Does Protein Help You Lose Weight

Photo credit: Bigstockphoto
Photo credit: Bigstockphoto

Most dieters tend to stay away from carbohydrates because it’s been unfairly deemed as “fattening.” True, certain types of carbs are fattening (like white bread, white rice, etc.) but there are certain types of carbs that are good for dieters too.

Most dieters prefer a high-protein, low-carb diet. But is a high-protein diet really the best way to lose weight?

Advantages of a High-Protein Diet

A high-protein diet is the most effective way to “train” the body to burn off stored fat rather than sugars from carbohydrates. Generally, a high-protein diet isn’t harmful to one’s health but only if it’s followed for a short time. If you plan to adopt a high-protein diet to lose weight, nutritionists recommend taking a low-carb, high-protein diet for a maximum of four months only.

A low-carb diet is relatively easy to follow. Dieters can stick to it longer because there’s no special food involved, just eat lean meat, fish, or chicken.

Unlike carbs that burn easily, protein helps make you feel fuller for longer. This is the perfect diet for people prone to snacking.

A high-protein diet can also be heart-friendly too! Research shows that a high-protein diet can lower inflammation, decrease blood pressure, and limit the consumption of food with bad cholesterol.

You will also achieve drastic weight loss from taking a low-carb diet. That said, weight loss will be temporary. If you don’t watch your portions, you’re likely to gain back the pounds you shed.

Disadvantages of a High-Protein Diet

Exceeding the period of observing a high-protein diet could have adverse effects in the kidneys or liver. In addition, dieters are advised to choose the healthier types of protein—like skinless chicken breasts, lean meat, and fish—to minimize long-term health problems.

Fiber is often found in carbohydrate-rich food. Dieters who are observing a high-protein diet tend to be constipated because of the reduced fiber consumption.This is why hydration is important if you are doubling up your protein intake. In addition, we recommend leaving a little room for fiber-rich carbs in your diet or taking fiber supplements.

How a High-Protein Diet Affects the Body

The body will slowly adapt to the high-protein diet, switching to an alternate metabolic pathway of burning off stored fat rather than sugar from carbohydrates. During the changes in your diet, you will feel sluggish, have frequent headaches, and be irritable. Carbohydrates are burned faster and without it, energy level drops. As you lose fat by adopting a high-protein diet, you also lose muscle mass.

You can minimize these symptoms by keeping yourself hydrated. Also, make sure that you eat small meals each day rather than three big meals to avoid hunger pangs.

So does protein really help you lose weight? Most experts agree that although dieters can achieve “instantaneous” weight loss from a high-protein diet, it’s not a long-term solution to staying fit.

The body needs carbohydrates to work properly and people who are on a high-protein diet do not get the required amount of vitamins and minerals they need to stay healthy. And if you observe a high-protein diet for more than the recommended period, there are potential health risks. A balanced diet—coupled with regular exercise—is still the healthiest way to maintain a trim figure.

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