High-Protein Diets: Everything You Need to Know
If you’re a fitness enthusiast or a regular gym goer, I’m sure you already know protein is very important. But what is protein for, why should you eat it and how should you organise a high-protein diet for weight loss and muscle gain?
WHY DOES PROTEIN MATTER?
Proteins are a group of compounds that form the building blocks of tissues in your body. The most well known of these tissues is muscle and makes up 70% of your body’s total proteins.
Aside from building strong aesthetic muscles, proteins are essential for healthy joints and bones. A high-protein diet will improve the health of your ligaments and tendons, which means you’ll see less injuries and better results.
HIGH-PROTEIN DIET FOR WEIGHT-LOSS
A diet rich in high-quality protein will improve weight loss dramatically – resulting in a leaner physique with stronger, more defined muscles. Protein is also one of the most filling nutrients you can consume, making it much easier to stick to your diet. Most people fall off their dietary wagon due to a lack of willpower and hunger, so getting good amounts of top-quality protein inside you will be a huge boost towards better diet control.
Once you’ve actually eaten them, proteins contribute heavily to the thermic effect of food. Despite the cool, sciencey name, this just means they require more energy to digest and utilise. So the more protein you eat, the more calories you’ll burn overall – enough to see significant results.
HIGH-PROTEIN DIET FOR MUSCLE GAINS
Like we’ve already mentioned, high-protein diets are great for muscle gain. When you train hard in the gym, the proteins in your muscles get damaged and you need to replace them for maximum growth and recovery.
A high-protein diet provides a wealth of key nutrients so you can repair muscle tissue. This is going to mean more size, more strength and a faster journey towards your body goal.
High-protein diets are the staple of elite athletes and bodybuilders for a reason – protein is essential to muscle growth and performance. Adjusting your diet to increase your protein intake is an easy way to see better results and accelerate your progress.
PROTEIN AND HEALTH
You don’t have to be a hardcore gym lover or bodybuilder to see the benefits of improving your protein intake and quality. While muscle gain and fat loss are the glamorous, physique building effects, a high-protein diet is also great for your general health.
Proteins digest slowly – which is part of the reason why they keep you fuller for longer – and help regulate your digestive system and metabolism. In this way, a high-protein diet can help with controlling metabolic syndromes like type 2 diabetes.
Healthy diets with good quantities of protein can also improve some key health markers linked to cardiovascular disease. Compared to the average diet, more protein will mean reduced blood pressure and as a result, reduced risk of heart disease.
HOW TO IMPLEMENT A HIGH-PROTEIN DIET
So how can you capitalise on all these excellent benefits? Putting together a high-protein diet doesn’t have to be boring or bland – the days of unseasoned chicken breast and brown rice have been and gone.
To start, figure out how much protein you’re going to need for your goals. The lower your calorie intake, the more protein you’re going to need as a percentage of your diet.
MEATS DON’T HAVE TO BE BORING
Remember – high-protein diets are not a chore. They can provide some of the most amazing and nutritious food around! Bland chicken breast is out, but lean meats will always be your best friend – versatile, easy high-protein food choices.
Learn a few simple recipes that take “boring” lean meats (like chicken and turkey breast) and spice them up. Things like sweet chilli, Cajun spice, garlic and herb or lemon and thyme are all simple dressings that can make these foods far more enjoyable without any dangerous calorie changes.
IMPROVE YOUR CARB SOURCES
You might not think about your carbohydrate sources as part of your protein intake – after all, that’s not what they’re there for – but changes here can make a big difference.
For example, you can replace your sweet potato or pasta with a five bean mix, which is a much more nutrient dense form of carbohydrate and contains 7g of protein per 100g.
The point here is carb sources aren’t just carb sources and better choices will quickly show up in your results. If you’re on a high-protein low-carb diet, it’s important to make every bit count!
SUPPLEMENTAL PROTEIN OR RECOVERY SHAKES
If you’re on a high-protein diet plan and you’re struggling to get enough protein in through wholefoods, supplements can help.
These protein powders are popular for a reason – they provide a low-cost, easy access protein source you can drink, which makes it much easier to hit your targets. Whey, Casein and blended vegetable proteins (such as rice and pea) can make for a quick and easy protein intake.
These are best consumed after a workout or when you’re on the go. They’re no substitute for a well rounded diet, but they’re an amazing way to stay on track when life gets in the way. Or when you need a quick boost after a hard workout.
Getting your protein in will take a bit of effort but has huge payoffs. These building blocks for muscle will aid in fat loss and health, all while keeping you full and keeping your calorie intake low.
Getting protein into your diet won’t be too difficult if you put some thought into it. Changing the food you eat often and making healthy foods you want to eat, is going to make a high-protein diet an effective, enjoyable part of your life.