The truth about the protein diet
For many years, the health and fitness world has raved about weight-loss benefits of a low-carbohydrate, high protein diet. In France, millions of women swear by Dr. Pierre Dukan’s diet which dictates eating lean protein-rich food to induce rapid weight loss, and in the United States, Dr. Robert Atkins’ diet has spawned an entire industry encouraging Americans to eat steak and lose weight.
As a nutrient, protein is crucial for our body’s growth and development. Our muscles, organs, nails and hair all depend on it. Yet numerous studies reveal that by increasing one’s intake of protein, coupled with exercise will not only improve weight loss, but will also help you to maintain a healthy appetite. Carbohydrates act as an energy source for the body, once you lower the intake, the body will turn to its fat stores, to meet these energy requirements. This is through a process called ketosis. A higher protein diet can help to suppress the appetite and give you that ‘full feeling’. Luckily, it is also a relatively simple diet to implement.
One of the richest sources of protein is found in meat, but before you start tucking into a steak, beware that red meat contains a lot of saturated fat; therefore it is best to stick to other sources such as lean meats, fish, poultry, beans, nuts and soy products. Eggs are also an excellent source of protein, and perfectly versatile. Although they do contain cholesterol, according to the Heart Foundation of Australia, it is acceptable to eat up to six eggs per week. Low fat dairy products such as milk and cheese are another option and for a little bit of sweetness, you can try sweet potatoes and yams. It is always important to include a healthy sampling of fruit and vegetables in your daily diet.
In order to kick-start a process of weight loss, it is preferable to embark on a high protein diet for short periods, but not as a long-term solution. Without sufficient fibre and other essential nutrients, excessive protein can cause problems to the liver and kidneys, and make it difficult for the body to remove waste products. There is also the unappetizing side effect of possible bad breath and body odour. So in short, it is important to strike a balance, and select a plan which although may be high in protein, is also fibre-rich and low in fat. Most of all, you should always consult your doctor first before considering this as a step to losing weight.
Excellent High Protein diet recipe:
Simple, easy, egg white omelette:
Three egg whites
2 or 3 spring onions or scallions
50g of baby spinach
50g of low-fat cheddar cheese
1 tbsp of dill
Salt and pepper
2 tsp of olive oil
- Pour olive oil onto a non-stick frying pan.
- Add the spinach, spring onions and the dill, and cook over a medium heat.
- Wait for the spinach to reduce and remove from the pan
- Remove egg whites, place in a bowel and whisk to form peaks
- Add oil to the pan and add the egg whites
- Cook for a few minutes on a medium heat, and add spinach, as well as the cheese to half the omelette.
- Wait for the omelette to turn golden, before folding to seal the filling.
Based in Brussels, Emily Boulter works as a foreign affairs researcher and writer. At 27, she has contributed articles to GLAMOUR.co.za, and a number of in flight magazines across Africa such as Ethiopian Airlines and Air Uganda. She is also an avid foodie and particularly loves to prepare traditional Middle Eastern dishes, but living in Belgium, she adores sampling the excellent cuisine for which the country is famous.