The protein diet is one of the nutritional approaches proposed to lose weight and maintain muscle mass, therefore also useful for those who do the gym or bodybuilding.
Can you actually use it, safely, to lose weight quickly, maintain weight or gain weight? Find out more!
What Is A Protein Diet?
The protein diet is a nutritional regimen in which proteins are more represented in the breakdown of macronutrients than in other diets, to the detriment of the lipid and carbohydrate share.
In general, a higher than normal protein intake is recommended above all for:
- Who wants to follow a diet to lose weight and maintain lean mass
- Growing subjects such as teenagers or pregnant women
- Elderly people (but pay attention to possible pathologies present), who physiologically undergo sarcopenia.
The guidelines state that 0.8 g protein/lb body weight/day is a sufficient quantity to cover the amino acid requirement, however an increase, as in the case of the protein diet, has no negative consequences just like those listed above, an increase is a must.
In any case, the assumption is that protein or non-protein, without a calorie deficit, you will not lose weight whatever the type of diet you choose, consuming fewer calories than necessary is the only real fundamental principle.
Benefits And Advantages Of The Protein Diet
Choosing a diet rather than another should, first of all, reflect your needs, your tastes, and your lifestyle.
Giving a high-protein diet to those already suffering from kidney failure or making a drastic cut in calories to someone who already introduces a few but does not lose weight is nothing more than “solutions” that worsen the current situation.
Basically, they are measures that would have the same utility as providing a meat-based diet to a vegan.
Why should you choose the protein diet and not others? What are its advantages?
- Protides have greater satiating power than carbohydrates and lipids.
- When proteins are in excess it is difficult for them to be transformed into fatty acids because this would represent an additional “energy expense” for the body, which therefore prefers to oxidize them and transform the excess protein into heat.
- Compared to other macronutrients, more energy is required to digest them and they raise food-induced thermogenesis.
Effects Of The Protein Diet
Contrary to what is usually said, a high protein intake is not harmful to the kidneys and liver the studies that support this have been carried out on subjects who already had a disease.
A positive effect is also in relation to lean mass whether in the phase of slimming, maintenance, or weight gain.
A high protein intake is an element that, respectively, limits the loss of muscle tissue (despite the deficit ), maintains it, or supports the stimulus of muscle growth.
In the case of water retention, proteins are not the only factor to consider, as depending on the context they can increase or decrease retention.
When the protein intake is high and the lipid and carbohydrate content is also correct, proteins combined with weight training help to counteract retention. If not, there will be the opposite effect.
What To Eat On A Protein Diet?
The proteins that are most useful to humans are animal ones because they have a similar amino acid spectrum and therefore it is easier for the organism to find the protein it needs to build proteins in egg, fish, and turkey proteins that they need.
So the proteins of nuts and legumes are not needed?
In reality, even vegetable proteins are to be considered they do not have a high biological value, but through a varied choice and the combination of several sources you can make up for this “flaw”.
In fact, by combining more vegetable protein foods (eg pasta and legumes) or by combining them with an animal source, the biological value increases.
What Foods To Eat?
There are several foods that you can eat on a weekly basis with this protein eating style and in general, they are divided into two categories: low-carb foods with proteins and fats and low-fat foods with proteins and carbohydrates.
In this article, on the protein diet menu, there are examples of foods and meals you could have throughout the day.
In any case, do not forget to always combine the protein dishes with vegetables, useful both for the fiber content but also for the micronutrients and satiety.
How Many Calories To Take?
Even when the diet is protein and “you can eat your fill”, in reality, it is good to keep track of calories if in the first phase, eating until you feel full it works to stay low-calorie, later not as the proteins will have less satiating power.
A protein diet is recommended for weight loss, so the calories you will need to take in must be less than you need and are different from individual to individual.
In this complete guide on the low-calorie diet, you will find all the more specific information you need.
How Much Water To Drink?
It is often a neglected parameter, but it is by no means less important than the weekly calorie requirement or the macronutrient setting water is vital.
As a general rule, it is advisable to drink 1 liter of water for every 40 lbs of body weight when it comes to sportspeople.
This factor is even more important for those who follow a protein diet or high protein as an increase in protidica concentration leads to an overload, however, physiological and non-hazardous, work at the level of kidney filtration.
How Many Carbohydrates To Take
The protein diet is generally associated with a low-carb diet, meaning you eat a lot of protein, some fat, and a few carbohydrates.
In fact, many protein diets are similar to a ketogenic diet (indifference they have more protein and less fat) or classic low carb diets (with less than 100-150g of carbohydrates per day).
This approach serves in part to help the sense of satiety, in part because it is still erroneously thought that carbohydrates since they stimulate insulin more than other macronutrients, make you more fat.
Unfortunately, it is common for people to believe that carbohydrate foods are not good, while protein/lipid foods are ok.
This leads them unknowingly to take in more calories than they think. Unfortunately, even in this case, a calorie is a calorie.
How do you know precisely how many carbohydrates to take?
It is necessary to operate by subtraction first you must establish how many calories come from proteins and fats and then the remaining ones will be provided by carbohydrates in order to reach the caloric needs.
Consider the values of the protein requirement and that fats should not fall below 0.5 g / lbs of body weight.
Calculate how many calories you need per week, remove those that derive from proteins and fats and you will get the number of calories you will need to take in from carbohydrates.
Low-Calorie Protein Diet For Weight Loss
As strange as it may sound to some, the protein diet for weight loss works for one simple reason it is a low-calorie diet.
You lose weight because you consume fewer calories, not because protein has a real metabolic advantage in it.
This also allows you not to count calories while on a high-protein diet, but that doesn’t mean calories don’t matter.
In favor of proteins, we also have that protect lean mass from catabolism induced by a calorie deficit and that increase food-induced thermogenesis.
Finally, even if physiologically it is not necessarily an advantage the protein diet dehydrates making you lose weight quickly.
This psychologically motivates the person very initially, because after the first two weeks this effect is lost and the weight loss begins to be mainly the prerogative of the adipose tissue.
In short, if you are wondering if a high-protein diet helps you lose weight quickly, the answer is yes!
However, not all is gold that makes you lose weight. The protein diet begins to suffer in the medium and long term when the proteases (enzymes that break down proteins) increase and thus reduce the feeling of satiety.
This way unknowingly also increases the introduction of food.
How Long Does It Take To Lose Weight?
It’s not about hours or even days – it’s weeks and months, depending on how many pounds of fat you have to lose.
In fact, the gradual approach is the best and the only one that works to lose too much mass, both because the calorie deficit will also be gradual and not excessive and because the body thinks for a long time.
To have a numerical parameter, consider a weight loss of 0.5-1% of body weight per week.
Protein Diet For The Gym And Bodybuilding
As already mentioned for athletes an increase in protein is the norm when you want to support muscle growth but also maintain it to optimize athletic performance, recovery, and physical fitness.
Protein Diet For Gaining Muscle Mass
When you carry out activities against resistance and you aim to increase body weight through an increase in lean mass (mass phase) the recommended range is 1.6-2.2 g protein/lbs body weight.
Protein is lower than in the definition phase but total calories will be higher, loaded with carbohydrates and fat.
Protein Diet For Muscle Definition
The definition phase is hypocaloric, the weight loss of fat but also lean mass is inevitable because the catabolic processes prevail given the energy deficit.
To be able to better maintain the grams of muscle gained, the recommended range of proteins in this phase is 2.2-2.6 g protein/lbs body per day but in some cases, it can even reach 3g.
Given that in this phase the proteins increase and the caloric requirement is lower than in the bulking phase, it is clear that fat and carbohydrates must decrease the former should not however fall below 0.5 g/lbs per body, while the latter should not be less than 1g/lbs body weight.
For this reason, it is useful to resort to the consumption of lean proteins.
Protein Diet For Athletes And Training
Both an endurance athlete and a strength athlete need high protein synthesis the absence of sufficient protein corresponds to long-term destruction of muscle proteins.
If one day you forget to eat protein in the hours before or after the training or if you fail to reach the daily protein requirement, nothing catastrophic happens.
Before the timing and precision to the gram, there is however the “food and training history” of the long term.
In fact, the effect of a single workout and its recovery does not end in the few hours after training, but the metabolism is affected for the next 48 hours which is why the athlete must think about the distribution of nutrients in the span of the week and not of the single day or meal.
In general, the minimum protein requirement for athletes is 1.6 – 2.2 g/lbs body weight/day.
Protein Diet For ABS
A sad short story eating protein is not enough to have sculpted abs for the same principle according to which it is not enough not to eat carbohydrates to lose weight.
In a few simple words, the muscle (the abs) only grows through training (training which does not mean shooting 15 sets of 100 abdominals every day), while the fat is removed only by means of the well-set calorie deficit.
It is easy to understand that limiting yourself to eating protein foods and thinking that the proteins taken are directed to the abdomen to form the famous turtle is biologically impossible.
Conclusion On The Protein Diet
Protein diet certainly plays an important role in a weight loss phase, both by helping to bear the diet better and by preserving lean mass.
However, you must not fall into the psychological mistake that it is enough to base your diet on proteins to lose weight because it works but only initially.
The nutritional pyramid aimed at body composition shows that it is not the supplements that make us lose weight it is not the timing with which we eat the food, it is not even the macronutrients but it is the calorie deficit!