When it comes to macronutrients, protein has gained a lot of popularity over the years. With diet trends cutting out fat and demonizing carbs, a high-protein diet is now more sought after than ever for weight management.
But is there stock to this new trend?
The recommended intake for protein among healthy individuals is anywhere between 10-35% of your total calories. Although there are no specific parameters, a general consensus is consuming around 35% of total calories from protein.
How does this help you feel better and manage a healthy weight? Let’s take a more in-depth look at protein and its effects on our health and our weight.
Protein is an essential macronutrient, along with carbs and fat. It is best known for building and repairing tissue. But it also performs many other vital functions in the body. It’s is also a vital component for our hair, skin, nails, blood, bones, and bodily functions such as the production of hormones, enzymes, and antibodies.
You can find protein most commonly in animal sources such as meat, fish, eggs, and dairy. This is the most bioavailable form, meaning your body is able to get the most from it. However, you can also find it in some plant sources such as soy, beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, and some grains.
Can Protein Help Me Manage My Weight?
Ensuring a good protein source at each meal and snack will help to keep you feeling fuller and more satisfied. This will make it easier to say no to extra-large serving sizes. It can also assist with unnecessary snacking by helping to cut cravings throughout the day.
This macronutrient is also essential for building and repairing our muscles during strength training, an activity that is encouraged not only for weight loss but for a healthy lifestyle overall.
The more muscle mass you have the better your metabolism will function. A well-functioning metabolism means burning more calories at rest which can better help to support healthy body weight.
Can Too Much Protein Affect Cholesterol?
A high protein diet can look different from person to person. Because it is found in animal products, a high protein diet has been associated with high cholesterol levels. However, the real villain is actually saturated fats.
You can find high amounts of these fats in animal products such as fatty cuts of meat, full-fat dairy products, and processed foods. A diet high in these fats has been shown to increase cholesterol levels and the risk of heart disease.
But, in reality, there’s more to it than that.
A high protein diet does not mean sacrificing your cholesterol levels. Instead, choose smart proteins. Swap out fatty cuts of meat and highly processed meats for leaner options such as fresh turkey, chicken, or fish.
Choose low-fat dairy products or consume in moderation.
Lastly, limit your intake of highly processed foods such as chips, cookies, crackers, etc. These are going to be highest in these saturated fats.
If you are paying attention to the quality of the sources, a high-protein diet can actually improve cholesterol levels.
What’s the Easiest Way to Eat More Protein?
If you are concerned that you’re not getting enough protein, it’s an easy fix. Slowly incorporate some new proteins into your diet. This is a great time to try something new!
Aim to get at least one source of protein at each meal. You can do this by adding some Greek yogurt to your smoothie or tossing some nuts in your morning oatmeal. Reach for a shake for an on-the-go option, such as Naked Nutrition’s strawberry banana protein shakes. These are great snacks that are also vegan and vegetarian friendly.
Don’t forget about snacks too. Choose a small handful of nuts, a hard-boiled egg, or add a small serving of cheese with your fruit.
Make sure to choose protein sources you enjoy so you can easily incorporate them into your lifestyle and reap the benefits. If done correctly, a high-protein diet can help with managing a healthy lifestyle and weight.