8 Benefits of Eating a High Protein Diet
Keto, Atkins, and other new fancy diets have created quite a buzz. While many diets focus on complete weight-loss programs, others are designated to gain healthy muscle mass and strengthen the body.
The food we eat has a direct impact on our health and well-being. While the health benefits of carbs and fats are debatable, there is no doubt that protein forms an essential element of a healthy diet equally for those seeking weight loss and those who want to stay fit and healthy. High protein and low carb diets have shown impressive results for people. This article aims to elaborate on the health benefits of adopting a high-protein diet.
How Much Protein Can You Take on a High Protein Diet?
High-protein diets focus on lean, low-fat proteins and low consumption of carbs. While an average daily intake of protein must fall between 50-60g per day, a high-protein diet has a considerably greater daily consumption of proteins, ideally between 80-100g (of nutritional value) or 0.6-1g per pound of body weight.
Benefits of Eating a High Protein Diet
While protein is a vital component of any healthy diet, sticking to a high-protein diet has numerous scientifically proven benefits. Let’s discuss each of them briefly:
Gain Muscle Mass
One of the critical health benefits of a high-protein diet is gaining muscle mass. Patients who suffer from severe health conditions that cause excessive muscle loss are prescribed high-protein diets to regain muscle strength and fight illness. Patients with terminal diseases, malnutrition, or cancers like peritoneal mesothelioma suffer from severe muscle degeneration and weight loss. This muscle loss, accompanied by constant deterioration, often affects a patient’s ability to respond to treatments like chemotherapy and other heavy medications. High-protein diets with milk, cheese, eggs, lean meat, bone broth, etc., together with high-fat foods like nuts and seeds, butter, lard, animal fats, and extra virgin coconut oils, help patients of peritoneal mesothelioma and other types of cancer recover from muscle loss after treatments like chemotherapy.
Besides patients, bodybuilders and athletes regularly take high-protein diets to increase lean muscle mass without increasing body fat. High-protein diets promote muscle growth and help you maintain muscle mass during a weight loss program.
Proteins have a slow absorption rate and have four times more calories than simple carbs. For this reason, protein helps you feel fuller with less food and reduces your hunger pangs. When absorbed in the body, protein minimizes the release of ghrelin – also called the hunger hormone – and signals the brain that the stomach is full by releasing peptide YY. This hormone makes you feel satiated.
Boosts Fat-Burning Process
The thermic effect of food is the quantity of energy your body needs to metabolize and digest food. A higher level of the thermic effect of food means your body can burn the calories you consume during digestion. Protein has the highest thermic effect of food, which can help you burn calories faster than fats and carbs.
High protein diets can boost your metabolism and surge the number of calories you burn. An increased metabolism rate facilitates the fat-burning process, which is why nearly all diets focus on an elevated intake of proteins during the weight-loss journey.
Cravings can be hard to control. Cravings differ from hunger pangs – you feel the urge to eat specific foods, particularly midnight snacks, without feeling hungry. Studies show that high-protein diets can significantly reduce cravings and the brain’s desire to get a reward. It is because protein is involved in improving the function of dopamine, a hormone that instigates cravings and addiction.
Improves Bone Health
The latest studies have turned down the conventional idea that high protein consumption may intensify bone issues. People who eat more protein maintain bone mass better with age. Moreover, most cases of osteoarthritis are accompanied by the poor health of surrounding muscles which causes excessive stress on bones to maintain posture. High-protein diets improve the stamina of muscles surrounding the leg and arm bones. The muscles bound to the bones help prevent the early onset of osteoarthritis and maintain bone health.
High protein also aids calcium absorption and supplies vital nutrients for bone health. It is why physicians recommend high-protein diets to patients with fractured bones.
Regulates Sleep-Wake Cycles
Tryptophan, an amino acid that constitutes most protein-rich foods, is proven to boost melatonin levels. Melatonin is a sleep hormone that regulates healthy sleep-wake cycles. Studies show that taking a certain amount of proteins a couple of hours before bedtime can significantly improve your sleep quality and helps you to go into deep sleep.
Maintains Weight Loss
The average daily protein consumption in any weight loss diet program is above 50g. This requisite amount is set because high protein levels promote the fat-burning process and cause significant weight reduction without losing muscle mass. Many people who increase their protein consumption without intentional calorie restriction can also lose weight very quickly since a high-protein diet stimulates metabolism and reduces calorie intake and cravings automatically.
While a high-protein diet is known for its ability to help shed some pounds, it is also effective in maintaining weight loss. An increase in protein intake can help reduce weight regain.
Improve Gut Health
Protein consumption enhances gastrointestinal function by lowering the gases created by meals high in carbs. Protein-rich vegetables are high in fiber. Not only do they boost metabolism, but they also help reduce constipation and improve gut health.
How to Eat a High-Protein Diet
Taking too much protein can also cause health issues in the long run. Long-term consumption of high-protein diets may cause kidney damage, dehydration, heart disease, hypertension, and gastrointestinal issues. Increasing your protein intake to only 0.6-1g per pound of body weight is advisable to be safe. Doing a precise calculation will help you determine the right amounts for yourself and prevent the over-consumption of proteins. Focus on both quality and quantity while choosing your protein. Avoid processed meats and dairy products, and try using organic protein sources. Remember, protein-rich diets increase your protein intake while maintaining a healthy fibrous carb consumption. The absence of fibrous carbs can lead to severe gut health issues.
High-protein diets are an excellent way to regain muscle strength, lose extra pounds, and maintain a healthy body. While high-protein diets have far-reaching health benefits, consuming proteins in moderation is necessary to sustain long-term health and well-being.