The proteins , alongside carbohydrates and fats, is a macronutrient that should be consumed daily to meet the body’s needs. The reference dietary intake for proteins is 0.8 grams per kilogram of weight. However, much evidence supports the idea that a higher protein intake acts to assist weight loss, in addition to presenting other health benefits .
In the body, proteins perform the functions of repairing muscles , bones, skin and hair , participate in the formation of hormones and enzymes and in the transport and storage of important molecules, among other functions.
The protein molecule is made up of smaller units known as amino acids. Of the 22 existing amino acids, 9 are considered “essential amino acids”, which means that they are absolutely necessary for the functioning of the body. Our bodies cannot produce them and they must be obtained through food.
Some foods provide more protein than others. In general, animal products are considered “complete proteins” because they contain all the essential amino acids in the ideal amounts for the body. The proteins vegetables do not provide adequate amounts of all essential amino acids but can be combined with other sources to produce proteins complete.
Animal proteins can be found in dairy products, meat, eggs, fish, etc. Beans, vegetables, grains, soy, nuts and seeds are examples of plant foods rich in protein . Although the quality of the protein is important, the amount that is consumed is essential.
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What is a high protein diet?
The high-protein diet is one in which there is a greater consumption of proteins and fats, combined with a lower daily intake of carbohydrates. The high protein diet prioritizes meats, dairy products and vegetables, and reduces or excludes pasta, bread, sweets, most fruits and other sources of carbohydrates from the menu. With that, it makes you lose weight quickly, especially in the first days.
How does the high protein diet make you lose weight?
Increasing protein intake decreases appetite and body weight and has beneficial effects (increase) on metabolic rate and body composition. Eating more protein can help delay hunger and increase the production of hormones that help people feel full. In addition, it reduces levels of ghrelin, the “hunger hormone”.
Due to these effects on appetite and satiety, increased protein intake usually leads to a natural reduction in food intake. The protein’s ability to suppress the urge to eat, promote a feeling of fullness and increase metabolism can help you lose weight, but increased protein intake can also help protect against muscle loss, keep the metabolic rate high and protect muscles (due to the fact that protein is responsible for muscle building). For these reasons, it makes weight loss effective and improves body composition.
It is of fundamental importance not to confuse the high protein diet with the high calorie diet. While the high protein diet aims to lose weight and strengthen muscles , the high calorie diet has the main objective of gaining weight.
Other benefits of a high protein diet in addition to losing weight
In addition to their favorable effects on body weight, proteins can help improve health in several other ways, but these effects depend on the time and how this diet is made:
- Increase muscle mass , shaping the body better.
- Reduce muscle loss during aging ( sarcopenia ).
- Improve healing of wounds, bedsoresor scars from surgery.
What are the risks that exist in a high-protein diet?
The hyperprotein diet should not become a weight-loss-fattening-weight-gaining accordion … For that, it must become a new dietary style, rather than a temporary diet. This increases the risks of this way of eating and therefore it must be supervised by a nutritionist doctor or a nutritionist .
In the same way that the lack of a nutrient can lead to damage to your health , so can the excess of it. Therefore, the high-protein diet, even in a healthy person, must be closely monitored by a professional in the field. This monitoring is even more necessary if the person has a pre-existing disease.
There is practically no evidence of unfavorable effects of proteins on the development of chronic diseases, as a consequence of a well-guided high-protein diet. However, there are some dangers if it is not properly monitored.
The high protein diet can induce an increase in the effort made by the kidneys when performing their functions. This effect will increase the glomerular filtration rate and the pressure on the glomerular capillaries which, associated with a pre-existing kidney disease can cause permanent glomerular damage.
As a rule, foods high in protein and low in carbohydrates are also low in fiber. Thus, it is possible that a high protein diet causes some difficulties in digestion and constipation .
The high-protein diet releases a large number of ketone bodies, which, in excess, can cause bad breath and nausea .
If the high-protein diet is taken to exaggeration, with a drastic withdrawal of carbohydrates , it acidifies the blood a lot , which is common in some types of cancers. In addition, a diet made on these bases can raise blood pressure and cholesterol and lead to the effect of missing those ingredients.
Another risk of excessive protein consumption is that of suffering bone problems and osteoporosis . Although the protein consumed at standard levels is related to bone growth and maintenance, preventing osteoporosis , the high-protein diet can be harmful to bone health because the increase in protein in the diet negatively affects calcium retention, and can lead to bone loss. by induction of metabolic acidosis in the body.
In addition, the high-protein diet increases the chances of uric acid elevation.
The current recommendation is to consult a nutritionist or nutritionist before starting this type of diet, since it is known that its long-term use can cause important metabolic changes and kidney problems. Individuals with kidney problems, diabetes mellitus and other chronic diseases need to be especially careful with high protein intake and should not make this type of dietary change without specific guidance as to the risks and benefits.