High protein diet helps to kick-start weight loss. Such a diet is optimal for a short period of time but not for long-term. It works by reducing the body’s insulin level, which force the body to burn fat instead.

A study done by in the UCLA Center for Human Nutrition, Department of Medicine, to determine the effects of protein enriched meal replacement on 100 obese men and women. The results showed that higher protein meal replacement resulted in significantly more fat loss and reduction in cholesterol.

For diabetes management, a high protein diet gives better control of blood sugar and it reduces insulin dependence. (For more information on how to prevent and reverse diabetes, check out the earlier post).

How much is enough?

Average 0.8 – 1g of protein per kg of body weight a day is sufficient for a normal adult. The amount of protein required depends on the lean body mass and not fat. Hence, for more accurate measurement, it is better to look at the ideal weight instead of actual weight.

To find you what is your ideal body weight, check out the ideal weight calculator.

Too much protein has side effects

If most of the protein you eat is mainly from meat, it comes with cholesterol and saturated fat. You can lose weight in the short-term because the high fat content can give you the feeling of full, so you eat fewer total calories. But it can increase LDL (bad cholesterol), which increases the risk of heart disease when you remain in this diet for a long period.

High meat and dairy products in your diet increases water loss because of high uric acid and urea in the blood, produced from the breakdown of protein. The body eliminates this uric acid by pumping lots of water to the kidney and urinary tract to flush out.

The drop in weight also contributed from water loss could lead to loss of minerals, including calcium. The body is then forced to draw calcium from the bone leading to osteoporosis.

Medical evidence shows that he body loses 1.75 mg of calcium for every 1 g increase in animal protein intake. The calcium that leached out gets deposited in the kidney causing painful kidney stones.

What are the alternatives?

A better way to lose weight for the long-term is to eat a balance diet of low-fat, high fiber and high in complex carbohydrates plus exercise. A good diet can reduce body fat and preserve lean muscle.

Replace meat based protein with plant base protein from nuts, beans and vegetables. Plant protein is high in fiber and low in cholesterol and saturated fat. When you eat a wide variety of plant-based protein, you can get most of the protein your body needs.

Plant protein reduces LDL, increases HDL (good cholesterol) and prevents plaque build up. It enhances calcium retention, reducing the risk of osteoporosis and kidney problems.

Have you tried out high protein diet to lose weight? Share your experience.

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