It’s pretty much well known that eating a high protein diet will help with rapid weight loss. But is this really the truth? I decided to get to the bottom of this, because it really fascinates me to know the best ways for healthy weight loss and I want to make sure you know the right things
So the typically myths we come across is that high protein gives you faster weight loss, it gives you that flat belly, and it helps build strong lean muscle. I’m sure to an extent this is very true, however there’s probably more to it that many don’t hear about.
So What are the drawbacks of a High-Protein Diet?
- Risk of metabolic ketosis– In a High protein, low-carb diet, carbohydrate stores are reduced and thus the body relies on fat as it’s primary energy source. This may seem like a good thing but this means the liver needs to work harder to break down the fatty acids which means they release ketone bodies into circulation. As a result of this actions, it will increase your risk of metabolic acidosis, which can potentially lead to a coma and death-(Foster et al., 2003)
- increase risk for cardiovascular disease in sources of protein from animals-This is primarily due to the higher fat intakes associated with these diets
- High-Protein diets can over-stress your Kidney’s because they are over-worked trying to remove excess nitrogen, which is caused from eating high amounts of animal protein
- High protein diets are associated with an increase in calcium excretion. This is apparently due to a consumption of animal protein, which is higher in sulfur-based amino acids than vegetable proteins (Remer and Manz, 1994; Barzel and Massey, 1998). Sulfur-based amino acids are thought to be the primary cause of calcium loss
- Liver disease risk-The American Heart Association has suggested that high protein diets may have detrimental effects on liver function (St. Jeor et al., 2001). This is primarily the result of a concern that the liver will be stressed through metabolising the greater protein intakes
So What are the Benefits of a High-Protein Diet?:
Here is a list of the 5 best benefits of protein:
- Weight Loss-Because unlike highly processed fats and carbs which get stored really quickly as fat. Protein stabilises blood sugar levels and helps reduce fat storage. It also reduces your appetite and helps reduce sugar cravings, which are the cause of weight gain.
- Constant Energy– Most carbs cause energy crashes. that’s where protein is different because it doesn’t do this. Alternatively it leaves you energised for hours.
- Improve Moods– Carbs are like sugars, as in they cause a huge sugar rush and thus also gives you the huge crash. Often as a result you can be lead to massive mood swings
- Repairs Tissue Damage– If you’re an active person than you’re likely to damage your muscle and joint tissue. But as long as you’re eating high quality protein, your body will have the resources it needs to heal and repair any damage.
- You’ll Develop A Faster Metabolism– Buy Being Active you develop strong muscle tissue and the more muscle you have the faster your metabolism burns. By getting enough protein in your diet helps you build the healthy fit muscle you need to have your metabolism burn fat like a furnace.
So what are the best protein sources to achieve all these benefits?
Here are 10 of the best sources of protein that that will help you get all the benefits!
- Meat and Poultry– contain all the essential amino acids your body requires, however according to Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (2004) “There have been a number of health concerns raised concerning the risks associated with protein emanating primarily from animal sources. Primarily, these health risks have focused on cardiovascular disease (due to the high saturated fat and cholesterol consumption), bone health (from bone resorption due to sulfur-containing amino acids associated with animal protein) and other physiological system disease”
- Eggs and Milk- Just like meat and poultry contain all essential amino acids. However consume moderately because both sources contain lots of fats and cholesterol. Large consumption of eggs and Milk can lead to heart disease by increasing your blood-cholesterol levels. The high caloric content may also lead to weight gain if you eat too many.
- Fish- is low in fat, calories and carbs and a high in protein. The British Heart Foundation also says eating oily fish ( such as sardines, pilchards, salmon and mackerel have the highest concentrations of omega-3 fatty acids) reduces risk of heart disease and improve your chances of survival following a heart attack. The Polyunsaturated fatty acids found in many fish may prevent damage to brain cells, A Swedish study of 6000 men over a 30-year period showed that those who didn’t eat any fish had between double and treble the risk of developing prostate cancer, compared to those who ate moderate or large amounts.However some fishes are high in Nitrogen just like meat and poultry, this means that it makes your body “acidic” when it is trying to digest it. when you’re body is acidic it means it doesn’t work in optimal state. This is when you feel drowsy and lack energy and concentration. Some of the best fish to consume are Salmon, Trout, Sole, or Halibut as they are less acidic forming.
- Whey Protein– Provides high levels of the essential amino acids. Whey protein powder is also rich in vitamins and minerals. It’s filling, low in fat, sugars and carbs!
- Soy Protein Isolate (soy protein powder)- Is the result of removing all carbs and fats from the soybean and results in 90% of protein. This is found in soy protein powders which make up a complete protein source.“Isolates are the most refined soy protein product containing the greatest concentration of protein, but unlike flour and concentrates, contain no dietary fiber”
What the expert say on soy protein overall…“soy protein was reported to be equivalent to animal protein with a score of 1.0, the highest possible rating” (Hasler, 2002). “Soy is a complete protein with a high concentration of BCAA’s. There have been many reported benefits related to soy proteins relating to health and performance (including reducing plasma lipid profiles, increasing LDL-cholesterol oxidation and reducing blood pressure)“based upon a multitude of studies examining the health benefits of soy protein the American Heart Association issued a statement that recommended soy protein foods in a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol to promote heart health (Erdman, 2000)
- Soy Concentrate Protein Powder- “Soy concentrate was developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s and is made from defatted soybeans. While retaining most of the bean’s protein content, concentrates do not contain as much soluble carbohydrates as flour, making it more palatable. Soy concentrate has a high digestibility” and is made up of 70% protein
- Soy Flour- is whole ground soy beans, which means they contain all their fats and carbs and are a 50% protein source.
- Soy Textured Protein (T.S.P)- Is the removal of just fats from soy flour. It’s then processed and pressed into graduals and chunks and is often used as a meat replacement.
- Pea Protein Powder– Contains all essential amino acids. It’s also low in calories, high in protein,, fat free, no carbs and no sugars. It’s easy to digest and it’s affordable. Plus it’s fantastic to bake with! Check out my pea protein recipes here
- legumes and Nuts– “Vegetable proteins, when combined provide all of the essential amino acids, and they provide an excellent source for protein considering that they will likely result in a reduction in the intake of saturated fat and cholesterol”
If you’re interested in reducing your intake of animal protein for health , environment or animal rights reasons then below’s list you’ll find very beneficial.
Here is a list of 12 Complete Vegetable Protein Sources which are made from combining “grains and legumes” and “Nuts/Seeds and Legume”. Check out the examples below:
- Beans and Rice
- Beans and quinoa
- Lentils and rice
- Chickpeas and quinoa
- Peas and rice
- Peas with gluten free pasta
- Whole wheat bead with peanut butter ( or Kamut and Spelt bread)
- Brown rice crackers with almond butter (or any other nut butter is fine too!)
- Lentils and almonds
- Toasted Chickpeas and Seeds
- Hummus (due to chickpeas and sesame seeds from tahini)
- Bean soup with brown rice crackers
Here are some of my most popular ” complete vegetable protein” recipes:
Gluten Free Spinach, Garlic Tofu Burgers:
Makes 14 patties ( 7 serves)
- 425g firm tofu
- 85g T.V.P
- 450g frozen spinach, thawed
- 1 cup oats
- 1 medium onion
- 4 garlic cloves
- Smoked paprika (add to your liking)
- Cumin (add to your liking)
- Salt and pepper (add to your liking)
- Coconut oil or Olive oil to cook with
- Soak T.V.P in boiling water for 20 minutes to absorb and wake up
- Thaw frozen spinach
- Blend Together tofu, T.V.P, raw onion, raw garlic and thawed spinach, in a powerful food processor
- Remove mixture and put into large mixing bowl
- Now add in oats and spices to the blender and blend well, into oats become a flour.
- Add oat mixture to the large bowl and combine everything together
- Cook 6-8 minutes each side on a fry pan with coconut oil or olive oil
Lentil and Mixed Bean Patties:
Makes 14 patties, or 7 serves
- 2 tins of lentils
- 2 tins of mixed beans
- 2 onions
- 6 garlic cloves
- 4 tbsp. olive oil
- 2 eggs
- ¼ cup sunflower seeds
- 1.5 cups soy flour (or flour of your choice, however it will be lower in protein by using a different flour)
- Soy flour to coat patties before baking or use gluten free flour
- Dried coriander
- Dried Parsley
- Grounded cumin
- Salt and pepper
- Sauté onion and garlic in olive oil with turmeric and cumin
- Blend beans, lentils, sunflower seeds, coriander, parsley, eggs and onion mixture in a high-powered food processor until everything is well combined
- Transfer mixture to a large mixing bowl and gradually add 1.5 cups of soy flour as your stirring
- Now roll your patties into coat patties with bread crumbs
- Place on trays flat down and drizzle with olive oil
- Bake 180 degrees Celsius of 15 minutes
Gluten Free Sugar Free High Protein Sugar Cookies
Makes 12 medium cookies
- 2 cups soy flour
- ½ cup avocado oil
- ¾ cup granulated Stevia (Natvia) or any natural sweetener of your choice
- 4 tbsp. flaxseed meal + 180mls water (egg replacement) (alternatives use 4 eggs or 8 egg whites for a low fat option)
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- ½ tsp. salt
- ½ tsp. vanilla extract
- 2 tsp. cinnamon
- Dairy Free/Sugar free Chocolate (to add just before baking on the top)
- Mix everything together in a large bowl expect for the chocolate
- Make 12 balls of mixture and press down on baking try with 3 fingers
- Grate chocolate and sprinkle on top of cookies before baking
- Bake for 24 minutes on 160 degree Celsius
What are some of your favourite ways to consume protein?
Till next time,