Have you ever been told that high protein diets are bad for you? Maybe you’ve even heard someone say that high protein will cause kidney damage. It’s obvious that the talk of high protein diets is controversial, even with experts. But, we’re not talking about “high” protein diets here that eliminate carbohydrates. That is really an unbalanced diet. Actually, we’re talking about including healthy portions of lean protein to every meal and snack that includes a healthy portion of carbohydrates and essential fats to make the perfect diet plan. It’s important to eat a complete, lean protein with every meal. Though research shows that a higher protein diet is completely safe in healthy individuals and contributes to a healthier body, it is very difficult to get adequate amounts with the three typical meals of the day. To eat lean protein meals at just breakfast, lunch, and dinner is usually not enough. You may have to include a protein with your snack meals too. Besides, eating protein with all meals, including snacks, eliminates the unbalanced diet.
Wondering why protein is so good for the body?
Well, there are many reasons, but these are a few of the healthiest benefits and even maximize fat loss:
- Protein is thermogenic and can lead to a higher metabolic rate. It requires 25 to 30 percent of energy for metabolic processing (i.e., digestion, absorption, and assimilation) which is much higher than carbohydrates at 6 to 8 percent and fat at 2 to 3 percent. This means higher fat loss during dieting and less fat gain while overeating.
- Protein increases glucagons which is a hormone that fights the effects of insulin. Additionally, it helps decrease the making and storing of fat in adipose and liver cells. This also means higher fat loss during dieting and less fat gain while overeating.
- Protein increases IGF-1 which is an anabolic hormone that increases muscle growth. Higher IGF-1 spares muscle while dieting and increases muscle mass while overfeeding.
- By increasing protein while decreasing carbohydrates, LDL cholesterol and triglycerides (the bad fats) are lowered while HDL (the good fats) are increased.
Not sure what lean protein sources to include?
Well, look no further. These are the cleanest, or healthiest, protein sources available so try to include them in your menus:
- Meats such as lean beef, skinless chicken breast, white turkey, bison, venison, and pork tenderloin.
- Fish such as salmon, tuna, cod, and mackerel.
- Egg whites.
- Low-fat dairy such as cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, Feta cheese, Parmesan cheese, or string cheese.
- Non-animal sources such as tofu, tempeh, soy burgers, soy jerky, soy sausage, or seitan.
When you are on the go and don’t have time to prepare a meal, you may want to even try a milk protein supplement such as whey, casein, or milk protein blends.
How much protein should you eat?
While not everyone likes to count calories and macronutrients, an easy method to figure your protein serving size would be to use the “eyeball” method. A serving size of protein for a woman is usually between 20 to 30 grams or the size of the palm of her hand. For men, a serving size would be 40 to 60 grams or two palms. Each serving of protein should be complimented with a serving of complex carbohydrates such as dark green leafy or colorful vegetables or metabolic boosting fruits. Metabolic boosting fruits may include apples, pears, grapefruits, or berries. Whole grains may compliment a couple of protein servings per day which may include oatmeal, brown or wild rice, or sweet potatoes.
Also include a serving of essential fats with your protein: olive oil, flax seed, avocados, olives, walnuts, and almonds. The perfect diet plan combines all the healthy choices of protein, carbohydrates, and essential fats. Have a problem with fatigue? What about losing weight? Has it been difficult? Then eat lean protein meals throughout the day and see your energy skyrocket! More so, watch the scale go down and your clothes get baggy. Make sure you eat lean protein with all of your meals and discard the unbalanced diet. With balanced meals, you will be healthier, perform better, and even look better. Balanced meals are the perfect diet plan.