protein diets work? Are they good for us? Current research
suggests that a diet higher in protein may be an effective way
to lose weight, according to an article on this topic by
registered dietitian Kaley Todd in Today’s Dietitian.
Compared to lower protein diets, a boost of protein can help a
dieter preserve muscle mass and perhaps even control hunger.
research however, has shown that high protein diets don’t
result in long term weight loss any better than other diets.
Why the confusion? Probably because the definition of a high
protein diet is all over the map.
current Dietary Guidelines for Americans advise us to eat
between 10 percent to 35 percent of our total calories from
protein. More than that is technically "high
of the research studies that found a beneficial effect of high
protein diets for weight loss defined a high protein diet as
one that was around 30 percent protein.
another important note from most of the research studies that
found positive effects of high protein diets. Besides the fact
that these diets were high but not excessively high in
protein, they were also not excessively high in fat. Most came
in at around 30 percent of calories from the fat group —
what experts consider to be low fat.
essential then, says Todd, to consider how the protein we eat
is "packaged." If our concept of a high protein diet
is all the sausage and gravy and everything else our poor
heart doesn’t desire, we might be missing the point. High
protein diets that give free rein to as much fat as we can
pile on and severely limit our intake of healthful carbs like
fruit, yogurt, and whole grains are another story entirely.
the heck does all this mean? For most people, a diet that
provides protein on the higher end of the normal scale and
cuts out unnecessary carbs, especially those that are high in
sugar and fat (donuts, anyone?) can be a healthful way to lose
weight … and keep it off. And we still need to make sure our
bodies get all the essential nutrients they need for optimal
know if your diet falls in line with what’s considered
healthful? Plug in a day’s worth of eating and drinking (be
honest) at www.supertracker.usda.gov. Then run the Nutrient
Report. You might be surprised.
studies also suggest that — because we have different
genetics — some of us may respond more favorable to high
protein diets than others. Best to remember what my
grandfather told me; "Too much of anything is not good