Can a high protein, low-carb diet help you keep weight off permanently? Here’s what you need to know about the high protein low-carb diet.
For decades, it was believed that fat was the #1 enemy of health. Diet experts and nutritionists recommended that you eliminate fat from your diet as much as possible. Even if that meant increasing your sugar and carbohydrate intake.
Thankfully, modern science has discovered the truth: fat is good and carbohydrates are bad. The fact that carbs are so easily absorbed and processed by the body means high carbohydrate intake floods your body with glucose. If there is more glucose than can be used, it’s turned into fat. Essentially, this means carbs are more likely to cause weight gain (diabetes, heart disease, and other health problems) than fat.
Even more diets are encouraging a reduction in your carbohydrate intake as well as an increase of protein consumption. Below, we’ll take a look at a few of the MANY benefits of a High-Protein, Low-Carbohydrate Diet.
In order to build muscle, your body needs more protein. Specifically, the nine essential amino acids that are the building block of not just muscle cells, but a wide range of body cells. Protein foods like red meat, poultry, fish, and eggs are an amazing source of these amino acids. The more you get, the more muscle you build.
Aside from the fitness and aesthetic benefits of building muscle, you’ll find that an increase in muscle mass can lead to better overall health. More muscle means a higher energy demand, ergo a faster metabolism. The more your body produces energy from the food you eat, the less you end up storing after each meal.
More Fat Loss
If there is one key to fat loss, it’s increasing your lean muscle mass. Lean muscle requires a lot of energy to use. In turn, your body ends up not only burning through the energy you just consumed (via your meal), but also the energy it has stored up for just such an occasion. Slowly, as your lean muscle mass increases, your body burns through its fat stores one day at a time. It will take a while (months or even years), but eventually the increased lean muscle mass will get rid of the body fat.
By cutting back on carbs, you prevent the additional storage of fat. The increase in protein will lead to better muscle-building which will help to burn more fat. It’s a win-win combination that always gets results.
Reduced Diabetes Risk
Diabetes is a resistance to insulin that results from chronically high blood sugar levels. Where do you think all that blood sugar comes from? Why, all the simple carbs and sugar you eat, of course!
Some carbohydrates (complex) contain fiber and nutrients that slow down the absorption rate. Other carbohydrates (simple) are absorbed almost instantly, leading to a boost of energy as all the glucose produced by your liver floods your bloodstream. Your body is designed to counteract this surge of energy and thus produces insulin to lower glucose levels. The more this happens, the less sensitive your body becomes to the insulin. It begins to take longer for the insulin to counteract high glucose levels, which means there is more sugar in your bloodstream for longer. This is a condition known as diabetes.
By reducing carbs, you reduce the risk of flooding your body with glucose. Fat and protein both take much longer for your body to absorb, so they only release a steady stream of glucose into your bloodstream, not a flood. Adding more protein into the mix will increase muscle mass and encourage your body to burn more of the sugar floating in your blood. Once again, more muscle + less carbs = major health improvements!
Bonus: Eating more protein builds more muscle and burns more fat, which prevents insulin resistance. Excess body fat (the result of your body turning carbs into stored fatty acids) can actually coat the insulin receptors and make them less sensitive to the insulin.
Heart disease is the #1 threat facing the world today. It kills more people than anything else—a pretty scary thought, all things considered!
The vast majority of heart problems are the result of excess fat and cholesterol clogging up the arteries or the heart muscles. But do you know where that fat and cholesterol comes from? Sugar, of course!
Your body does turn dietary fat into serum lipids (fat in your bloodstream), but the primary source of serum lipids is excess glucose. Which is then converted into triglycerides and LDL cholesterol. Reducing your carbohydrate intake will prevent your body from producing those serum lipids.
Remember: your heart is a muscle, meaning it needs protein in order to function properly. Increasing your protein intake will deliver the amino acids your heart needs. You’ll strengthen the muscle and improve your cardiovascular function by cutting back on carbs and increasing your protein intake.
Here are just a few more of the MANY benefits of a High-Protein, Low-Carbohydrate Diet:
- Reduced appetite – Fatty, high protein foods are much more filling than simple sugars and empty carbs. Even a smaller portion of these foods will shut down your appetite more effectively than any high-carbcarbohydrate food ever could.
- Better belly fat loss – Not only does this diet lead to better fat loss, but it specifically encourages the burning of belly fat. This visceral fat is the most problematic and likely to cause health problems.
- Boost good cholesterol – Eating more fats and proteins will increase your levels of HDL cholesterol, the “good” cholesterol. This in turn prevents LDL cholesterol and triglycerides from getting out of control.
- Lowered blood pressure – Improved cardiovascular function (the result of a healthier diet) can reduce your blood pressure, taking the strain off your heart.
- Healthy for your brain – Your brain needs protein in order for your memory to work, and fatty acids can fight inflammation and brain degradation.
As you can see, a High-Protein, Low-Carbohydrate Diet can do wonders for your health. Pair it with an active lifestyle and you have everything you need to be in tip top shape.
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