Most of us have heard of someone who has dropped weight fast on a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet. These diets, such as the Dukan diet and Atkins, are low in carbohydrates, which makes the body produce less insulin. And when insulin levels are low, the body burns more fat. While they might help you drop the kilos fast, these diets are not recommended for healthy weight management.
Here’s how to make protein a part of your diet for long-term good health.
How much protein we need
This differs according to age, gender, weight and state of health. As a guide, most adults need up to 3 serves of protein per day which is equivalent to 65 grams of cooked lean meat, 2 eggs, 1 cup of milk, or ½ cup of nuts or seeds. Adequate protein intake is required for the structure, function and regulation of the body’s cells, including muscles, skin, hair, nails, hormones and enzymes and antibodies.
While there are benefits of maintaining a protein-rich diet for weight loss, too much can have the opposite effect. Most Australians eat more protein than they actually need, which can be stored by the body as fat, not as protein. Some of the dangers of consuming a high-protein, low-carb diet include:
- Encourages the consumption of foods high in saturated fat, which may increase the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some cancers.
- Lack of fibre can cause constipation, bowel disorders, and certain types of cancers.
- Puts unnecessary strain on the kidneys and liver, and prompts excessive loss of calcium, which may increase the risk of osteoporosis.
Choose your protein wisely
Protein comes from two different sources: plant based (such as soy, nuts, legumes and grains); and or animal based (such as meat, dairy and eggs). When choosing protein-rich foods pay attention to what comes along with the protein. Vegetable sources of protein offer healthy fibre, vitamins and minerals. The best animal protein choices are fish, skinless chicken, eggs, low-fat dairy and lean cuts of red meat. Processed meat (bacon, sausages, ham), full-fat dairy, and fast food contain saturated fat and should be limited.
While high-protein diets can help with fast weight loss, those that are low in carbohydrates are not recommended in the long term. To help achieve and maintain a healthy weight, it’s important to combine sensible portions of good quality, lean protein with low-GI carbohydrates in every meal. That said, the golden rule to losing weight still comes down to energy balance: kilojoules in versus kilojoules out. So how much you’re eating and exercising matters too.
For a well-balanced meal and weight loss program, follow the free Manna Weight Loss program. Take the Manna Blood Sugar Support supplement to control cravings, suppress appetite and control blood sugar levels.
The Manna FAT Burner is excellent to help increase metabolism and assist in a faster fat burning experience. The Manna Low GI Shakes makes a well-balanced meal replacement drink which can keep you full for long.