I’ve always been a proponent of incorporating a high protein diet to my weight loss program simply because I try to work out a lot and I’d like to build up some muscle mass too, but generally speaking, we should be wary of too much protein intake for a variety of reasons, not least the addition of extra fat which is what we’re trying to avoid.
Protein is generally a good thing to put into any daily regimen of meals provided that we are being smart about how we use it. The general rule of thumb is to figure gaining about 25% of daily calories from protein. Any more than that and we’re getting into some foggy areas regarding overall body health. Protein can be obtained from several different sources, of course. Red meat, chicken, fish, eggs and nuts are common sources but again, we should consider what other elements we acquire from these food sources. Red meat tends to be high in protein but also provides a lot of harmful saturated fats, cholesterol and some undesirable Amino acids that can affect the body’s digestion. Eggs are high in cholesterol. Chicken and fish are generally safer options and nuts, despite being relatively low in protein concentration, are also good.
Two issues I’d like to mention about high protein diets are fairly important. Bodybuilders will tell you that the higher the protein, the quicker the weight loss. What they don’t tell you is that their exercise regimen demands that extra content in order to build muscle. If you are up-taking huge amounts of protein without the extra exercise, the body will immediately convert that into body fat. Also, eating large meals at night that are high in protein also causes issues. Think about it. It’s 11.00pm and you have a big meal of steak and fries. Your body is getting ready to shut down for the night and exercise is done for the day. While you sleep, all of that protein goes immediately to your middle as the body’s metabolism is in idle. My work schedule in my last job demanded late night meals and I’m convinced that is where my belly fat came from. Nice one Raymond!
The other aspect of high protein diets that we have to be careful of is the nutritional supplement obsession that seems to invade every dieter’s mentality. Once we get wind that protein is good, we all trundle off to the GNC store and spend hundreds of dollars in large quantities of protein powder that we immediately think will drop weight off like a stone. Wrong. It won’t, but what it will do is affect your kidney function if you consume too much protein. A by-product of protein breakdown by the kidneys is urea which has to be excreted as urine. Force more protein in the system and the kidneys have to work harder. Just a thought.
High protein diets like everything else in life are good provided they are implemented with just a modicum of common sense. Remember, 25% of daily calories and no more. Throw the bottles of protein powder away. No late night steak dinners or the like and concentrate on fish or chicken to give that extra protein boost.
If we can do that, those high protein diets can be a huge asset to your weight loss program.