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High Protein Diets: Pros, Cons and How They Work

This article will discuss the possible benefits and drawbacks of high protein diets and provide some tips on how to implement them.

High Protein Diets

Overview

High protein diets have recently become more popular in the Fitness and Nutrition world. There are low carbohydrate diets like The Atkins Diet to nearly 0 carbohydrate diets like The Carnivore Diet. 

Given so many options there are many questions and confusion that surround them along with the benefits and disadvantages they may bring. 
 
Given that high protein diets are generally low carb, we cannot answer these questions, without understanding what carbohydrates are and the roles they play in our bodies.

Carbohydrates are one of the three macronutrients along with fats and proteins. Most health experts say that carbs are the body’s main source of energy. In turn, that means that we need them to generate energy for sport, strength, and general activities. 
 
In addition, most foods that are rich in carbs also carry fiber which plays important roles in how we digest our foods and allow us to have regular bowel movements. 
 
With this understanding, let’s discuss the pros and cons of high protein diets and how we may apply them in our dietary approach.

High Protein Diet

Pros:

  • 1. High protein diets are filling. 
    On average, our bodies are less efficient at breaking down proteins. Our bodies take a longer time to break down proteins vs carbohydrates. That is to say that on high protein diets, we stay full for longer. Therefore, we have fewer cravings which leads to us eating fewer calories.
  • 2. High protein diets often lead to weight-loss. 
    As mentioned above, we will eat less calories on high protein diets. That is to say, sustaining such a diet over time, coupled with a proper training protocol will lead to us eating less than we burn. Most fitness experts will agree that overtime, we will sustain weight-loss if we burn more calories than we consume.
  • Healthy Diet Weight Loss
  • 3. High protein diets leave less room for excess carbohydrates. 
    I mentioned in the overview that we use carbs for energy. Well, what happens when we eat more carbs than we need for energy? Consequently, our blood sugar levels may get too high.

    In other words, this tells our pancreas to create excess insulin which tells our cells to store the extra energy as fat. That being said, constantly eating excess carbohydrates generally leads to weight gain.

  • 4. High protein diets may increase strength, muscle size, and improve recovery.
    Proteins break down to chains of amino acids in the bloodstream. Amino acids play key roles in strength, muscle building, and muscle recovery.

    Many experts say that amino acids are key in fueling our muscles. That is to say, they play key roles in us getting stronger. In turn, lifting heavier and recovering faster.

Cons:

  • 1. Vitamin & mineral deficiency. 
     Some foods that are rich in carbs are also rich in vitamins and minerals. Do not neglect micronutrients in an attempt to eat less carbs. Make sure to monitor your vitamin and mineral levels and supplement accordingly.
  • 2. Uric acid overload. 
     Eating excess meat may cause the build-up of uric acid, in turn leading to gout flare-up. Monitor your levels of uric acid and/or moderate your intake of meat or other foods that may lead to excess uric acid.
  • 3. Excess stress on your kidneys. 
    This is why it is important to increase your protein in stages. The excess stress on your kidneys can lead to renal failure and other issues.
  • 4. High blood pressure. 
    Simply put, eating a lot of salted meat, mainly red meat may raise your blood pressure. In other words, monitor your intake of red meat. 
  • High Blood pressure
  • 5. High cholesterol. 
    Traditional medicine tells us that there are 2 types of cholesterol, HDL (good cholesterol) and LDL (bad cholesterol). Traditionally, the goal is to increase your HDL and decrease your LDL. 

    That is to say, you need to monitor your cholesterol levels. Try to eat less saturated fat and/or foods that are rich in cholesterol. 

Implementation:

  • 1. Review the pros and cons. 
    It is important to understand the risks of any dietary approach.
  • 2. Talk to your doctor and/or dietitian.
    This becomes more significant if you struggle with any of the underlying issues mentioned above.
  • Talk to your dietician
  • 3. Be mindful of allergies. 
    That is to say, you may want to test what foods you are allergic to, especially if you are not aware. Your doctor should be able to test you or recommend a specialist.
  • 4. Download a nutrition tracking app. 
    MyFitnessPal, Samsung Health, and Apple Health are some that allow you to set goals for calories, and more importantly, macronutrients.
  • 5. Implement in phases. 
    All or nothing approach rarely works and in most cases, it is not sustainable. Therefore, I generally recommend adjusting your macronutrient goals once per month or in some cases, every 2 months.
  • 6. Eat more unsaturated fat vs. saturated fat. 
    Most health experts agree that unsaturated fat is healthier for your heart than saturated fat. Most foods that are rich in saturated fat, i.e. meat, are rich in cholesterol.
  • 7. Do not over-consume protein. 
    In most cases .8 to 1 gram of protein per pound of body-weight is sufficient. However, some may require more protein, i.e. athletes and power-lifters.
  • 8. Enjoy what you eat. 
    Consequently, if you do not enjoy what you eat, you will not be able to sustain the healthy lifestyle. In other words, eat healthy and eat well.
Disclaimer: This article is intended for informational purposes only. The content on our website is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or therapy. You should NEVER disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking treatment due to something you have read on our website and we will not be held responsible for any adverse health condition or injury that occurs as a result of doing so.
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Narado Powell

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Narado Zeco Powell was born in Montego Bay, Jamaica and as a child, he was underweight. When he moved to the U...

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12 Leave A Reply

  1. Avatar for Narado Powell

    Lindsay




    Your Rating:

    5
    5
    Great read for beginners
    Protein certainly has a lot of benefits in the diet but it’s important for people to understand the cons of high protein diets to prevent themselves from becoming nutrition deficient. Thank you for sharing so people can take the cons into consideration to prevent issues in the future.
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  2. Avatar for Narado Powell

    Mary




    Your Rating:

    5
    5
    I learned something new
    It was a great unbiased and educational article that offered both the pros and cons to doing a high protein diet . I learned about Uric acid overload which is something I never knew.
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  3. Avatar for Narado Powell

    Josey




    Your Rating:

    5
    5
    Inspiring and informative !
    Such great information to know. This article really inspires me to get more protein in my diet! I definitely don’t have enough. Will be definitely incorporating these tips in my fitness and health!
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  4. Avatar for Narado Powell

    Jessica Botsas




    Your Rating:

    5
    5
    Informative and clear!
    Very informative and easy to understand the pros and cons of high protein in the diet! Also, practical ways on how you can incorporate different strategies/mindfulness about the types of proteins you are consuming and quantity that is right for you. Thank you for this great article!
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  5. Avatar for Narado Powell

    Steve G




    Your Rating:

    5
    5
    Excellent article
    I love how it gets straight to the point and breaks down exactly how to implement change into your life. This is very useful information and I hope to see more articles in the future on fitness and nutrition.
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  6. Avatar for Narado Powell

    Giorgio C




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    Great article !
    Thanks for sharing this valuable information. Very informative and easy to understand. It helps me focus on my diet and looking into the pros and cons of a diet program before jumping right in.
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  7. Avatar for Narado Powell

    Aldrena




    Your Rating:

    5
    5
    Awesome article!
    This is an awesome article packed with useful information. I appreciate that the information was broken down for effective reading/understanding of the
    details provided. I can see that the author genuinely wants to help others improve their health by sharing his knowledge.
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  8. Avatar for Narado Powell

    Anju Dee




    Your Rating:

    5
    5
    Very Informative
    The entire article was very informative and useful. The attention and detail provided by the author is appreciated. Thank you Mr. Powell for this well written article that has already been useful in my and my family’s approach to food, health and wellness.
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  9. Avatar for Narado Powell

    LinkzJr




    Your Rating:

    5
    5
    Not just another diet article
    This article is very informative, to the point, and practical. I will take the info learned from reading this and apply it to my daily diet. Looking forward to an article that address vegan diets and gym life.
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  10. Avatar for Narado Powell

    Mohammed Badawi




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    5
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    Great read! Very informational!
    Great read!
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  11. Avatar for Narado Powell

    Alexander S Powell




    Your Rating:

    5
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    High Protein Diets
    Very informative article on eating healthy, it tells you clearly what to eat, if you want stay healthy. Very easy to understand.
    Reading this article, helps me to understand what to eat on a daily basis.
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  12. Avatar for Narado Powell

    Stuart Gomez




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    5
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    Informative article on high protein diets!
    This article is very much helpful. I found it very much informative and the content regarding the high protein diets is also explained in the proper manner. Implementation of high protein diets, their pros and cons are also given in the proper bullet points format. Easy to understand.
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