The Dish on Diet Plans: How They Can Improve Protein Intake

Not all diets are created equal; high-protein diets have been shown to aid in weight loss and better health. Read on to learn why.

The right diet plan can help you meet a variety of health- and weight-related goals, especially if it’s designed with your key objectives in mind. Discover how some diet plans can improve protein intake and learn why eating more protein can lead to weight loss and better health.

How a High-Protein Diet Plan Can Reduce Hunger Pangs

When you’ve made a goal to lose weight, you’ll typically need to reduce your daily calorie count to limit the amount of energy you consume. In most cases, you’ll begin by calculating your total daily energy expenditure (TDEE), which accounts for your body’s essential functions and your average activity level. Then you’ll reduce that number by up to 20 percent to meet your weight-loss goals.

If you’re used to consuming a certain number of calories, reducing your daily count by up to one fifth can be challenging and may cause constant feelings of hunger. Adopting a diet plan that increases your protein intake without exceeding your calorie count can be a smart way to eliminate those hunger pangs and help you feel full throughout the day.

In contrast to fats and carbohydrates, proteins make you feel more satisfied and less hungry. In fact, studies have shown that high-protein diet plans lead to lower energy intake overall. That means that increasing your protein consumption can help you decrease your total calorie intake without eliminating food groups, skipping meals, or severely restricting your diet.

Why a High-Protein Diet Can Improve Your Metabolism

No matter what you eat, your body relies on metabolism to convert calories into energy that you can use. Your body metabolizes calories around the clock to perform essential functions, and that basal metabolic rate (BMR) largely depends on your age, size, and gender. While your BMR doesn’t change quickly, two other factors can speed up metabolism. Consuming and processing calories require energy, and so does every type of physical activity, from walking to the kitchen to running a marathon.

While you can certainly run faster or bike longer to keep your metabolism up, the food you eat can also affect how quickly you burn calories. Everything you eat has a thermic effect, which refers to the energy level it requires for your body to process it. However, protein’s thermic effect is up to twice as high as that of fats or carbs.

Since your body needs more energy to process protein, high-protein diet plans can increase your metabolism and help you burn more calories overall. Eating extra protein won’t have the same strength-building effect as your normal workout would, but it can help you burn almost as many calories as a half-hour gym session would. That means a high-protein diet plan and an effective workout plan could be a winning combination.

How Protein Can Supplement Weight Loss and Maintenance

Whether you’re aiming to lose weight or maintain your current weight, increasing your protein intake could be a smart solution. In addition to helping you eat fewer calories and boosting your metabolism, a high-protein diet plan can speed up fat loss. That means you may be able to replace excess fat with strong muscles while still achieving your weight-related goals.

Several studies have demonstrated that a high-protein diet supplements fat loss both when restricting calories for weight loss and when consuming a normal calorie count for weight maintenance. That means you could continue to tone your body without intentionally restricting calories. By merely upping your protein intake to 18 percent of your daily calorie consumption, you could also halve your chances of regaining pounds after weight loss, an issue that tends to be very common.

How Higher Protein Levels Help Your Long-Term Health

While increasing your protein intake can help you lose and maintain weight, it can also improve your health for the long term. Since you’re much more than a number on a scale, that’s great news for your well-being.

Perhaps most importantly, protein can help you build strength and grow your muscle mass. In fact, protein is one of the essential components of your muscles, so it’s no surprise that eating a high-protein diet can boost your muscles both during weight loss and weight maintenance. While the links between protein and muscle are well-known, you might be surprised to learn that protein can also keep your bones healthy by enhancing bone mass and lowering your risk of osteoporosis. That means protein can improve your health and boost your physical fitness as you age.

Eating a high-protein diet can also improve your cardiovascular health by reducing your blood pressure and helping you achieve lower blood sugar, and this type of diet plan can even lower your LDL cholesterol. If you maintain a healthy weight, these additional perks can substantially improve your long-term health and lower your risk of developing serious conditions.

How High-Protein Diets Compare to No-Carb Diet Plans

Before you make drastic changes to your daily diet, it’s important to know what high-protein diet plans look like. A high-protein diet plan isn’t a no-carb diet, which includes virtually no carbohydrates and a higher percentage of protein and fat than the average person eats. Instead, a high-protein diet includes a higher ratio of carbs. For example, a typical macro ratio for a high-protein diet might be 40 percent carbs, 30 percent protein, and 30 percent fat.

Like any healthy diet, a high-protein eating plan will encourage you to get all of your calories from healthy sources. Rather than loading up on protein supplements, opt for lean meats and fish, eggs, whole grains, nuts and seeds, and fresh produce. Be sure to space your macro and calorie consumption evenly throughout the day to moderate your blood sugar and hunger levels. Following these simple guidelines will help you achieve the best possible results from your diet plan.

Finding the perfect macro ratio may require a few adjustments here and there. Once you zero in on the right high-protein diet plan, however, you could be on track toward your ideal weight and improved long-term health.

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