The Benefits of a High Protein Diet

Protein is important to build muscles, repair cells and tissue, and make enzymes that aid in digestion. It also helps transport oxygen to the brain and other organs, and supports a healthy immune system. Protein is found in meats, fish and dairy products as well as beans, lentils, quinoa, nuts and seeds. It’s essential to include a variety of foods in order to get the right balance of amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein. Some amino acids can be made by your body, while others must come from food sources – the ones that cannot be created by your body are known as essential amino acids. Foods that contain all of the essential amino acids are called complete proteins.

A high protein diet can have benefits for those who are trying to lose weight. High protein meals can boost satiety, increase thermic effect and improve glycemic control (which may help with managing type 2 diabetes). However, you need to be careful when following a high protein diet, as it can lead to an imbalance of metabolites that can cause your body to store fat and water.

The recommended dietary allowance, or RDA, of protein for adults is 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight per day, which is about 55 grams for a sedentary woman and 60 grams for a sedentary man. These recommendations are designed to prevent malnutrition. But a diet that is higher in protein than this can offer additional health benefits including increased muscle mass and improved metabolic conditions, such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

If you are interested in increasing your protein intake, start by removing processed carbs from your meals and snacks. This will help you to feel full and satisfied with smaller portions of food. You should also aim to have at least 25-30 grams of protein with each meal and snack.

Lean meats, such as chicken breast, pork loin and beef tenderloin are great sources of protein. A 3-ounce serving of beef offers about 21 g of protein. Fish, such as salmon and trout, also provide a good source of protein. A fillet of salmon has about 30 g of protein in it. Eggs also provide a protein-rich option. One hard boiled egg has about 6 g of protein. Nut butters, such as peanut butter and almond butter, are a convenient way to add protein to a meal or snack. Use them on whole grain toast or in a smoothie.

Vegetarians and vegans can easily meet their protein requirements by eating a variety of plant-based proteins like beans, quinoa, nuts and seeds. You can also try swapping some of the meat in dishes like chilli and Bolognese sauce with plant-based proteins. If going meat-free seems too big of a step, consider starting out by going vegetarian one day a week and slowly adding in more vegetarian meals.