Will high protein diets make me lose weight?
Updated: Jul 27
There are a number of high protein diets out there that are popular: atkins, duke, paleo, and the infamous low-carb.
High protein diets tend to promote more weight loss than other diets that are low fat and high carbohydrate. There are a number of reasons for this:
Protein is more satiating: the metabolic pathway for processing protein is more inefficient that processing fat and carbohydrates, so it take longer to process, and more energy is required to process
Protein doesn’t draw in water molecules when in the body (like carbohydrates do) so you shed water weight (and hence the scale shows you as being a little lighter.
Protein is required for repair, and when there is inadequate protein in the diet, the body must either adapt to go without or reduce the muscle and use it for protein. Supercharging the repair process means that essential maintenance of metabolically active tissue (muscle) can occur, which in turn increases the body’s requirement for more energy intake to keep up with the increase in demand.
On the other hand, there is a common misconception that carbs are bad. Yes, many refined carbs (most treats and high incentive items are carb dense such as donuts) will cause fluctuations in blood sugar levels, while protein will result in a more stable blood sugar level. However, reducing the amount of fiber that is usually derived from whole grains and fruit is problematic because it can cause constipation, and carbohydrates are important as the energy that “sweeps” that protein into the muscle for repair.
To sound ridiculously un-controversial or “safe”, my message is balance. Eat a balance of good quality lean protein sources (chicken, eggs, fish, beans lentils, nuts and seeds); with unprocessed carbs such as whole grains and a wide variety of coloured fruit and vegetables (and tubers). This will help to create a constant release of energy during the day, which can result in reduced calorie intake (compared to eating less satisfying and calorie dense refined foods).
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Thank you for reading.