The high protein diet has grown in popularity over the past few years, and what it consists of is consuming a high amount of protein while sacrificing the amount of carbohydrates being eaten, which in turn is supposed to aid in weight loss potential. But does this actually work? Or is it just another fad diet that will come and go in the later years to come? Let’s take a further look into this high protein diet and actually see what benefits or harm comes from it!
How your Metabolism Works
Your metabolism usually uses carbohydrates (which contain glucose) in order to provide your body with the energy it needs to function properly on a daily basis, but what happens when you take away these carbs? Your body is going to have to switch over to a new source of “fuel” to create energy, and what is going to be used instead is body fat. This change in your metabolism burning fat instead of carbs is called a metabolic switch, which creates a condition known as ketosis.
Ketosis does provide benefits to weight loss since it is causing your body to burn fat and suppresses the craving for food, but then again very dangerous since there is the possibility of organ failure or kidney stones. The reason why is because your organs, such as the heart, need carbs to function properly; and fat is just not a good enough substitute for this process to take place.
High Protein Consumption
Protein is a macronutrient that your body needs to function properly and stimulate the repair of muscle tissue, among other health benefits as well. Other macronutrients needed are carbs and fats, but you are taking away carbs while on a high protein diet and replacing them solely with fat and protein. The purpose of the excess in protein is to make your body feel fuller throughout the day, which causes appetite suppression. However, the primary reason people seek to follow a high protein diet is because protein is slow at digesting, and causes your body to burn more calories during the break down of protein in your digestive system.
The Good and the Bad
So the end result of a high protein diet is weight loss since your appetite is controlled, calories are being burned in an increased amount, and because your body is using your stored fat as energy. This sounds great, but there is the bad side to this as well. You will feel lethargic and light headed since you have no glucose from carbs for energy, and even when the metabolic switch occurs your body is not going to feel fully back to normal until you eat carbs to replenish your glycogen, which is stored glucose. Plus, as mentioned, organ failure is a possibility that needs to be considered when debating on whether or not to take part in a high protein diet.
Physicians have recommended that individuals only follow this type of diet for no longer than six months max, but you should consult your own to make sure it is safe to even start trying in the first place. The biggest thing to remember is that you need to actually meet the recommended daily amount of protein each day to stay within the bounds of not having a nutrient deficiency, and you can achieve this from eating foods such as fish, beef, chicken, or using a protein supplement as well while on a high protein diet.