smart decisions for your health, and enjoy a variety of delicious foods, too.
Importance of Protein: Why You Need It
Individuals of all ages and both genders need protein in their diets. As very little protein is stored in the body, it must be consumed every day.
Protein deficiency can result in a wide range of serious medical issues. While some people have medical conditions that restrict their intake, average men need 56 grams each day, and average women need 46 grams each day.
However, your age, body weight, and activity levels are relevant when determining your daily intake of protein.
Some individuals assume if the daily requirement of protein is good, more must be better. High protein diets are gaining popularity, especially among certain groups.
Bodybuilders, athletes, and people who want to lose weight are often encouraged to start a high protein diet. Others believe there are many benefits to increasing their daily intake of protein.
How You Can Benefit from More Protein
The health benefits of protein are impressive. Every organ and system throughout your entire body needs it.
Protein is essential for healthy muscles. As bodybuilders know, this is because muscle itself is primarily protein. Many add extra protein to their diets with protein-rich foods, protein shakes, and supplements.
This does not mean the benefits are only for bodybuilders. You, too, can develop lean muscle mass by increasing your intake of protein.
While muscle health is important for all age groups, there is a special benefit for older persons. As muscle shrinkage occurs naturally during the aging process, this effect can be reduced by consuming more protein.
Protein strengthens your immune system. When your immune system is healthy, it helps your body produce antibodies that fight infections and reduce your risk of disease. Protein can even lower your risk of developing a common cold.
A protein known as collagen is naturally present in your body. Bone health is one benefit provided by collagen. Although collagen decreases with age, individuals of all ages can benefit from protein in their diets.
Along with strong bones, you can have a lower risk of joint injury, fractured bones, and a lower risk of inflammatory conditions that affect your bones and joints.
Collagen is also present in your skin. From damage due to sun exposure and other environmental factors, to skin issues associated with aging, protein in your diet can lead to healthier skin. Your skin will look younger and healthier, too.
Your nervous system can benefit from dietary protein. Its receptors and responses depend on protein. Protein will help your nervous system work effectively and function smoothly.
Protein can prevent edema by preventing fluid leakage in your blood vessels. It regulates and balances your body’s fluid content.
As tissues and cells die without proper nutrition, protein prevents this deterioration. Protein provides a consistent supply of the essential amino acids needed to produce new tissue and cells.
Protein transports molecules to your cell membranes. This helps blood circulation, as well as increasing the benefits of iron and oxygen.
There are many different factors that influence hormone balance. Protein is one example. Protein can help keep the glucagon, human growth hormone, and insulin levels balanced.
Dietary protein is the ideal source of natural energy. If you experience low energy or fatigue on an occasional or regular basis, protein is the perfect way to prevent it.
When you enjoy a protein-based meal or a protein shake between meals, you may never need to rely on stimulants again. You can be even healthier because you can eliminate caffeine from your diet.
Your hair and nails can also benefit from protein. In fact, the best hair care and nail care products contain it. Men and women alike can have healthier skin and nails by increasing the protein in their diets.
Although there are many reasons high protein diets have become so appealing, weight loss is a popular example.
Even if you realize there are no shortcuts to weight loss, protein can provide some useful benefits.
First, protein can reduce your appetite. Whether you have a protein-based meal or snack, you will be completely satisfied. You will feel full for a longer period of time.
You will not be tempted to overeat, or cheat on your diet with unhealthy snacks. As it also balances your blood sugar levels, protein can reduce the hunger that often accompanies spikes and drops in blood sugar.
Second, protein helps your body burn calories, burn fat, and boosts your metabolism. A high protein diet can even produce these benefits while you are asleep.
In addition, fat loss from a higher protein intake includes abdominal fat. When belly fat is reduced, it decreases your risk of many serious health problems.
Although losing belly fat will result in a leaner, nicer appearance, it also keeps your internal organs healthy.
There is another reason a high protein diet is an appropriate choice for weight loss. If you continue to consume plenty of protein after you have achieved your desired weight, it can help the pounds and fat stay off on a long-term basis.
This is a benefit you cannot expect from fad diets. You can eliminate the frustration and health risks of yo-yo dieting by choosing protein for weight loss. You can achieve and maintain your ideal weight without harmful starvation diets or diet pills.
Are There Risks to High Protein Diets?
Some individuals should not increase their intake of protein. People who have chronic kidney disease, protein allergies, Maple syrup urine disease, or phenylketonuria can experience serious complications.
Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not increase their protein intake without approval from their personal physicians.
For most healthy people, though, risks associated with high protein diets are not directly connected to the protein-rich foods. If you are considering a high protein diet, you should keep these risks in mind.
One common example is the risk of other nutritional deficiencies. Although there are many health benefits to increasing your protein intake, this does not mean you do not need other nutrients.
If you consume plenty of protein and little else, you will put your overall health at risk. Protein is great, but you also need dairy products, grains and other sources of fiber, fruits, and vegetables.
The key to excellent health is a balanced diet that provides a full range of vitamins and minerals.
A high protein diet can lead to weight loss, but only if you reduce your daily intake of calories. You will not lose the pounds and fat if you eat considerably more than you should.
Even if your diet is based on protein, you can actually gain body fat if you do not lower your calorie intake.
Believing myths can also present problems and cause disappointment. If you want to build lean muscle, protein alone will not provide this benefit. You must also exercise, and include both healthy fats and carbohydrates in your diet.
When it comes to your health, the source of protein is relevant. While natural protein is found in both animal sources and plant sources, there are differences.
The healthiest approach is to include both sources in your daily diet. Some animal sources, such as red meat, can increase your risk of heart disease, especially if you consume it on a regular basis.
In contrast, individuals who follow vegan or vegetarian diets can be at risk of Vitamin B12 deficiency. This vitamin is essential for healthy blood.
If you prefer to avoid all animal sources of protein, talk to your doctor about vitamin supplements. Whether you prefer meat or plants, you should not increase other health risks for the sake of protein benefits.
How Much Is Too Much?
Most healthy people do not need to worry about risks from high protein diets. If your general lifestyle is healthy, including exercise and a nutritious diet, you can benefit from extra protein.
While increasing protein intake has benefits, some people can benefit even more. One example is a person who has a very active lifestyle. This is not limited to bodybuilders and athletes.
If you exercise regularly or have a considerable amount of physical activity in your daily life, extra protein is helpful.
You can gain all the benefits of protein, including natural energy. You will be less likely to become fatigued.
Children need protein for good health and normal growth. However, it is a good idea to check with your doctor before adding extra protein to your child’s diet.
Too much protein can cause problems for children. Similar to adults of all ages, it can prevent your child from obtaining the nutrition he needs from other foods. Children need a well-balanced diet, not only protein.
In some cases, children can experience other complications from too much protein. Kidney problems, dehydration, or calcium losses may occur.
A child may experience diarrhea, nausea, toxins accumulating in his blood, or even death from excessive protein.
Consult with your physician before changing your child’s diet. His need for protein is based on his age, weight, growth, and general health. Your doctor is in the best position to determine how much he needs each day.
How Can You Build A High Protein Diet?
There are many different sources of protein. It is not difficult to create your own high protein diet based on your needs and preferences.
While all sources are useful, there is a point to keep in mind. Animal protein and protein supplements can affect your budget. They are generally more expensive than plant-based protein.
If you are thinking about protein shakes, you will enjoy the ease, convenience, and taste. You can have a shake for a meal, as a between-meal snack, or whenever you need extra energy.
Whether you choose shakes that are ready to drink, or prefer to make your own, you can take one with you when you go to work, school, or on errands.
It is important to read labels. Some protein shakes include ingredients you do not want. While some actually contain artificial ingredients, some shakes contain added sugar or artificial sweeteners. You can have a sweet, nutritious shake without these extra ingredients.
You have a number of options for protein shakes. Whey protein is a popular choice. This product comes from cow’s milk. It can be found in a variety of flavors, including vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry. For an extra health boost, you can add fresh fruit or berries to your shake.
Casein protein is also derived from milk. Casein contains more milk protein than whey. However, casein is absorbed slower, and has fewer branched-chain amino acids.
There are bioactive peptides in casein that are beneficial to your digestive system, immune system, and heart. It can reduce your risk of blood clots and lower your blood pressure.
While not as well-known, egg protein powder is a good alternative if you cannot consume milk products. A special benefit is egg protein is also complete protein.
Depending on the particular product, a serving of egg protein can have up to four times the protein you would have from one whole egg.
If you want to try egg protein powder, use it in cooking. They can contain various substances that may be harmful if consumed when raw. You should also make sure the powder is from organic eggs.
Pea protein powder is another option. It is an excellent source of both protein and iron. While the specifics vary from brand to brand, pea protein generally contains fewer calories than whey, casein, and egg protein.
Pea protein is dairy-free and gluten-free, so it is appropriate for vegans, individuals who are lactose intolerant, and individuals with gluten sensitivity.
Protein shakes are super, but you may also be thinking about your regular meals and snacks. There are so many options for adding protein to your diet that you will look forward to each and every meal.
If you like meat on your menu, beef is high in protein. Unfortunately, the saturated fat is unhealthy. Choose the leanest cuts, or ground beef with the highest percentage of lean beef. If you do not like beef, a lean pork chop is a protein-rich alternative.
Poultry is a high-protein option when you want to avoid unnecessary fat. You can reduce the amount of fat by choosing white meat over dark meat and removing skin from the poultry before it is cooked. The white meat on turkey and chicken provides more protein than dark meat.
Seafood is another option. Some fish, such as trout, herring, and salmon, also provide significant amounts of Omega-3 fatty acids. Other high-protein seafood includes lobster, crab, shrimp, and canned light tuna.
While dairy products are not often thought of as sources of protein, some dairy products can boost your protein intake.
Cottage cheese, milk, yogurt, and Cheddar cheese are good examples. Greek yogurt has much more protein than traditional yogurt.
Eggs are ideal sources of protein. For the best results, eat whole eggs. Half of an egg’s protein is in the yolk, while the other half is in the white.
Logically, the larger the egg the more protein and benefits for you. Choose large, extra-large, or jumbo eggs over small and medium eggs.
As an example, you will have 8.2 grams from a jumbo egg whereas a small egg provides only 4.9 grams.
If you prefer to not eat any animal-based products, you still have plenty of options for a high protein diet.
As long as you do not need a gluten-free diet, wheat gluten can increase your protein intake. It also contains calcium and iron.
A serving of lentils provides 26 grams of protein. This food has the added benefits of minerals, potassium, and fiber.
A full one-quarter of peanut butter is protein. Peanut butter does, though, contain a large amount of both fat and calories. Eat it in moderation if you are concerned about the fat content or your weight.
Black beans are a tasty, versatile source of protein. There are 21 grams per serving. They are low in fat, provide dietary fiber, and help keep your blood sugar levels stable.
Nuts can be high in fat and calories, but they are still good sources of protein and fiber. Dry roasted peanuts and pistachios, almonds, walnuts, cashews, hazelnuts, Macadamia nuts, and pecans can boost your protein intake when eaten in moderation as snacks, or added to some of your favorite recipes. For the healthiest results, choose unsalted nuts.
You can snack on seeds for more protein, too. Sunflower seeds provide up to 21 grams of protein in each 100-gram serving.
Pumpkin seeds, squash seeds, sesame seeds, flax seeds, and Chia seeds are other options. Seeds are perfect additions to salads, homemade breads, and other recipes.
While grains do not contain huge amounts of protein, it is beneficial to add them to your diet. They can add to your daily protein intake, as well as providing many other nutrients.
Some of the top examples include whole wheat pasta, whole wheat bread, Quinoa, oatmeal, brown rice, wild rice, and cornmeal.
Similarly, fruits and vegetables do not contain as much protein as animal-based sources, but they are nutritious additions to your diet.
Some of these vegetables are kale, spinach, Navy beans, artichokes, broccoli, butternut squash, potatoes, split peas and green peas, beets, sweet potatoes, lettuce, cucumbers, corn, asparagus, and celery. Fruits to include in your diet are grapefruit, apples, cherries, apricots, and bananas.
For snacks or desserts, choose berries containing protein. Strawberries, blueberries, and blackberries can be enjoyed at any time.
While many people prefer plain foods, others enjoy variety. Casseroles and salads are popular examples that will fit into your meals.
You can find nearly limitless recipes that include these nutritious sources of protein. Whether you eat an animal-based diet or have a vegan diet, there are many recipes that will meet your needs.
If you are thinking of trying the Keto diet, you can include these protein sources, too. There is less protein in the Keto diet than a high protein diet, but the same foods can apply.
A High Protein Diet Can Work for You
Whether you want to lose weight or simply achieve an excellent state of health, you can reach your goals by adding more protein to your daily diet.
However, it is always in your best interests to consult with a doctor before making any major changes to your diet.
If you are in good health, a high protein diet is not only safe, but beneficial. When you increase your protein intake, make sure you do not neglect other essential nutrients. While protein has its place, you need a well-balanced diet to keep your body healthy.
Exercise is necessary, too. Especially if you want to shed pounds and body fat, exercise will help you develop more lean muscle mass.
The unattractive belly fat that can cause serious health problems will start to disappear. You can become slimmer and healthier at the same time.
Why A High Protein Diet Is The Best Choice
All you need to do is turn on the television, open a magazine, or surf the internet to see one new diet after another.
Most of these diets are fads and gimmicks that provide no real benefits and can even result in health problems. Even if weight loss is your goal, it is better to avoid these diets.
A high protein diet is much different. It is completely safe for most adults. It provides a huge range of health benefits that you cannot obtain from most other popular diets.
Instead of depriving your body of nutrition it needs to stay healthy, it increases one of the most useful nutrients you can consume.
Bodybuilders have known this secret for a long time. Protein increases muscle mass, strength, energy, and overall physical fitness.
It is no longer a secret, so you can benefit from it too. With an overall healthy lifestyle, a high protein diet is a wise decision.