Thinking of starting a high protein diet plan to shed pounds? Closer Magazine gathered all the facts as part of a health feature, and asked our very own Dr Shikha Pitalia to comment...
You can also see the article at Closer Online.
What is it?
Dr Shikha Pitalia, GP at Pall Mall Medical, says: “As a rough guide, high-protein diets recommend eating 20-50 per cent of your daily calories from protein-rich foods. For many people this is almost double, if not more, protein-related calories than a typical average diet might have.”
What does it involve?
It involves eating food containing high levels of protein (obviously) and minimising the intake of fats and carbohydrates. This way, your body finds fuel by using up energy already stored as fat tissue.
Proteins are divided into two groups: animal protein and plant protein. Animal proteins (such as eggs, meat and cheese) contain all essential amino acids needed for growth and repair. Plant based proteins come from food such as pluses, legumes and soya based products. Plant based proteins don’t contain all of the essential amino acids, but vegans can get all their essential amino acids by combining ingredients in the right way, e.g. beans and grains together.
How extreme is it?
It can be quite extreme, with many people focusing on protein for all meals and snacks and cutting out carbohydrates. Other people eat protein rich food and supplement their diet with protein shakes to help top up their intake.
Will I lose weight fast?
Protein rich diets aid with weightloss as protein-rich foods tend to keep you feeling full but with less calories. It can also work to help cut back on sugary and high fat foods by replacing them with protein rich alternatives.
Will I keep the weight off?
High protein diets are effective, but weight maintenance goes hand in hand with keeping a healthy and balanced diet. Many who lose weight on the high protein diet return to the eating plan regularly to help maintain weight.
What are the side effects?
Risks can include kidney problems and high cholesterol. The way to combat this is by eating a healthy variation of meat-based protein and plant based protein.
Will it damage my health?
Overdoing it on protein can cause metabolic disturbances and completely cutting out a food group is widely discouraged. If you follow a sensible, varied diet you will remain healthy and keep eating healthy fats and some complex carbohydrates.
How expensive is it?
This diet isn’t notoriously expensive and the cost depends on the dieters ability to budget. Buying fresh food and planning meals ahead will make budgeting easier.