Author: Rando Meresmaa
A high protein diet is often recommended by bodybuilders and nutritionists to help efforts to build muscle and lose fat. It should not be confused with low-carb diets such as the Atkins Diet, which are not calorie-controlled and which often contain large amounts of fat. But how much protein is high?
Some people are very "sensitive" to carbohydrates. There's an unusually large surge in their blood sugar and insulin levels, which may increase fat storage and inhibit enzymes that promote the breakdown of stored body fat. Using a high protein diet is more effective for people who have some levels of carbohydrate intolerance. If you reduce your carbohydrates lets say from 50% to 35-40% then you also have to increase your proteins and healthy fats because your calories might fall into the "starvation zone." If calories are too low then you lose muscle, no matter how much protein you eat.
Most people lose fat very effectively with about 40% carbohydrates, 30-40% protein and 20-30% fat. Sometimes bodybuilders consume up to 50% of their calories from proteins, before entering a competition. But for average people this kind of a diet should be avoided.
Protein has the highest "thermic effect" of any food. Thermic effect of food is the increment in energy expenditure above resting metabolic rate due to the cost of processing food for storage and use. It is one of the components of metabolism along with the resting metabolic rate, and the exercise component. This means that it takes a lot of energy for the body has to work harder to digest, process and utilize this nutrient. So protein foods speed up your metabolism.
There is also some talk that high protein consumption is bad for the kidneys. There's no proof that a high-protein intake will cause damage to a healthy kidney. Studies have shown that kidney problems occur only in people with pre-existing kidney disease. Another problem that is linked to high protein consumption is dehydration. Metabolizing protein requires more water than fats or carbohydrates, so
it's extremely important to consume extra water if you increase your protein. When you are on a high protein diet then drink plenty of water.
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