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Is a Protein-Heavy Diet Good for You?

Is a Protein-Heavy Diet Good for You?



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Reevaluating the claim that everyone needs more protein

According to the National Center for Health Statistics, the average American adults consume more than double their recommended protein intake.

Thanks to modern marketing, protein has become the “nutrient du jour,” in the last few years. Protein is now viewed as a cure-all nutrient that can help people stay fuller for longer and thus lose weight.

Protein has also been proven to be essential for developing muscle mass, a healthy immune system, and stabilizing hormones among other necessary bodily functions.

Recent studies have shown, however, that the meat and dairy-heavy American diet is already rich in protein, and thus may not need the protein-fortified granola bars and smoothies that now line the grocery store shelves.

What’s more, though protein may be the key to successful weight loss in some people, health professionals remind consumers that “protein needs are not one-size-fits-all.” Depending on your weight and activity level, excessive protein intake can actually lead to weight gain. Extra calories are stored as fat regardless of whether they originate in carbohydrate-heavy or protein-rich foods.

Having a little extra protein in your diet isn’t always a bad thing, especially if you follow a vegan or vegetarian diet. Finding out the correct protein needs for your specific lifestyle can be the key to a truly balanced diet.


I went on a protein-heavy diet and here’s why I don’t recommend it

Protein is a boon for weight loss but too much of it can make things go horribly wrong. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

I have always read and heard that it’s 70 per cent of your diet and 30 per cent of your physical exercise that determine your weight loss journey. I categorically remember the day when my trainer instructed me to add more proteins to my diet if I want to lose weight. Turns out, I misunderstood him because because what I thought he meant was that more protein means more weight loss but I was totally wrong.

Moderation is the key. However, by the time I understood this, it was too late for me. That’s why I want to share my experience so that none of you fall prey to what I did.

These are the five reasons that make me understood that eating too much protein can have adverse effects on the body:

1. I included too much protein in my diet and ended up gaining 4 more kilos
Yes, eating too much protein can lead to weight gain. I was in complete shock when I used the weighing machine and found out, that instead of losing, I’ve gained weight. The main culprits were eggs and chicken, the two things on which I was surviving. Excessive protein spiked up my cholesterol level, making me flabby instead of flat.

When I narrated this weight gain saga to my trainer, he told me that I need to bring moderation in consuming protein as it gets stored in our body in the form of fat. Too much amino acid released by it can lead to weight gain.

I was literally surviving on eggs. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

2. It made me dehydrated and bloated
I used to feel thirsty all the time when I was on the protein diet. When I spent time researching on it, I found that when there is too much protein in the body, the kidney has to work extra hard to flush it out. Due to this, important minerals like magnesium, potassium, and sodium are also flushed from the body which causes severe dehydration. This also added to my fatigue level and at times, I used to experience severe headaches. This also lead to bloating for me.

3. The smell of my breath suddenly became foul
My breath wasn’t that bad when I used to gulp garlic on an empty stomach but too much protein also gave me a bad breath. This happened due to the process called ketosis where stored fat was burned by my body to release energy since I was on a low-carbs diet.

My breath was horrible. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

4. I was unable to poop properly
A protein diet doesn’t have that much fibre in it which affected my gut and I ended up with constipation.

5. I had some major mood swings
Only carbs can bring joy to me, be it in the form of paratha, chhole bhature, or a good serving of pasta. Honestly, just thinking about these makes me feel good. All this happens because carbs are known to boost serotonin levels which keep the mood in check. When I was on a low-carb diet, I used to be so irritable and fussy.

So, this was my story. Too much protein turned my life upside down instead of nurturing my body. That’s why, if you’ll ask me my views on protein, I’d straight up tell you moderation is key.

Nikita Bhardwaj

Six-pack abs are all that Nikita needs, along with her daily dose of green tea. At Health Shots, she produces videos, podcasts, stories, and other kick-ass content.


What is Olly Protein?

Olly Protein is a plant-powered protein that comes with a concise ingredient list. The supplement is available in four flavors:

  • Sports — “Whey and pea proteins promote similar strength, performance, body composition, and muscular adaptations following 8-weeks of HIFT.”
  • Current Developments in Nutrition — “A high-protein breakfast containing WPI or PPI exerts comparable effects on appetite, energy expenditure, and 24-h energy intake in both young and older healthy adult men.” — “The consumption of pea protein promotes gains in biceps brachii thickness and especially in beginners or people returning to weight training.”

Olly Protein Competitors

This is how much it costs to start on the respective program. We always recommend trying a product before making a large investment.

  • = Initial product cost is less than $5
  • = Initial product cost is between $6 and $50
  • = Initial product cost is between $51 and $150
  • = Initial product cost is $151 or more

Carlene Thomas/Eat This, Not That!

Beets are another anti-inflammatory food. With a smoothie like this to start your morning, your body will be at peak productivity throughout the day and burning calories with your boosted metabolism. Besides, who doesn't like a delicious smoothie in the morning?

Get the recipe for Blood Orange Beet Smoothies.


Why You Should Choose Overnight Protein Oats For Breakfast

What separates Overnight Protein Oats from so many other breakfast options is the amount of high-quality protein that is packed in each serving. There are over 30g of Whey protein in every shake. That is more than the amount of protein in 4 oz of chicken breast or 4 eggs!

What is also great about Overnight Protein Oats is that whey protein is a complete protein, meaning that it has all 9 essential amino acids. Most non-animal protein sources are incomplete and do not provide the essential amino acids that your body needs to use to keep your body running in optimal condition.

Overnight Protein Oats is also extremely nutrient dense, and contains substantial amounts of fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Calcium, iron, and polyunsaturated fats (the good kind) while staying low in sugar.

Our Overnight Oats Comes In 3 Delicious Flavors

In addition to the overnight oats being extremely healthy and nutrient-packed, it is also delicious and comes in 3 unique flavors!

What Are You Waiting For?

If your goal is to lose weight, gain muscle, and increase lean body mass, then it is a no-brainer! Start eating protein for breakfast and experience the benefits today!

Source:

About Oats Overnight

Enjoy the benefits of eating breakfast with none of the work. Overnight oatmeal loaded with superfoods like flax, chia, maca root, and 20g+ of protein. No recipes needed. Life Is Hard, Make Breakfast Easy.


Mediterranean Diet Good for Gut Health: Here’s What to Eat

A new study shows that a Mediterranean diet and plant-based foods are associated with a high level of good bacteria in the gut that have anti-inflammatory properties. This type of diet can help manage intestinal diseases.

A new study shows that a Mediterranean diet and plant-based foods are associated with a high level of good bacteria in the gut that have anti-inflammatory properties. This type of diet can help manage intestinal diseases. Dutch researchers from the University Medical Center Groningen in the Netherlands presented their study at the United European Gastroenterology (UEG) meeting in Barcelona.

The researchers studied four groups: the general population, individuals with Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis and patients with irritable bowel and analyzed the relation between diet and gut microbiota. They found that certain foods such as beans, fish, nuts and wine were associated with increased levels of good gut bacteria. This bacteria helps in the synthesis of essential nutrients and short-chain fatty acids which are the main source of energy for cells lining the colon. The findings support the idea that the diet could be an effective management strategy for intestinal diseases, through the modulation of the gut bacteria.

It is important to note that a higher intake of meat, fast foods or refined sugar was associated with a decrease in the benefits associated with this good gut bacteria.

According to the lead researcher Laura Bolte, a dietitian, “The results indicate that diet is likely to become a significant and serious line of treatment or disease management for diseases of the gut – by modulating the gut microbiome”.

It is easy to include more of these protective foods in your diet:

  • Have 2 servings a week of beans as a main course, some easy ideas include Greek lentils and one pot black-eyed peas. The next day you can repurpose them like I did above: I mixed yesterday’s lentils with tomatoes, capers and tuna.
  • Start adding fish to your diet, frozen and canned is just fine, check out this my tips on how to eat more fish.
  • Add more vegetables. Did you know that in the average Greek traditional diet the intake of vegetables is about a pound a day? Cooking your vegetables like the Mediterranean do, is an easy and delicious way to eat more. Check my post for more tips on eating more vegetables.

*Update: As many of you are asking about the photo above, it is how I repurpose lentils. I make the traditional Greek lentil stew and the I keep the leftovers in the refrigerator. The next I’ll mix the lentils with capers, chopped Kalamata olives, cherry tomatoes (sometimes sun-dried tomatoes and sometimes I’ll add tuna like I did above). I drizzle with a bit of olive oil and vinegar.

Source

Bolte, L. et al. 2019. Towards anti-inflammatory dietary recommendations based on the relation between food and the gut microbiome composition in 1423 individuals. Presented at UEG Week Barcelona October 21, 2019.


Should you try the keto diet?

In the world of weight-loss diets, low-carbohydrate, high-protein eating plans often grab attention. The Paleo, South Beach, and Atkins diets all fit into that category. They are sometimes referred to as ketogenic or "keto" diets.

But a true ketogenic diet is different. Unlike other low-carb diets, which focus on protein, a keto plan centers on fat, which supplies as much as 90% of daily calories. And it's not the type of diet to try as an experiment.

"The keto diet is primarily used to help reduce the frequency of epileptic seizures in children. While it also has been tried for weight loss, only short-term results have been studied, and the results have been mixed. We don't know if it works in the long term, nor whether it's safe," warns registered dietitian Kathy McManus, director of the Department of Nutrition at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women's Hospital.

How does the keto diet work?

Here are the basics of keto: The diet aims to force your body into using a different type of fuel. Instead of relying on sugar (glucose) that comes from carbohydrates (such as grains, legumes, vegetables, and fruits), the keto diet relies on ketone bodies, a type of fuel that the liver produces from stored fat.

Burning fat seems like an ideal way to lose pounds. But getting the liver to make ketone bodies is tricky:

  • It requires that you deprive yourself of carbohydrates, fewer than 20 to 50 grams of carbs per day (keep in mind that a medium-sized banana has about 27 grams of carbs).
  • It typically takes a few days to reach a state of ketosis.
  • Eating too much protein can interfere with ketosis.

What do you eat?

Because the keto diet has such a high fat requirement, followers must eat fat at each meal. In a daily 2,000-calorie diet, that might look like 165 grams of fat, 40 grams of carbs, and 75 grams of protein. However, the exact ratio depends on your particular needs.

Some healthy unsaturated fats are allowed on the keto diet — like nuts (almonds, walnuts), seeds, avocados, tofu, and olive oil. But saturated fats from oils (palm, coconut), lard, butter, and cocoa butter are encouraged in high amounts.

Protein is part of the keto diet, but it doesn't typically discriminate between lean protein foods and protein sources high in saturated fat such as beef, pork, and bacon.

What about fruits and vegetables? All fruits are rich in carbs, but you can have certain fruits (usually berries) in small portions. Vegetables (also rich in carbs) are restricted to leafy greens (such as kale, Swiss chard, spinach), cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, bell peppers, onions, garlic, mushrooms, cucumber, celery, and summer squashes. A cup of chopped broccoli has about six carbs.

Keto diet risks

A ketogenic diet has numerous risks. Top of the list: it's high in saturated fat. McManus recommends that you keep saturated fats to no more than 7% of your daily calories because of the link to heart disease. And indeed, the keto diet is associated with an increase in "bad" LDL cholesterol, which is also linked to heart disease.

Other potential keto risks include these:

Nutrient deficiency. "If you're not eating a wide variety of vegetables, fruits, and grains, you may be at risk for deficiencies in micronutrients, including selenium, magnesium, phosphorus, and vitamins B and C," McManus says.

Liver problems. With so much fat to metabolize, the diet could make any existing liver conditions worse.

Kidney problems. The kidneys help metabolize protein, and McManus says the keto diet may overload them. (The current recommended intake for protein averages 46 grams per day for women, and 56 grams for men).

Constipation. The keto diet is low in fibrous foods like grains and legumes.

Fuzzy thinking and mood swings. "The brain needs sugar from healthy carbohydrates to function. Low-carb diets may cause confusion and irritability," McManus says.

Those risks add up — so make sure that you talk to a doctor and a registered dietitian before ever attempting a ketogenic diet.

What about the other diets?

The popular low-carb diets (such as Atkins or Paleo) modify a true keto diet. But they come with the same risks if you overdo it on fats and proteins and lay off the carbs. So why do people follow the diets? "They're everywhere, and people hear anecdotally that they work," McManus says. Theories about short-term low-carb diet success include lower appetite because fat burns slower than carbs. "But again, we don't know about the long term," she says. "And eating a restrictive diet, no matter what the plan, is difficult to sustain. Once you resume a normal diet, the weight will likely return."

Image: © valentinrussanov/Getty Images


50 Keto, Low-Carb Chicken Recipes That Pack The Protein, Fat, And Flavor

Mix up your keto recipes with these easy, protein-packed finds.

If you're on the keto diet, you know that cooking at home is the easiest way to make sure your food is keto-friendly&mdashno surprise ingredients, carbs, or sugars that could throw you out of ketosis. So having an arsenal of keto chicken recipes at your fingertips definitely helps.

As a refresher, following the keto diet means that, per day, 60 to 75 percent of your calories come from fat, 15 to 30 percent of your calories come from protein, and only 5 to 10 percent of your calories from carbs, Lara Clevenger, RD, told WH. This usually means eating no more than 50 grams of carbs per day.

But that also leaves a lot of room for you to get plenty of protein. And chicken is one of the best and most versatile sources. From chicken breasts to chicken thighs to chicken legs, the recipe possibilities are really endless. But if you're sticking with the same boring chicken recipes week in and week out, it may impact your motivation to stick with your keto diet. Picking recipes that are full of flavor are key.

Ahead, 50 keto chicken recipes that will keep your taste buds and macro counts happy.


High protein lunch recipes

Try our healthy, protein-packed lunch ideas from soups and salads to burgers and omelettes, including chicken, fish, meat and vegetarian options.

Fresh salmon with Thai noodle salad

Ideal for a quick midweek meal, whip up this nutritious salmon and noodle salad in just 20 minutes. The balance of protein and carbs make it super satisfying

Indian chicken protein pots

Use leftover chicken or buy it ready-cooked for these speedy protein pots. The chicken is combined with spiced lentils and tomatoes and topped with tzatziki

Egyptian egg salad

Give salad a shake-up with an Egyptian-inspired recipe that combines fava beans with egg and the rich flavours of tahini, garlic, lemon and cumin

Chicken satay salad

Marinate chicken breasts, then drizzle with a punchy peanut satay sauce for a no-fuss, midweek meal that's high in protein and big on flavour

Healthy tuna lettuce wraps

Make these nifty wraps with avocado mayo as a great low-carb, high-protein lunch. They're packed with omega-3-rich tuna and boast three of your five-a-day

Egg & Puy lentil salad with tamari & watercress

We've put together the ultimate healthy recipe to ease the symptoms of menopause, packed with calcium, folate and iron

Mexican-style bean soup with shredded chicken & lime

Use leftover chicken breast in this substantial healthy soup. Alternatively, make the recipe vegetarian by topping with chunky, fresh guacamole

Tuna Niçoise protein pot

Looking for a tasty protein fix after a workout, or a lunch that will fill you up? Try a tuna and egg Niçoise pot, delivering 30g of protein per portion

Moroccan chickpea soup

Try something different for vegetarians with Moroccan chickpea soup

Steak & broccoli protein pots

These protein pots feature steak with a tasty Japanese twist served with wholegrain rice and a zing of sushi ginger. Rustle them up in less than 20 minutes

Spicy Cajun chicken quinoa

Protein-packed quinoa makes this midweek meal a superhealthy option

Spinach & pepper frittata

A balanced, omelette-like dish of protein-rich eggs baked with cheese, garlic, tomatoes, peppers and spinach

Skinny pepper, tomato & ham omelette

If you're in need of a protein boost try making this healthy omelette for breakfast, using fewer yolks lowers the cholesterol

Mussels in red pesto

Mussels are full of omega-3, iron and protein - try yours cooked in red pesto and wine

Wild salmon veggie bowl

Succulent salmon flaked over a bed of healthy vegetables makes a delicious, protein-packed salad that's also low-calorie, gluten-free and rich in beneficial omega-3 fats


38 High-Protein Dinners That Taste Great and Keep You Full

By now you've probably heard that protein is an important nutrient to eat every day. Putting a few high-protein dinners on your weekly menu is one great way to help make getting enough daily intake a little easier, no matter what else the day throws at you.

While total protein needs vary widely from person to person, as SELF has previously reported, a decent baseline is the recommended daily allowance (RDA): 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. (For a 150-pound person, for instance, that's around 54 grams of protein a day.)

It's also important to note that experts do say it's best to have some protein with every meal, rather than loading it all up in one sitting. (Keeping protein-rich snacks on hand is a great idea too.) As SELF has reported, eating protein throughout the day can help keep your energy levels consistent. Plus, including a variety of protein-rich foods in your diet means you're getting other important vitamins and nutrients—like fatty acids from seafood or fiber from beans—at the same time, SELF has reported.

High-protein dinners in particular can also help keep you feeing satisfied and full so that your stomach doesn't start growling right before you climb into bed. (That's always a dilemma for me, personally—I know if I eat too late, my stomach will feel wonky and I'll have trouble sleeping, but I don't want to go to bed hangry either.)

The high-protein dinners below each contain at least 15 grams of protein in a single serving, with most coming in above 20 or 30. Many of these recipes are also filled with things like veggies, whole grains, and plant oils, so they're full of complex carbs and fat for a balanced dinner. From rich and cheesy pastas to quickie tacos to the speediest stir-fries, there's sure to be a high-protein dinner here for whatever you're craving.