Is it true that a high protein diet allows you to lose weight without starvation? How does a high protein diet make this possible? Let’s explain that.
A high protein diet is, as the name suggests, a diet plan based mainly on protein. You have probably heard by now that this diet allows you to lose weight quickly and that you can eat almost unlimited quantities of certain food.
What are proteins and why are they important?
To talk about the high protein diet and how it affects weight loss, we must first explain what is the role of protein in the body and why they are important
Proteins are complex molecules made of amino acids that are necessary for the construction of cells and organs in our body and for their functioning.
When we consume protein foods, proteins are broken down into these amino acids. They can be:
- Essential – amino acids that must be ingested through food.
- Non-essential – those that are created in the body through the breakdown of essential amino acids
It is clear that foods rich in protein are important for growth and development, especially in children and pregnant women, but also for every other person. Without protein, there is no cell construction and repair, and the structure and functioning of our organs will be disrupted over time.
What exactly is a high protein diet?
A high protein diet is a diet based on protein-rich foods, while at the same time reducing (or completely eliminating) foods rich in carbohydrates.
This way of eating enables the very fast loss of excess body weight and fat layers.
What actually happens in the body when you follow this diet?
The role of protein is not to melt the extra pounds. Although some amino acids are used in production of enzymes that allow food to break down, there is no catch. Their job is to keep you full!
Proteins are much harder to digest, so the body needs more time to break them down. This breakdown is the right job for your body, which it cannot do without consuming some source of energy. More work, therefore, automatically means more energy expended, or more calories expended.
That is a double benefit. You actually ingest fewer calories through meals and expend more calories to break them down than when you eat your usual diet.
The fact that they are broken down more slowly means that proteins stay in the body longer and are excreted more slowly. Therefore, they play their role in maintaining satiety and help the process of losing weight.
Whether we want to admit it or not, hunger is the greatest enemy of every diet!
The essence of weight loss in this diet is not in the intake of protein and maintaining satiety but in the reduced intake of carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are the ones that actually cause obesity and the formation of excess fat layers.
They break down in the body into simple sugars that our cells use as fuel. And that’s fine, as long as we don’t ingest that excess fuel. Then the body begins to store that excess as fat layers and cellulite.
What happens when we don’t eat carbohydrates?
It is simple – when the body does not get them from a source outside, through food, it begins to use those that are inside the body. The high protein diet aims to consume those reserves that the body has preserved!
One of the reasons why you lose weight quickly in this way is the fact that with this way of eating a lot of water is lost from the body. And the water is very heavy!
Carbohydrates are complex compounds that bind a lot of water. Less carbohydrates, therefore, means less water that goes in the package with them.
This also means a smaller number on the scales when measuring our weight!
However, few people consider dieting to lose water or muscle mass. Remember – the point of a diet should not be to lose weight. Your weight is made up of water and muscles and bones. Fat layers are usually a thorn in our side.
How do fat layers melt with a protein-rich diet?
The process is as follows – only after consuming carbohydrate reserves, the body begins to use fat as a source of energy. This process of losing fat is often called ketosis, and the high protein diet has its own variant called the ketogenic diet.
What is ketosis?
This is a term you will often come across if you set out to examine experiences with a high protein diet. And yes, you will often find that ketosis is a process harmful for your health, one of the reasons why you should avoid a protein-based diet.
Ketosis is not a disease, but it is often associated with diabetes.
And what is it really about?
Ketosis is a normal process that takes place in the body. When you don’t get enough carbohydrates in your body, it starts burning fat to get energy.
The goal of a high protein diet is to induce ketosis.
During this process, ketones are formed.
Are ketones harmful?
The health risk arises when ketones accumulate in the body. There is a change in the chemical balance of the blood and dehydration occurs. When ketones accumulate in the blood, it becomes acidic – this condition is called ketoacidosis.
This state of the organism is potentially dangerous and can lead to coma or death. It is a state of the body that you can associate with the disease.
Is there a risk of this when you are on a high protein diet?
Diabetics are at risk if they do not take insulin.
With people who do not suffer from diabetes, ketoacidosis rarely occurs and is not a consequence of a low-calorie diet, unless you exhaust yourself to such an extent that you literally start starving to death.
How much protein should be taken into the body per day?
Doctors claim that the required amount of protein for the body (DRI – Dietary Reference Intake) is approximately 0.36 grams per pound or 0.8 g per kilogram of body weight. A person of 9st 6lb (60kg) should consume 42g of protein per day. That is not impossible!
Let’s say 100g of cheese has 25g of protein. But we don’t just have proteins, do we? In fact, many of us ingest much less than this recommended amount. Along with them, the dose of carbohydrates is also implied, and we have already said that their excess is a direct cause of excess weight.
A high protein diet actually means an increased intake of protein foods compared to what we are used to.
There are several variants of these diets. Some are less and some more rigorous.
Rigorous diets involve eating only protein. Some of them are based only on meat, some only on eggs. Such diets usually last very short and fall into the category of “fast diets”.
What should we not eat with a high protein diet?
High protein diets are based on an increased intake of animal and plant proteins. There are foods that are strictly forbidden during high protein diets:
- deep-fried meat
- bread and pasta
- salty snacks
- all sweets and sugar in general
- starchy vegetables like potatoes, corn
- hazelnuts and peanuts
- industrial spreads, margarine, mayonnaise, sauces, and cheeses
- sweetened drinks and juices
- It is important to note that it is forbidden to consume alcohol during a high protein diet.
Allowed foods for high protein diet
All protein-rich foods can be eaten during a high protein diet. Following are recommended:
- All kinds of meat and fish: chicken, turkey, beef, veal, pork, lamb, all kinds of offal, venison, cured meats and sausages, sardines, tuna, salmon… You can prepare it in different ways, except frying.
- Eggs – 1 egg has about 6g of protein
- Salads: lettuce, peppers, tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, cabbage, seafood
- Legumes rich in protein – black beans, lentils and soy
- Bananas (moderately in the last stages of the diet)
- Vegetables (except potatoes and peas) and mushrooms
- Low-fat milk and dairy products, homemade yogurt and sour milk, cheese
- Nuts: Brazil nuts, almonds, walnuts
- Pumpkin, sunflower and flax seeds
- Drinks: water, mineral water, lemonade, coffee, and sugar-free teas
Too much meat and eggs in the diet can cause constipation, so it is recommended to include salads, seeds, and dairy products in every meal.
As with most diets, the secret to the successful weight loss with a high protein diet is the intake of as much protein as possible, the right combination of foods and the will to persevere in all phases of the diet.
Are proteins of plant or animal origin better?
The first association with high protein diets were mostly ovals full of meat. However, you should know that the richest and healthiest sources of protein are lean meat and fish, dairy products, vegetables, fruits, and legumes. Red meat usually contains a lot of fat, so it is not recommended, unlike poultry and fish.
Proteins of animal origin, and especially lean meat and fish, contain all the essential amino acids, so they are also called complete or real proteins.
Plant proteins do not contain all the amino acids, so they are said to be incomplete proteins. Plants with a large amount of protein are peas, green beans, lentils, cereals, pumpkins, hemp seeds, coconut, soy products…
Proteins in our body are constantly broken down and built. When we take in proteins, the juices in the stomach break them down into amino acids that are combined to produce the necessary proteins for the body.
Depending on the combination of amino acids, enzymes, hormones, muscles, hair, skin are formed, and the work of the immune system is stimulated.
Plant proteins have less fat, and a high content of fiber, vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals that improve health and prevent diseases. Therefore, plant proteins have a certain advantage over animal proteins, and it is most effective when both types of proteins are balanced in the diet.
How many pounds can you lose with a high protein diet?
All high protein diets are fast and effective methods of weight loss without starvation and in a natural way. The results are visible quickly, but after the first week, the scales will show 0.5 – 1.5lb (1-3kg).
The experiences of users with a high protein diet vary, but there are people who claim that with the help of a high protein diet, they lost about 2.5 lb (5 kg)? A week and did not feel hungry at all.
Although this rate of weight loss can be extremely motivating, you should be careful with high protein diets because they can never be a permanent way of nutrition.
Experts believe that this diet without carbohydrates, fats, and fruits should be limited to a maximum of two weeks, so take a longer break until a new cycle.
High protein diets, although very effective, have their drawbacks.
Advantages and disadvantages of high protein diets
High protein diets are by far the fastest and most effective diets for weight loss. This is their biggest advantage and the reason why they are popular with people all over the world. Weight loss will be followed by fatigue and constant tiredness. You will notice less weight in the first week of your protein diet.
Another advantage of high protein diets is that foods rich in protein give a feeling of satiety for a long time, so you will not have the impression that you are starving, which is often the case with low-calorie diets, for example. The high protein diet menu is quite colorful, and the combinations of meat, vegetables, dairy products, and seeds give you the possibility to eat different meals every day.
The biggest drawback of high protein diets, especially the keto diet, is the complete exclusion of carbohydrates in the first two weeks while the so-called restrictive phase lasts. Until the body adapts to the new way of eating, you may feel weakness, dizziness, lack of concentration, and irritability. All this disappears over time, and healthy sugars are gradually introduced into the menu.
One of the common disadvantages of a high protein diet is the appearance of problems with bowel movements (constipation). It is solved by including more plant proteins on the menu because they also contain fiber that will stimulate the digestive system.
Some people also have an acetone-like breath odor due to the large amount of meat on the menu.
Fruit lovers are certainly not big fans of high protein diets, because the fruit is on the list of strictly forbidden foods, especially in the beginning. Even though it looks varied, the menu of high protein diets, in particular, is poor for certain foods that the body desperately needs for normal work.
That is why high protein diets are limited in time and a necessary break is suggested between cycles in which you will eat all foods, of course in moderation and making healthier choices.
During high protein diets, you need to consume large amounts of water, which will help the kidneys process toxins more easily. Otherwise, kidney patients should consult a doctor before starting a high protein diet.
If you have looked at the list of foods rich in protein, what is allowed, and what is forbidden with a high protein diet, it is not difficult to design a protein menu on your own.
The rules are very simple – each meal should contain real, quality proteins (eggs, meat, dairy products) in combination with vegetables, and you can take some of the nuts or seeds for a snack. The gradual introduction of portions of fruit starts only when you reach the desired weight.
In order not to further burden the kidneys and the body in general, avoid meat products (salami, sausages, bacon, pate…) and focus on fish, poultry, and occasionally red meat, without skin and with as little fat as possible.
Never fry meat, always cook or grill it. Here’s why: 100 g of fried chicken contains 6 times more fat than grilled skinless chicken.
It is best to calculate your protein needs.
You need to ingest 0.5-0.7 grams per pound (1.2-1.6 grams of protein per kilogram) of body weight per day. In this way you will encourage the melting of the accumulated fat without losing muscle mass.
To make it easier for you, we have prepared several menu suggestions for a high protein diet that you can stick to strictly or they can be an inspiration for your own protein menu.
Breakfast: Omelet of 3 egg whites, with chopped peppers and a handful of spinach
Snack 1: 100g chicken (grilled or cooked without skin) and half a red pepper
Lunch: 1 grilled chicken breast, mixed fresh salad with red pepper, green beans and 1 tablespoon olive oil
Snack 2: 100 g of turkey breast with half a fresh cucumber
Dinner: 100g grilled turkey breast with steamed broccoli
Breakfast: 100g roasted chicken breast with kale
Snack 1: 100g turkey breast and half a green pepper
Lunch: Cod (or other fish) in fillets with mixed lettuce and 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
Snack 2: 100g turkey breast with steamed broccoli
Dinner: Salmon steak with chopped dill and cooked broccoli
Breakfast: 100g smoked salmon with spinach
Snack 1: 100g chicken breast with half a yellow pepper
Lunch: 1 grilled chicken breast, seasonal salad and 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
Snack 2: 100g turkey breast with ¼ avocado
Dinner: 1 or 2 grilled lamb steaks, cooked broccoli and spinach
Breakfast: Scrambled eggs (one whole egg or 2 egg whites only), tomato, green beans
Snack 1: 100g turkey with half a fresh cucumber
Lunch: Baked cod with salad, tomato, spinach and 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil
Snack 2: 100g chicken breast with ½ grilled zucchini
Dinner: 100g chicken breast with Chinese vegetable mixture (add ½ tablespoons olive oil) and lettuce
Breakfast: 200g turkey breast with ¼ avocado and ¼ fresh cucumber
Snack 1: 2 hard-boiled eggs and half a red pepper
Lunch: 150g grilled prawns with lettuce and tomato, ½ tablespoons olive oil
Snack 2: 100g turkey breast with 5 almonds
Dinner: 100g chicken breast with cooked broccoli
Breakfast: 1 grilled cod fillet with roasted peppers and zucchini
Snack 1: 100g chicken with tomato
Lunch: 150g turkey with lettuce, boiled broccoli and ½ tablespoons of olive oil
Snack 2: 100g chicken with 5 walnuts
Dinner: 150-200g steak with boiled broccoli and green beans
Breakfast: Omelet of 3 egg whites, grilled tomatoes and boiled spinach
Snack 1: 100g turkey with 5 cashews
Lunch: 150g chicken breast with asparagus and lettuce
Snack 2: 100g turkey with ¼ fresh cucumber
Dinner: Grilled duck or turkey breast without skin and broccoli
With this menu, you will consume about 100g of protein a day, which will provide weight loss in a healthy and natural way, without starvation.
Breakfast: 3 eggs, a slice of whole-grain toast, 1 tablespoon almond butter
Lunch: Salad of fresh avocado, cheese and 1 orange
Dinner: Steak of about 200 g, sweet potatoes, and grilled zucchini
Breakfast: Smoothie with one serving of protein powder, a cup of coconut milk and strawberries
Lunch: Can of salmon fillet (about 150 g), green vegetables seasoned with olive oil and vinegar
Dinner: 120 grams of grilled chicken with quinoa and prosciutto – Brussels sprouts? prokelj
Breakfast: Oat bran and a cup of Greek yogurt and ¼ chopped pecans or some other stone fruit – nuts?
Lunch: 150 g chicken with avocado and red pepper
Dinner: Vegetable and meat soup and brown rice
Breakfast: Omelet of 3 eggs and 30 grams of cheese, black olives
Lunch: Vegetable and meat soup and integral rice
Dinner: 115 g of fish, lentils and broccoli
Breakfast: 1 cup of cottage cheese, ¼ cups of chopped walnuts with cinnamon
Lunch: 115 g canned salmon, 1 tablespoon homemade mayonnaise, wheat germ bread and carrots
Dinner: Spaghetti with chicken meatballs in sauce
Breakfast: Omelet of 3 eggs, 30 g of cheese and half a cup of chopped potatoes
Lunch: Spaghetti with chicken meatballs in sauce
Dinner: 85 g shrimp with grilled garlic and pepper, guacamole sauce and a cup of black beans in a corn tortilla
Breakfast: Protein pumpkin pancakes, with a cup of chopped pecans
Lunch: a cup of Greek yogurt with 1/4 cup of mixed nuts
Dinner: 170 g of grilled salmon, potatoes and boiled spinach
The ideal protein diet for fast fat melting
The ideal protein diet was devised by Dr. Tran Tien Chanh of the Paris Clinic, one of the most influential experts in the field of modern nutrition.
Answer the question – do you want to eat less or better? If you want to lose weight permanently, then you should learn to make the right dietary choices, and according to Dr. Chan, these are by no means carbohydrates.
Dr. Chan’s ideal protein diet is based on consuming real proteins of plant and animal origin, and not just high-protein foods. All carbohydrates are forbidden, so the body is practically forced to draw energy from fat reserves, and in that way efficient weight loss occurs.
In the first three weeks of the diet, light exercises are recommended, and after that you can increase physical activity. Until the body adapts to functioning without carbohydrates, in the first phase you can feel mild fatigue, dizziness and irritability.
Phase I – Active weight loss
The first restrictive phase lasts until you reach the desired weight. Meals consist exclusively of protein foods of plant and animal origin.
You should take about 200g of the highest quality protein (fish, seafood, poultry, veal, beef, eggs, tofu cheese) and one serving of vegetables that do not contain starch, the best is green vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, kale, cucumbers, peppers…
If you get hungry between meals, you can take some nuts or seeds for a snack, and plenty of water and vitamin supplements are also recommended.
At this stage, the loss of water from the body happens first, but after one week, you should start losing fat layers. You can lose about 1.5 lb – 6 lb? (3 kg) in a week, and you will stabilize your blood pressure and the level of bad cholesterol.
Phase II – Restrictive two-week phase
Although you have more freedom in designing meals, they should still basically contain a maximum of 200g of real protein and the same amount of vegetables. So, quality meat and a portion of salad is what makes the main meals at this stage as well.
This phase lasts for two weeks, and fruit is still a forbidden item on the menu. Weight loss will be followed by fatigue and constant tiredness.
Phase III – Fruits and cereals for breakfast
At this stage, calorie intake is gradually increased, in order to maintain an ideal weight.
Lunch and dinner are still the same – meat and vegetables. You can take fruit for breakfast, but the one with less carbohydrates (20g maximum) and cereals with a maximum of 30g of carbohydrates and low-calorie dairy products (less than 120 calories).
The third phase also lasts two weeks.
Phase IV – Weight maintenance
This phase will become your lifestyle. With a balanced intake of protein, carbohydrates and fats, you will maintain your ideal weight and good health. Your body is already accustomed to the new way of eating and cooperates with you in the right way.
Quality meat and vegetables should always be your first choice for main meals.
High protein diet – 20lb (9kg) in 15 days
This popular high protein diet is not one of the healthiest choices, but if you are completely healthy and you need to lose weight quickly and efficiently, you can try it.
With this diet, only unsweetened coffee is drunk for breakfast, and it is allowed to eat a few crackers or 1 toast after the 3rd day if it becomes too difficult for you to start the day with coffee alone.
Drink plenty of water, herbal teas and include some vitamin supplement, so as not to harm your health while losing extra pounds.
Breakfast: Sugar-free coffee
Lunch: 2 Boiled eggs with spinach cooked in salted water
Dinner: 1 Large steak baked in a little oil and lettuce
Breakfast: Sugar-free coffee
Lunch: 1 Large grilled steak with lettuce and portion of fruit as desired
Dinner: You can eat cooked ham as much as you want
Breakfast: Sugar-free coffee
Lunch: 2 Boiled eggs with 1 tomato and lettuce
Dinner: Cooked ham and lettuce
Breakfast: Sugar-free coffee
Lunch: Boiled beets or carrots with 1 boiled egg and 100 g of cottage cheese
Dinner: Natural yogurt in the amount you like and seasonal fruit
Breakfast: Sugar-free coffee and grated carrot or beet with lemon
Lunch: 1 Large boiled fish and 1 tomato
Dinner: 1 Large grilled steak and lettuce
Breakfast: Sugar-free coffee
Lunch: Grilled chicken
Dinner: Carrot or beet with 2 boiled eggs
Breakfast: Sugar-free tea (if you want you can squeeze a lemon)
Lunch: 1 Large steak baked in 1-2 teaspoons of oil, salad of your choice, the fruit of your choice
Dinner: Take anything you want from the menu
High protein diet experiences and results
The results with high protein diets are really great. Negative experiences are related to the initial period when due to a drastic reduction of carbohydrates in the daily diet, weakness, lethargy, and even fainting can occur. Such experiences should not discourage you because it is the body’s response.
Modern people are accustomed to enormous amounts of sugar and carbohydrates. A high protein diet returns you to a more normal diet because if it were normal to eat such foods you would not even be overweight.
All nutritionists agree that increasing the amount of protein in the diet is a great way to lose weight. The results and excellent experiences of people whose choice was one of the high protein diets speak in favor of that.
Did you follow a high protein diet too? Are the results as expected? What are your experiences? Share them with our readers who are interested in the high protein diet in comments below. Your comment can surely be of great use to them. Thank you!
- What Are the Principal Roles of Protein in the Body?
- What are proteins and what do they do?
- The Chemistry of Amino Acids
- Protein and Amino Acids
- Amino Acid
- DKA (Ketoacidosis) & Ketones
- Diabetic ketoacidosis
- Diabetic Ketoacidosis Symptoms
- The Difference Between Complete and Incomplete Proteins
- Are Plant Proteins Complete Proteins?