So why are so many people looking to higher-protein diets to help them lose excess body fat?
Research suggests that higher-protein diets can help people better control their appetites and minimize “bad calorie intake”.
Diets with 30% protein are now being considered “reasonable” and the term “high protein diet” is now reserved for diets with over 50% protein.
A diet that is higher in protein and lower in sugar and starch based carbs — combined with regular exercise, is believed by experts to reduce blood fats. This way of eating also helps maintain lean tissue while incinerating fat stores for body fuel. And this all happens without the person being sidetracked with constant hunger and cravings for junk food.
Researchers don’t understand exactly how protein works to reduce appetite. They believe that it may be due to protein causing the brain to receive lower levels of certain hormones that stimulate appetite. Also, less frequent insulin spikes lead to less volatility of sugar levels in the body– which in turn leads to fewer cravings. Another possibility is that it could also be due to eating less of the bad carbs or the specific protein’s effect on hunger hormones and brain chemistry.
What current Studies Reveal….
More research is also required before experts will make full recommendations that people increase the protein in their diets, according to the American Dietetic Association.
Some new research even indicates that protein could be able to satisfy your hunger better than even fats or carbohydrates.
In this study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, people were put on a diet in which:
Fat was reduced to 20% of the total calories
Protein was increased to 30% of total calories
Carbs made up 50% of diet
People on that diet reported that they:
Another study in the Journal of Nutrition combined a high-protein diet with exercise. People in that study had:
How Much Protein Do You Need?
Protein is vital during at all stages of life. It’s the major building block for all cells, which includes your muscles and bones. It’s needed for:
The Institute of Health’s Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) recommendations permit for a wide range of protein intake. The range is anywhere from 10% to 35% of total calories for a normal, healthy adult.
For example, on a 2,000-calorie diet, you could safely eat anywhere from 50 grams (10% of calories) to 175 grams (35% of calories) of protein per day.
But the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for protein is:
Most people have no problem eating that much, but they would struggle to eat enough protein to make up 35% of their calories.
Is it possible to eat too much protein?
There are currently no known dangers associated with higher intakes of protein — unless you have kidney or liver disease. Now this information includes the assumption that the source of protein source being consumed is organic and/or free of hormones and antibiotics, etc..
To maximize the potential fat loss benefit, experts advise shooting for around 120 grams of protein per day. If you want to increase your protein intake, do not just ramp it up all in one day, it is recommended this be done slowly over the course of a week.
To be on the safe side, check with your doctor before adding large amounts of protein to your diet.