High Protein Diet: Effects and Their Health Benefits
High-protein diets are an alternative that has gained ground within health care trends. These diets have, as their protagonist, a predominant consumption of proteins and a reduced intake of carbohydrates and fats.
Proteins are macronutrients that represent between 15 and 30% of the daily energy intake; therefore, the high-protein diets exceed that proportion, reaching 40% and even 50% of proteins as a daily energy source. (1)
Do high-protein diets affect kidney health?
Recent studies maintain that a diet high in proteins applied in the short and medium-term by healthy people does not represent any risk for renal function; in fact, diets high in protein are part of the medical management of many diseases such as diabetes and patients burned. (2)
For a high-protein diet to be effective, the proteins must be of high biological value, preferably low in fat and of natural origin, avoiding processed foods. Among the proteins that cannot be missing in a high-protein diet are:
- Lean proteins: Chicken, turkey, and fish meat that additionally provide amino acids with fatty acids such as Omega 3 and 6. Try to limit the consumption of red meat by fat content.
- Eggs: Eggs are foods rich in proteins of high biological value because they are fast absorbed.
- Dairy products: Skimmed and low-fat dairy such as yogurt are an excellent high protein option.
- Vegetable proteins: Cereals and legumes such as beans, chickpeas, lentils, black beans.
- Nuts: These foods provide healthy proteins and fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals. Add hazelnuts, walnuts, and almonds to your diet.
- Seeds: Chia, linseed, and sunflower are foods rich in fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals.
7 Health Benefits of a High-Protein Diet
- Loss of excess body fat
The high-protein diet favors the use of the energy stored in the fat reservoirs, which results in a controlled weight loss. Protein consumption also helps to speed up the metabolism rate, helping to burn calories. The #1 factor in losing body fat is still caloric restriction, but a higher protein intake can aid in the process.
- Weight reduction
Muscle mass consumes a high amount of energy for maintenance, so when you experience a process of weight loss, it is vital that you maintain and increase muscle mass, thereby accelerating your metabolic rate. (3-4)
- Improves the gastrointestinal system
Protein consumption improves gastrointestinal function because the gases caused by foods such as carbohydrates are reduced, protein foods of vegetable origin are rich in fiber; this favors reducing episodes of constipation.
- High satiating effect
Another of the great benefits of the high-protein diet is its ability to reduce appetite.
Protein is a nutrient that satisfies more than fats and carbohydrates because it slows the secretion of ghrelin. This hormone is responsible for sending hunger signals to the brain, so the risk of consuming more food than necessary disappears at following this type of diet. (5)
- Varied Foods
Unlike other types of diets, which are very restrictive in the foods that are recommended to be consumed, a high-protein diet includes a wide variety of foods in its list of options.
These include fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy, lean meat, fish, chicken, eggs, and legumes. But there are many foods high in protein, so you can follow a high-protein diet even with a vegan or vegetarian diet.
- Increase in muscle mass
Muscle tissue is composed of 70% water and 22% protein. Therefore, by increasing protein intake, you will help to maintain muscle mass. A high-protein diet allows you to lose weight and lose fat without losing muscle, so you reduce sagging and improve the appearance and tone of the skin.
- No rebound effect
This is another of the most popular benefits of the high-protein diet.
The rebound effect is one of the most feared aspects when you finish a diet. Well, with the high-protein diet, you should not fear this effect since, by not losing muscle mass, you will not regain the lost weight when you finish the diet.
Benefits of protein as a macronutrient
Each nutrient that your body ingests through food provides a certain amount of energy, and all together allows you to develop your daily activities. From carbohydrates to healthy fats, all are important elements in a complete diet.
Proteins are formed by amino acid molecules; these are obtained through the diet. Of the 20 amino acids that exist in nature, 8 of them are essential, and the body does not synthesize them, so they must be obtained through food.
With protein intake, you acquire those amino acids that are used to strengthen the body's growth process, regeneration of damaged tissues, hormone synthesis, and many more essential functions. (6)
Proteins, by themselves, fulfill a number of specific functions:
- Structural support
Proteins are part of cell membranes, hair and nails, elastic and collagen fibers; therefore, they help repair body tissues.
From proteins, antibodies, and immunoglobulins are synthesized to protect the organism; therefore, they help to have good health since proteins are part of the immune system.
Proteins are regulators of all chemical reactions in the body. They are an essential part of the body's chemical processes; they help regulate body heat, growth, hormonal activity, and waste disposal.
They also regulate the pH through blood flows. They also carry important substances such as hemoglobin, and with it, the oxygen in the blood.
Proteins help with muscle contraction and relaxation because they are part of the structure of actin and myosin.
They have the role of hormones to control the physiological processes of growth and development of bones, muscles, and other structural elements of the body. (7)
Why start a high-protein diet?
A high-protein diet is a safe and healthy alternative to lose weight, and in the management of metabolic diseases such as diabetes, the important thing is to do it with the necessary professional support!