protein diet

The Protein Diet: Start With A High Protein Diet Today

Author: Anne Jonson

Diet & Nutrition Expert

Do you want to reach your desired weight this year? Then try the protein diet now! We’ll explain how it works: How much protein is there on the plate? What exactly can I eat? And how long do I go on the diet?

With a protein-rich diet, as with any diet, you create a calorie deficit and eat mainly protein-rich foods. Fat is avoided to a limited extent, but carbohydrates are largely avoided. This makes the protein diet one of the low carb diets. This diet is a good way to reduce weight without losing any significant muscle.

Why is a protein-rich diet worth it?

A protein diet for weight loss is worthwhile for several reasons: Firstly, protein is more filling than carbohydrates and fat, so you tend to eat less. Second, digesting protein uses more energy than digesting carbohydrates or fat, so you can deduct 18-25% of calories from dietary protein. Thirdly, a low carbohydrate intake keeps the insulin level constant so that there are no cravings when it drops just as steeply after a steep increase.

Another advantage of protein-rich diets concerns the muscles: Normally, these are partially broken down during a diet, as the body can use the amino acids for energy production. A protein-rich diet stops this muscle breakdown or at least slows it down a lot.

Anyone on a protein diet therefore needs a protein nutrition plan that ensures that the amount of carbohydrates consumed daily is low (also called “low carb high protein”). It is also important that the carbohydrates consumed are slow to digest. Fast carbohydrates like those found in sweets or white bread should therefore be avoided.

Function of protein in the body

What is protein Besides fats and carbohydrates, protein is the third so-called “macronutrient” in food. Unlike micronutrients such as vitamins, minerals and trace elements, macronutrients provide the organism with energy. Proteins are found in every cell in the body: muscles, heart, brain, skin, hair – everything is made up of proteins.

Protein-rich foods

If you want to go on a protein diet, you should first study carefully the foods you like to eat. Because only if you avoid foods containing carbohydrates as much as possible and eat enough protein and fat-rich food, the diet will be a success.

The highest quality protein suppliers for humans are meat, fish, seafood, eggs and dairy products, i.e. foods of animal origin. If you do it cleverly, the protein requirement can also be covered well with vegan protein sources (legumes, nuts, kernels, seeds, grain products).

Foods You Can Eat During the Protein Diet:

  • Meat (turkey, chicken, steak)
  • Fish (salmon, tuna, shrimp)
  • Eggs and dairy products (low-fat curd cheese, cottage cheese, skyr)
  • Protein-rich vegetables (soy, broccoli, spinach, kale)
  • Nuts and kernels (peanuts, almonds, pistachios)
  • Soy products (tofu, soy shredded meat, soy yoghurt)
  • Protein-rich products (whey isolate, whey protein, protein bars)

Foods To Avoid During The Protein Diet:

  • Grains (wheat, rye, spelled, millet, oats, rice, corn)
  • Pseudograins (quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat)
  • Baked goods (bread, rolls, pastries)
  • Pasta (noodles, spaetzle)
  • Legumes (peas, beans, lentils, chickpeas)
  • Starchy vegetables (potatoes, sweet potatoes, parsnips)
  • Certain fruits (bananas, dried fruits)
  • Sweets
  • Sweetened dairy products
  • Ready-made products and fast food

Since high amounts of protein combined with low levels of carbohydrates and fat are only found in meat, fish and dairy products, it is practically impossible for vegans to go on a protein diet. Consequently, you will not be able to adapt the protein diet plan described here to the vegan diet without thwarting the concept of a protein diet

Frequently Asked Questions: Protein Diet

How much weight can you lose on the protein diet?

Exactly how many pounds you lose with the protein diet depends on the respective calorie deficit – by the way, this is the decisive factor for fat loss in every diet. Suppose you consume about 500 kcal less than you consume each day. Then in one week you have drawn around 3,500 kcal of energy from your body’s own stores, which corresponds to around 500 g of body fat.

How long do you have to do the protein diet?

You go on a protein diet until you have reached your desired weight. It is important that you only implement the nutrient distribution of the protein-rich diet presented here in combination with a calorie deficit. Because with a “normal” diet that covers all your energy needs or even generates a calorie surplus, 50% protein of the daily calorie amount can result in too much protein in absolute terms.

What are the pros and cons of the protein diet?

Advantages

Quick success
Especially at the beginning you will lose a lot of water in addition to fat, which of course will also be noticeable on the scales. Even if this weight loss is not sustainable, it is definitely motivating.

Muscle preservation
With the large daily protein portion you prevent your body from breaking down muscles in order to use the amino acids “built in” in them as an energy injection.

No starvation
The body uses protein more slowly than carbohydrates and fat. As a result, a protein-rich diet will fill you up. In addition, food cravings due to a rapidly falling blood sugar level are not to be expected with low carb.

Individual
Meat or dairy products? Or do you prefer nuts? You decide what your high-protein diet looks like.

Simple rule of thumb
The plate can be equipped with a simple rule of thumb: Your meals should always consist of three parts of protein and one part each of fat and carbohydrates.

Disadvantages

Unconventional
The protein diet stands out from the common carbohydrate-heavy diet. That will inevitably lead to the outsider position at some dining tables and bring with it some sayings.

Demanding
The protein diet is only for you if you are ready to deal with your diet and food in general.

Guy thing
If you have always started the day with a jam roll, always followed by potatoes or pasta at lunchtime and usually eat bread in the evening, you will have a hard time with a protein diet.

Low energy
For people who exercise often and intensely, it tends to be unfavorable to radically cut carbohydrates, because these are the most effective fuel.

Potentially stressful on the kidneys
People with kidney damage should refrain from a protein diet, because urea is excreted as an amino acid breakdown product via the kidneys, and the kidneys have to do a lot with the protein diet.

One-sided
Foods containing carbohydrates contain other important nutrients (especially fiber), the absorption of which may have to be guaranteed by other foods or dietary supplements if there is a strict carb restriction.

Do you build muscle on a protein diet?

A protein diet protects against muscle breakdown, but does not lead to significant muscle growth, even if you do strength training during it. Because in order to build muscle, you have to consume more calories than you consume (excess calories). With a protein diet, on the other hand, as with any diet, you consume fewer calories than you consume (calorie deficit).

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But apart from the fact that the number of calories is too low, a diet that is too high in protein is not ideal for building muscle, since the energy from carbohydrates is lacking during exercise.

How does a protein diet protect against muscle breakdown?

If we supply the body with less energy than it consumes, it inevitably has to tap into its own stores. On the one hand, this is the goal of the exercise, because this is how fat melts. Unfortunately, every diet also breaks down muscles, because the protein built into the muscles can also be used as an energy source.

A protein diet in combination with strength training greatly reduces muscle breakdown during weight loss: The training signals to the body that it still needs the muscles, the high amount of protein in food prevents it from using the amino acids from the muscles, or gives him the opportunity to replace degraded amino acids directly. For this reason, protein diet plans are popular in bodybuilding competition preparation.

Is a Protein Diet Healthy?

The expression “healthy” is too complex and too many influencing factors affect our body and psyche to be able to answer this question so easily. What one can say: If you go on a protein diet, i.e. if you create a calorie deficit and cover 50% of the calories with protein within this framework, you will hardly consume so much protein overall that it is harmful to your health – as long as you drink enough ( more than 2 liters of water per day). Whether an adult with healthy kidneys and a healthy liver can consume too much protein at all is not yet scientifically established, but pregnant women should be careful and discuss a high-protein diet with their doctor.

On the other hand, the harmlessness of a very protein-rich diet has not yet been explicitly proven. If you want to be on the safe side, choose a daily protein consumption of a maximum of 2 g per kg of body weight. This amount is lower than in a classic protein diet and is generally considered to be harmless.

Possible side effects of a protein diet that may require you to reduce the daily amount of protein include:

  • Flatulence and constipation (due to lack of fiber)
  • Bad mood (carbs boost serotonin production)
  • Stress: Weight gain, muscle loss, sleep disorders, listlessness and fatigue
  • Foaming urine due to high protein excretion
  • Decline in performance in sports due to lack of energy

Who can start a Protein Diet?

A protein diet plan is suitable for anyone who burns body fat quickly and effectively, i.e. wants to lose weight, and is willing to go down an unconventional route to do so. Why unconventional? Because carbohydrates rule the western world, so to speak:

Muesli for breakfast, potatoes, pasta or rice as a side dish for lunch and bread in the evening – this is what a typical day at the dining table looks like for many people. And in between there is a snack or two – with sugar. Those who avoid carbohydrates have to say goodbye to some habits and find low-carbohydrate alternatives for their protein nutrition plan.

The plan is not suitable for vegans either, since the protein sources are mainly of animal origin. In general, a vegan protein diet is difficult to implement, since vegan protein sources all contain more carbohydrates or fat than proteins.

Are cheat days allowed?

Cheat Days do not promote the success of a protein diet. However, if you plan your diet a little, you still don’t have to do without a Cheat Day. Because the decisive factor in whether you lose weight or not is the calorie balance at the end of the week. If you save the excess calories of the Cheat Day on the other days, so that the maximum weekly number of calories is adhered to, the Cheat Day has no negative consequences for the diet.

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