1. How does a high-protein diet work?
A high-protein diet is typically coupled with a low-carbohydrate intake. Hence, up takers tend to think they can consume as much protein as they like to. Quite the contrary claims some nutritionist: A plan to lose weight should be a combination of 1) Healthy intake of good protein sources (Eat responsibly) 2) Adequate amount of exercise to burn fat and build muscles (exercise regularly) 3) Sufficient nutrition intake (vitamin and minerals etc.)
Back to the topic of a high-protein and low-carb diet, when consumers use such a diet, the body’s metabolism changes to a condition called ketosis. This means instead of burning carbs for fuel, the body burns fat as a source of fuel and energy. When fat in our body is broken down, there are small components of carbon called ketones which are released into the blood stream and used as a source of energy. The process of ketosis also tends to suppress appetite, increases the body’s elimination of fluids through urine, hence, causing a weight loss effect as well.
2. What are the benefits of a high-protein diet?
Basically, a high-protein diet allows one to be in a condition called ketosis as mentioned above, this process allows for an increased efficiency in burning off fat and building muscles. When you are in the state of ketosis, you will tend to feel less hungry too, which naturally helps you starve off the food cravings! Something to note on the side is that most food with high protein content increases satiety (sense of feeling full) as well, therefore, keeps you feeling full for a longer period of time.
3. Is there a way to be selective with consuming only healthy protein containing food?
-Avoid large consumption of processed meats such as hot-dogs, sausages, and deli meats (These are linked to type 2 diabetes mellitus, heart diseases, and colorectal cancer)
– Consume more plant based protein such as soy (tofu, legumes, tempeh etc.)
– Consider broiled, grill, or baked meat as an alternative to fried food
– Consider plant-based protein powder intake
– Maintain an adequate amount of vegetable and fruits for “micronutrients” or consider supplements that contains phytonutrients (plant nutrients)
4. How long can I continue on a high protein/low carb diet?
There is no long term evidence on the effects of a high protein/low carbohydrate diet beyond 6-months. It is advisable to eat a balanced diet containing adequate amounts of macronutrients and micronutrients in the long run. Proper supplementation with vitamin and mineral products can be used responsibly as well.
5. What could be the harmful effects of a high-protein diet?
There are always both sides of the story, some of the potential risks of a high-protein, low-carb diet includes the production of ammonia. Ammonia is a by-product of protein break down and no one is clear on the long-term risks of having higher-levels of ammonia in the blood.
Mechanistically, a high-protein, low-carb diet may also lead to excretion of excess calcium stores from the body. In the long run, it may lead to issues such as osteoporosis.
In addition, there are folks that may experience headache, feeling nauseated, and irritable but these symptoms gradually diminishes and does not cause harm in the long term.
The other obvious reason is that many would go for unhealthy animal protein (sausages, bacon, processed meat etc.), which could also be high in saturated fats, which in turn increases the risk of heart diseases, diabetes, stroke etc.
Therefore, the key is to:
- Get protein from the right sources of food (How?)
- Exercise adequately and regularly (Resistance exercises or HIITs)
- Sufficient nutrition intake (through supplements e.g. Vitamins and minerals, calcium and magnesium, fish oil, fiber, etc.)
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