High Protein Diets: Good or Bad?
Lose weight while feasting on steak, burgers, cheese, and bacon? All without feeling hungry? What’s not to love? Meat lovers have flocked to high-protein, low-carb plans like Atkins, Zone, Protein Power, and Sugar Busters. While these diets can work, you need to carefully consider the risks and rewards before deciding if one is right for you.
How Much Protein?
Most Americans get 12%-18% of their calories from protein. With a high-protein diet, it can be much more than that. Protein may be half of your day’s calories. Most of this extra protein comes from animal sources like meat, eggs, and cheese. Often, these diets severely restrict foods like cereals, grains, fruits, and vegetables. Do they work? Research says yes. How Do High-Protein Diets Work?
When you cut out carbohydrates, you lose weight quickly because you lose water. Then, with no extra carbs, the body begins burning its own fat for fuel. This is called ketosis. This may make dieting easier because you feel less hungry. But ketosis can cause headaches, irritability, nausea, kidney trouble, and heart palpitations.
Are High-Protein Diets Safe?
Medical experts don’t agree. The American Heart Association doesn't recommend high-protein diets. Too many fatty meats and dairy foods can raise your cholesterol and risk of a heart attack. Not eating vegetables and grains robs your body of fiber and important nutrients. But high-protein diets can help fight obesity. A more moderate diet, which cuts fat but doesn’t cut too many carbohydrates, may work safely.
Starting a High-Protein Diet
Be choosy. The most nutritious high-protein plans are low in fat and include some carbs. Avoid extreme plans, with huge helpings of fatty meats and not many vegetables and grains. Your doctor may be able to steer you to better plans.
Say Hello to High-Protein Beef
Nothing says protein like a nice, juicy steak. And if you choose a lean cut, you will get all of the protein with far...
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