The Pros and Cons of a High Protein Diet
When it comes to popular diets, the rules regarding what to eat and when can get very confusing. However, one approach to healthy eating has been around for centuries. It has delivered impressive results time and time again: the high-protein diet. High-protein diets encourage followers to focus on eating mostly protein and fewer carbohydrates and fat in order to lose weight. At Steel Stool, we've seen the positive results of the high-protein diet. And our product has helped followers avoid one of the diet’s most common pitfalls.
What is protein, and how much do I need?
Protein is a nutrient that must be eaten every day to meet your body’s basic nutritional needs. Protein is one of the three main macronutrients, along with carbohydrates and fat. According to the Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) regarding protein, a person should eat 0.36 grams or 0.8 grams per kilogram of protein for every pound of body weight.
Yet, there's tremendous evidence that suggests eating more protein will result in weight loss and more significant health benefits. For that to happen, you need to eat 0.6-0.75 grams per pound or 1.2-1.6 grams per kilogram of protein. Studies have shown this quantity will boost weight loss, improve your body composition and protect your muscles.
Protein is composed of amino acids, 22 to be exact. Nine of those are considered "essential," which means they must be eaten through our food because our body cannot make them. Animal products (i.e., chicken, fish, eggs, dairy, and meat) are considered the most "complete" protein because they contain all the essential amino acids in the optimal amounts that our body needs. Vegetable proteins do not provide the same amount of essential amino acids. Yet, they can be combined with other plant sources to make a complete protein. Examples of plant sources of protein include beans, legumes, grains, soy, nuts, and seeds.
It is recommended to spread your protein intake evenly throughout the day, rather than consuming most of it at one meal. This will allow your body to use it most efficiently.
Why does my body need protein?
Your body requires protein to complete just some of the following functions:
- Repair and maintain: Protein is the main component of your muscles, skin, bones, and hair. These tissues are constantly being repaired and replaced with new protein.
- Enzymes: The majority of the enzymes in our bodies are proteins. They're responsible for the thousands of chemical reactions that take place throughout your body.
- Hormones: Chemical messenger proteins allow cells and organs in your body to communicate with one another.
- Transportation and storage: Some proteins help deliver important molecules to where they're needed. As an example, hemoglobin is a protein that carries oxygen to your body's cells.
What are the health benefits of a high-protein diet?
Following a high-protein diet that includes a variety of lean proteins can offer several health benefits. By focusing on high-protein, this helps your body build muscle and preserve muscle mass. Muscle burns more calories than fat, even at rest, helping you stay leaner.
Eating more protein will leave you feeling full longer. You will also burn extra calories because your body must work harder to chew and digest the food. As people focus on protein sources, this cab naturally leads them to choose healthier foods. When you plan a meal around a lean source of protein, whether it's fish or chicken, you leave less space on your plate for junk food or over-processed carbohydrates.
What are the drawbacks of a high-protein diet?
Some high-protein diets severely restrict carbohydrates. The result is nutritional deficiencies, particularly a lack of fiber which can lead to constipation. That is where Steel Stool can help. With our proprietary blend of psyllium husk, cinnamon, chicory, and aloe vera, our fiber supplement will help get and keep you regular. Each of our recommended servings of 3 capsules contains 2130mg of fiber. These capsules, taken twice a day, will keep your bowels moving.
Another drawback of a high-protein diet is that many plans often encourage users to eat fatty cuts of beef, full-fat dairy, and processed or cured meats (i.e., deli meat, sausage, bacon). Foods like these are most often associated with cancer and heart disease.
Individuals with diabetes may find a high-protein diet raises their blood sugar levels. Additionally, people with diabetes who use insulin may have difficulty managing blood glucose as protein is known to cause delays in blood sugar spikes.
How to follow a high-protein diet
If you decide to start following a high-protein diet, there are a few basic guidelines that you should follow.
- Keep a food diary. This will allow you to set your own calorie and macronutrient goals.
- Calculate your protein needs. To calculate your protein needs, multiply your weight in pounds by 0.6-0.75 grams or your weight in kilograms by 1.2-1.6 grams.
- Plan to eat at least 25-30 grams of protein at each meal.
- Include both animal and plant proteins in your diet.
- Choose high-quality protein sources. That means select fresh meat, eggs, dairy, and other proteins.
- Consume well-balanced meals. Balance your high-protein foods with vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. Just because you're eating high protein doesn't mean you should be neglecting other food groups.
- Take a fiber supplement. With all that protein, there's a chance you'll get constipated, so plan to incorporate a supplement like Steel Stool in your diet. By taking our recommended dose of three pills twice daily, you won't have to worry about constipation.
Steel Stool & High Protein
The best diet for you is an eating plan that you'll stick to. If a high-protein diet is something that appeals to you because it boosts your energy levels and makes you feel fuller, then it may be the perfect program for you. Just remember, part of a healthy high-protein diet includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and plenty of fiber.