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Losing Weight on a High Protein Diet

The high protein diet is a very common, but effective way of losing weight. The eating regime basically requires a bigger increase of protein intake on a daily basis while decreasing the overall calorie consumption at the expense of carbohydrates and fats  (to a lesser extent). 

What are the foods which are used in a high protein diet ?

Obviously, foods high in protein and low on carbs should be the foundation of this whole diet. A good list of example foods would be the below one:

– Low fat meats and hams. Good meats include chicken, turkey and rabbit meat as well as some lean cuts of beef.
– Egg whites. Although whole eggs are not as bad as people thought they were a few years back, for the sake of low calories you should stick to 3-4 yolks for every 10 whites you eat ( you still need some fats to help the testosterone production)
– Low fat cheese, cottage cheese.
– Sea food : white fish, fish fillets, crab, shrimp, squid, mussels, octopus;
Protein shakes

During this high protein diet plan, the consumption of high fiber foods such as vegetables is a must. They will help your body in digesting and absorbing the high quantities of protein while making it easy on your digestive system. The consumption of fruits, cereals, pasta, oils, legumes, potatoes, pumpkin, nuts is not desirable.


Distribution of food on a high protein diet

During these types of diets, a great part of the amino acids from proteins are utilized as fuel. The other part of the energy comes from your own body-fat reserves (that’s how weight loss happens actually).

This is a reason for the increased protein intake during this diet. In men, the amount of protein should be around  1.5 to 1.8 g per lb , while women should consume from 1 to 1.5 grams of protein for each pound of body weight. This means that a 225-pound man should consume up to 400 grams of protein, divided into a few meals a day for easier consumption (this includes protein drinks).

The first meal should be an hour upon waking up, and in the absence of fat and carbohydrates in the diet, the latest meal may be consumed right before bedtime.

Every 6 to 7 days, it is important to load with carbs. The consumption should be with 1.5 to 2 grams of low glycemic index carbohydrates per lb of body weight. Junk foods or sugars are a big no-no here.


Meal prep during the diet

Obviously the meats will need thermal processing – baked or grilled but not fried. The vegetables should be eaten raw or eventually steamed. Smoked food is generally not recommended.

What type of training should you use while losing weight and eating a low carb, high protein diet ?

Due to the onset of ketosis and low content of glucose in the blood, most effective and safe workouts are those of short duration and higher intensity. A good example such workouts is a HIIT workout ( a few short sprints) or a short weightlifting session.

Typical fitness or bodybuilding principles should be used with caution or avoided. The number of reps should not cross the border of strength training, which is about 4-6 reps. High volume workouts, “pumping”,  drop sets, super sets are highly undesirable here.

You can also do low rep/ low no. of exercises strength training. Long lasting workouts as well as prolonged aerobic training during this low-carb diet can quickly lead to a dangerous state known as hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). Stopping your workout before fatigue occurs will prevent this life-threatening condition. If you still feel sick, you will need to eat 50-100 g fructose or other high glycemic index carbs. If that state accidentally occurs, stop your workout and take the rest of the day off from training.

What are the results of this fat loss regime ?

Losing weight should happen fast during this regime of eating. This is why you should use this diet for 4-6 weeks after which you should do another 4-6 weeks of a supporting well-balanced diet.

A common issue with this high protein system is the maintenance of insulin levels which are important for the recovery of muscle fibers after training. The lack of insulin response makes the system risky for people suffering from insulin deficiency.

On the one hand the diet is good for healthy people because it does not promote high peaks of blood sugar levels and insulin spikes, as all meals are composed of low glycemic index foods. Depletion of glycogen stores, however, creates the risk of hypoglycemia, which is difficult to master in diabetics. This situation, however, is lead by a badly composed exercise program, so keep this in mind!

People, capable of producing normal insulin, should have a carb reloading with every 6-7 days. This will allow them to preserve muscle tissue during the course of the diet.

Another issue could be the low content of fat in the diet, which may lead to certain skin conditions such as skin peeling, or fungal infections. In women, a low fat mode should not be practiced for more than 6 weeks without interruption, as it may lead to ovulation issues. To work around these issues you can include omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in your diet. Usually these can be supplemented by taking a fish oil product.

 

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