It’s true that as long as you burn more calories than you take in, you’ll lose the same amount of weight on a high-protein diet as you would on any other diet. Being healthy isn’t just about how many pounds you weigh, though, and that’s where a high-protein diet has the edge.
Study Finds High-Protein Diet Better Than High Carb Diet
A study from the Pennsylvania State University recently published in the Journal of Nutrition found that a high-protein diet is better for overall health. Part of the reason is you’ll lose more fat, rather than muscle mass. When most people say that they want to lose weight, what they mean is they want to lose inches of fat. The problem with a low-calorie, high-carbohydrate diet is that it’s easy to stop losing fat and start losing muscle. Eating a diet high in protein helps your body maintain its muscle mass and even build more during that all-important exercise regimen.
130 dieters, who were about 45 years old and had a BMI of about 32.6 (which is very overweight), took part in the study. Half were put on a high-protein diet and half were put on a high-carb diet. The high-protein dieters ate about 1.6 grams of protein for each kilogram of body weight and less than 170 grams of carbohydrates every day. The high-carb dieters ate 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight and at least 220 grams of carbohydrates every day.
The study found that eating extra protein will also boost your energy level. Typical amounts of protein just aren’t enough for people who have desk jobs or try to get fit by cutting calories and hitting the gym. Even the daily intake level recommended by the U.S. government is insufficient for our modern lifestyles, the researchers said.
High Protein Diet Is Better For Your Heart
The researchers also found that high-protein diet is better for your heart. The research participants who ate a protein-rich diet had higher levels of HDL, or good, cholesterol. Their levels of triacylglycerol—more commonly known as triglycerides, which contribute to heart disease—were lowered. Because a high-protein diet helps keep those chemicals at healthy levels, it can reduce your risk of heart disease.
High Protein Diet Is Easier To Stick With
To keep those benefits to your heart and muscles, it’s important to change your habits for life. You may already have found that it can be hard to stay on a diet for very long. A high-protein diet is easier to stick with than a high-carb diet, a commitment that equals long-term weight maintenance. A meal that’s packed with protein will leave you satisfied for longer than one that’s high in carbohydrates, so you won’t feel deprived. At the same time, you’ll have more energy to move around and burn extra calories.
Weight loss may be a matter of calories in and calories out, but your lifelong health is affected by where you get those calories. A high-protein diet has an advantage because it helps you build and maintain lean muscle, keeps your heart healthier and improves your odds of staying on the diet for the long term.