A high-protein diet is one in which the diet consists mainly of foods that offer a great deal of protein, usually in the form of protein from animal sources. Typically these diets are very low in carbohydrates. These diets have become popular with dieters in the past few years, because of the quick weight loss that many people seem to achieve.
Some of the foods allowed on high-protein diets include lean meats such as less fatty cuts of steak, ham, or turkey, seafood like crab, halibut, or salmon, and vegetables without a lot of natural starch. These vegetables include cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts. Other vegetables allowed are green beans and spinach. Foods that are not allowed include breads, rice, pasta, foods containing large amounts of sugar such as cookies and candy, and vegetables characterized as starchy, including potatoes, squash, and corn.
There are several benefits of high-protein diets. People find they are easy to stay on because they do not require the purchasing of new, special, or exotic foods. They don’t have to go out and buy special smoothie powder or a certain brand of food, or try to find special grains or fruits or vegetables in exotic markets. Focusing food intake on protein is also very good for people who tend to overeat, because protein takes longer to digest in the human body, so they are likely to feel full for a longer period.
Some of the disadvantages of high-protein diets, however, are that people who drastically change the kinds of foods they put into their bodies can drastically change their metabolic function. This can have unintended consequences, as more people can develop symptoms of diabetes when they stop feeding themselves carbohydrates, because the body no longer needs to create the biological compounds necessary to digest them. It has been shown that the body loses weight with high-protein diets because there are important nutrients that it is not ingesting. When a dieter on a high-protein diet begins eating normally once again, the weight they initially lost will return. People on these diets also ingest more fat than they would if they were not on a high-protein diet, particularly if their diet plan includes a lot of meat. Their overall health will likely be negatively affected by this increase in fat intake, since it can lead to cardiovascular and other health problems.