Severe carb restrictions can cause nutritional deficiencies, bad breath, constipation, and headaches. High protein diets can exacerbate kidney problems because kidneys that do not function well will have difficulty eliminating all the waste from high protein foods. Some high protein diet schemes include high fat dairy and red meats, which increase the risk of heart disease. Many who have doubts about whether these diets are safe are asking, are high protein diets healthy?
High Protein Diets and Weight Loss
Interest in high protein diets has risen because of evidence that these diets help with weight loss. However, excess protein that is not used to build muscle, organs, and bones will be stored as fat. Eating protein does appear to increase feelings of fullness, which in turn leads to consuming fewer calories overall. However, the kind of protein consumed matters: red and processed meats have been linked to an increased risk of cancer. Those interested in pursuing a high protein diet should choose fish, beans, chicken, pork, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and eggs.
Choosing the Right Carbs To Cut
Many high protein diets recommend eliminating or reducing carbohydrate intake. The trouble is, many very healthy foods, like green leafy or cruciferous vegetables have healthy carbohydrates and provide fiber for digestive health. Berries are high in vitamin C and low in sugar. Whole grains also provide necessary nutrients. When choosing to cut carbs, eliminate highly processed foods like white bread, crackers, and packaged, sugary snack foods. Cut the pasta and white rice as well.
How Much Protein To Eat per Day
The USDA recommends healthy adults consume between 10 percent to 35 percent of their total calories from protein daily. Very active adults may need more. The recommended daily allowance is 0.8 grams of protein for every kilogram in body weight. To calculate the amount of protein, divide body weight in pounds by 2.2, and then multiply by 0.8. A 150-pound person should consume about 54 grams of protein daily.
Whether high protein diets are healthy remains an open question. They may help with weight loss, but can cause harm if healthy carbohydrates are not included in the diet. It is also important to drink enough water, as there is some evidence that high protein diets can cause dehydration. Those with pre-existing kidney issues should avoid high protein diets, as they put stress on kidney function. Consult your doctor before starting any weight loss program.