Can we really lose weight while eating steak, burgers, cheese and bacon? The high protein diets like Atkin’s and Zone can work, but consider the pros and cons before you choose.
Western women need 50 grams of protein per day and men 60. With a high protein diet we could consume much more. It’s best to get your protein from organic meat, eggs, seafood, cheese or vegetarian sources like organic soy. This diet restricts the carbs, so out goes cereal, grains, fruits and possible vegetables. You will lose weight quickly because you are losing water. You may lose because you feel less hungry but this can lead to ketosis. Symptoms of Ketosis might be temporary headaches, irritability and nausea but appears to be safe long-term.
You can lose on a high-protein diet, but find a program that includes vegetables so you don’t miss out on fiber and other important nutrients. Be choosey and focus on lean meats and dairy while including some carbs. You will need to avoid huge helpings of any fatty meat. A lean cut will get you all the protein with far less unhealthy fat. You will get even a lot less fat by choosing white chicken meat in lieu of dark. Pork offers protein, but look for tenderloin, top loin and rib chops.
Of course fish is loaded with protein and always lower in fat. Salmon and tuna have more fat but are good choices with omega-3, which is good for your heart.
Organic eggs are a good source of protein and you can keep the calories down by choosing egg whites. Experts now say the cholesterol you eat in the yolk does not raise levels in your blood.
Try tofu, organic soy burgers and other organic soy-based foods that are plant-based sources of protein. Eating 25 grams of soy protein daily may help lower cholesterol, too.
Eating 1-½ cups of beans has as much protein as 3 ounces of broiled steak. The fiber in beans helps you feel full longer and helps to lower your LDL.
Your milk, cheese and yogurt give you protein and calcium for strong bones and a healthy heart. Low-fat, non-fat or reduced-fat dairy products can help you keep calorie counts down.
Grains are limited in most high-protein diets so make sure those that you do eat are whole grains for the fiber and nutrients. If you are getting whole grains, check the labels to make sure they are not high in sugar or fat.
Most of the low-carb diets still include some vegetables but quite often they limit fruit. Cutting out fruit temporarily to keep your carb count down will not cause any harm. After you reach your goal weight, be sure to choose a plan that includes fruit for your long-term health.
As usual, eat healthy, organic foods and choose wisely. You can and will reach your goal and still keep healthy.
-Dr Fredda Branyon