The complete guide to a high protein diet for weight loss

by | Jan 15, 2020 | Last updated Dec 21, 2022

A high-protein diet focuses on a variety of protein sources used as the foundation of your eating plan. There are various types of high-protein diet, and not all are proven equal. Depending on the type of diet chosen, weight loss could result. This is especially true of a high-protein, low-carbohydrate plan. Let’s take a closer look at the different varieties of a high-protein diet, but first, let’s take a closer look at what a protein is. 

What is a high protein diet?

A high-protein diet is any diet where 20% or more of your total daily calories come from protein.

There are various types of high-protein diets out there. But the most popular tend to be low-carb versions.

Of these, there are three major players:

  • Keto
  • Low-carb (e.g. Atkins)
  • Standard high protein (where the majority of calories come from protein)

In just about all high-protein diets, carbohydrates take up the least number of calories as they contribute to less than 10% of total intake.

High-Protein Diet Vs. Low-Carb Vs. Keto

There are many diets out there and knowing which to choose is a difficult decision, especially with so much information floating around. Let’s compare and contrast three of the most popular high-protein diets circulating today.

Standard High-Protein Diet – A high-protein diet suggests getting most of your daily caloric intake from protein. These types of diets have been shown to decrease calorie intake by 441 calories a day and decrease food thoughts by as much as 60%. The high-protein diet is more successful than a high-fat diet. Much like the keto diet, it reduces the feelings of hunger.

Low-Carb Diet – Like the keto diet, the generic low-carb diet uses super low carb counts to trigger ketosis. Although unlike the keto diet, people on a lower-carb diet get 10% of their daily intake from carbs, 60% from fats, and 30% of their daily intake from protein. Low-carb diets rely on higher protein intake than the keto diet.

Keto Diet – The keto diet consists of low-carb, high fat, moderate protein plan. Unlike the traditional low-carb diet, which was designed for weight loss, the keto diet was initially made for seizure prevention. Typically, people on the keto diet get 2-5% of their calories from carbs, 75-90% of their daily intake from fats, and the remaining 6-20% from protein.

These three diets have many different benefits and serve to fit the individual. Many of these diets can show people how to lose weight, how to stick to a low-carb diet or overcome the challenges of sticking to a weight-loss diet, if only because high-protein diets tend to reduce hunger so you eat less.

How to Get Started on Your High-Protein Diet

When you’re ready to get started on your high-protein diet, you first need to know how much protein is right for you. The amount of protein required is associated with the type of diet, the purpose of the diet, and the person consuming the diet. From there, you can figure out how exercise impacts your protein intake, and the role protein plays in ketosis.

Protein Levels for Women and Men

Measuring the daily intake of protein for women and men isn’t an exact science; however, the general consensus is that 0.8 g of protein per 2.2 pounds is just the right amount, but this is a general recommendation. To better find how much protein you should consume, try this.

Multiply your body weight in pounds by 0.36. For example, a 200-pound individual (200 multiplied by 0.36) would need to consume about 72 g of protein per day. This is the amount for an average diet, not a high-protein diet. To reap the benefits of higher intake of protein, you have to take into consideration why you’re changing your diet and how it will affect your health.

Protein and Ketosis

Using a high-protein diet, weight loss is accomplished by reaching something known as ketosis. Ketosis is a metabolic state that happens from depriving the body of carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are the largest source of fuel in the human body. In depriving the body of carbohydrates, you are also robbing glycogen stores from being filled. When this happens, the body looks for other sources of fuel. During this metabolic transition, the body then uses fat to convert into ketones; this becomes the body’s new source of energy.

Ketones are simply a byproduct created when the body breaks down fat for fuel. There are only three different types of ketones.

Acetoacetate– At the top of the list, this ketone is created when fatty acids are broken down. This ketone is then converted into acetone or beta-hydroxybutyric acid.

Acetone– Next, created from acetoacetate, we have acetone. This ketone breaks down very quickly and is expelled through waste and breath.

Beta-Hydroxybutyric Acid– Lastly, Beta-hydroxybutyric acid isn’t actually a ketone. However, within the keto diet community, people often consider it to be.

Ketosis allows for better mental focus and ketones provide a constant source of energy for the entire body, including the brain. With a high-protein diet and ketosis, this constant source to pull from allows the brain consistent fuel to make optimal focus come easily.

Another added benefit from ketosis is the physical endurance level it creates. Without the need for replacing glycogen, the body can just keep going, so with a high-protein diet and ketosis, your endurance may also increase. This could be perfect for marathon runners. However, someone who is bodybuilding for muscle mass would not benefit as strongly from a keto diet because carbs are used to carry protein to the muscle for growth and recovery.

Ketosis and Weight Loss

Ketogenic diets are all the rage, and rightfully so. There are thousands of people sharing their keto journeys across social media from around the world. There’s a clear difference between a traditional high-protein diet and a keto diet. The difference comes down to fat intake. As much as 70% of total calories from fat are required to follow a ketogenic plan accurately. Does a keto, high-protein diet work for weight loss?

We know some diets work for some people and others don’t, but we also know, thanks to clinical research, that Noom works to help you lose weight without a diet.

The simple answer is – yes. When the body is in ketosis, it burns the small number of carbs you intake each day before switching over to burning fat for fuel. On average, people on a keto diet lose about five more pounds per month than those on a more traditional weight-loss diet.

Types of High-Protein Ketogenic Diets

Not all ketogenic, high-protein diets work in the same way – but all focus on increasing fat intake and reducing (dramatically) your carbohydrate intake.

(SKD) Standard Keto Diet – “very-low-carbohydrate with moderate protein and high fat” Typically, 70 percent fat, 25 percent protein, and five percent carbohydrates.

(CKD) Cyclical Keto Diet – “periods of higher carbohydrates in between the ketogenic diet cycles.”

(TKD) Targeted Keto Diet – “adding additional carbohydrates around the period of the intensive physical workout.”

(HPKD) High-Protein Keto Diet – “ratio of about 65 percent fat, 35 percent protein, and five percent carbohydrates.”

The Difference Between Noom and Other Plans and Programs

When it comes to learning how to eat and how to live for weight loss, Noom works from a psychological perspective. According to the Chief of Psychology for Noom, Dr. Andreas Michaelides, “By understanding the past behaviors and attitudes of all types of users, we know the best way to meet our users where they are in their journey to help them maximize their change of long-term weight-loss success.” Noom, as a weight-loss platform, uses the power of food logging, among other advanced technologies, to teach simple, key behaviors for lasting change. Behavior changes that include self-efficacy, motivation, and knowledge are just the start of how psychology can interact with food, so you lose more weight in a way that lasts a lifetime.

Noom works with tech-based tools partnered with support from real-life coaches in a structured program that connects the user with the social support and positive reinforcement needed to change behavior in a way that increases the likelihood of success.

Not all dietary changes are for everyone, and no two weight-loss plans should be the same, which is precisely how Noom works.

By identifying specific areas where changes can be made to reach goals of weight loss and health improvement successfully, users realize where their best changes are to be made and how those changes are incorporated into a lifestyle they can adopt for the long-term.

Detailed Look at High-Protein Diets and Weight Loss

One of the first things we find about the high-protein diet is that it promotes weight loss and increases energy expenditure in men and women, though the best results come with a high-protein, low-carb diet. When women, in one study, paired a high-protein diet with exercise, the results on weight were clinically significant – they simply lost more weight.

Protein and Appetite

High-protein diets have been shown to increase energy expenditure (the number of calories the body burns). This is especially true of high-protein diets, as opposed to medium-protein diets.

“Dietary protein contributes to the treatment of obesity and the metabolic syndrome, by acting on the relevant metabolic targets of satiety and energy expenditure.”

This isn’t the only study showing the effect of protein on appetite. It appears that this effect is linked to amino acid levels and various hormone concentrations.

High-protein diets are thought to work to suppress hunger thanks to the release of satiety hormones and increased ghrelin levels.

In terms of thermogenesis, or the production of heat, higher protein diets work to decrease appetite via results of “diet-induced thermogenesis.”

Protein and Ghrelin Levels

The “hunger hormone,” also known as ghrelin, is produced in the gut of the human body; it then travels throughout the bloodstream and eventually makes its way into the brain. Once at the brain, it signals the body to eat when hungry. Interestingly, during a typical diet, these levels of ghrelin increase and convince the person to eat eventually. However, when significant protein is ingested, ghrelin levels are reduced, allowing the person to fight off hunger and lose weight.

It appears that after eating a high-protein meal, ghrelin levels decrease gradually. This decrease can help reduce the amount of ghrelin released and, thus, decrease hunger.

Protein and Metabolism

Another study reports that high-protein “diets may be metabolically advantageous, particularly for overweight and obese adults attempting to lose weight.”

The effects of a high-protein diet on metabolic rate is well-established in research on both adults and adolescents.

Protein and Muscle Loss

Diets without sufficient levels of protein can actually cause loss of lean muscle tissue. When protein is needed, the body breaks down this tissue, which can cause weight loss, but not in a healthy, sustainable manner.

When adequate, not excessive, protein intake is adopted, it can result in weight loss while protecting muscle mass.

To prevent muscle loss, research shows you can intake protein before bed, which increases the rate of protein synthesis overnight. This, in turn, supports muscle growth and recovery.

While high-protein diets have been shown to promote the preservation of lean muscle mass, it has been noted that to protect muscle successfully, an adequate amount of protein is required.

Who Would Benefit From a High-Protein Diet?

High-protein diets are not merely popular for weight loss; they are also beneficial in other ways.

Of the many reasons people can benefit from a high-protein diet, some include:

  • Bodybuilders: Many bodybuilders use a high-protein diet for muscle gain. Because bodybuilders break down a lot of muscle, they need to have a high-protein diet to ensure proper muscle mass. Protein helps muscles to repair and restore after physical activity, like weight training and other types of muscle-building exercise programs.

Research shows that bodybuilders actually need more protein than average people. This is especially true of competitive bodybuilders.

  • People prone to weight gain: Many people use a high-protein diet to lose weight. Protein increases the feeling of fullness and allows people who are prone to weight gain the option of a diet that actually works. By stabilizing blood sugar, proteins help those who feel hungry frequently feel full and resist eating. This helps individuals learn how to lose weight fast, efficiently, and safely.

Something as simple as a high-protein snack can reduce hunger between meals enough to facilitate weight loss or reduce/prevent weight gain.

  • Women with sugary, carbohydrate diets: Proteins can help women with a medical condition known as Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. PCOS has been linked to sweet cravings and has been directly linked to diabetes. A high-protein diet with little to no carbs can also help a person on a limited diabetic diet. By participating in a healthy diet plan, people with PCOS can cut down on weight gain and potentially increase fertility, a result that has been linked to weight loss in some women. Women with PCOS typically can use a high-protein diet weight-loss program to cut back on carbs and create a regime to lose weight. The high-protein diet weight-loss programs available can show women how to lose weight fast, maintain a low- to no-carb diet, and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

It’s also vital for women with PCOS to intake enough fiber while reducing saturated fat intake.

  • People who are middle-aged: Because middle-aged people are at risk for an array of conditions, protein is vital. With an increased risk of heart disease, bone loss, hair loss, and other medical conditions, it is essential to look at the many high-protein diet benefits. Many middle-aged people use a high-protein diet for muscle gain to help combat muscle loss that comes with aging.

High-protein diets have been shown to help “slow functional decline in older adults.”

You don’t have to be hungry to lose weight.

If you look at how your mind helps push you toward one food or another, you can learn why, and how to use that information to change things up for weight loss – check out Noom to learn why you eat the way you do.

Good and Better Sources of Protein

There are many sources of protein; however, there are some foods that are better sources of protein than others. Many of these items make a perfect contribution to a high-protein diet menu. If losing weight and gaining muscle mass is a goal, these foods are at the top of the priority list for most high-protein diets. Some good and better sources of protein include:

Animal-Based

  • Pork chops- 26 g per 3 oz serving (206 calories)
  • Yellowfin tuna- 25 g per 3 oz serving (92 calories)
  • Chicken breast- 24 g per 3 oz serving (140 calories)
  • Corned beef- 24 g per 3 oz serving (213 calories)
  • Halibut- 23 g per 3 oz serving (94 calories)
  • Sockeye salmon- 23 g per 3 oz serving (143 calories)
  • Steak (bottom or top round)- 23 g per 3 oz serving (142 calories)
  • Greek yogurt- 23 g per 8 oz serving (130 calories)
  • Light tuna- 22 g per 3 oz serving (99 calories)
  • Cottage Cheese- 14 g per 1/3 cup serving (76 calories)
  • Beef jerky- 13 g per 1 oz serving (116 calories)
  • Swiss cheese- 8 g per 1 oz serving (108 calories)
  • 2 Percent milk- 8 g per 1 cup serving (103 calories)
  • Egg- 6 g 1 large egg (72 calories)

Vegetable-Based

  • Navy beans- 20 g per 1 cup serving (70 calories)
  • Dried lentils- 13 g per 1/4 cup serving (169 calories)
  • Tofu- 12 g per 3 oz serving (64 calories)
  • Peanut butter- 8 g per 2 tbsp serving (188 calories)
  • Green Peas- 7 g per 1 cup serving (118 calories)
  • Quinoa- 8 g per 1 cup serving (222 calories)
  • Mixed nuts- 6 g per 2 oz serving (344 calories)
  • Edamame – 5 g per ¼ cup shelled (120 calories)
  • Hemp seed – 4 g per tablespoon (50 calories)
  • Chia seed – 3 g per tablespoon (58 calories)
  • Asparagus – 3 g per 1 cup (20 calories)
  • Broccoli – 3 g per 1 cup (31 calories)
  • Brussel’s sprouts – 3 g per 1 cup (38 calories)
  • Watercress – 1 g per 1 cup (3 calories)
  • Alfalfa sprouts – 1 g per 1 cup (10 calories)
  • Spinach – 1g per 1 cup (7 calories)
  • Cabbage – 1 g per 1 cup (22 calories)

As you add foods to your Noom log you are given all calorie and nutrition information so you know exactly how much protein you’re getting.

Benefits of a High-Protein Diet

There are many benefits of a high-protein diet. Some of these include:

  • Increase muscle mass
  • Protect against the loss of lean muscle while dieting
  • Reduce muscle loss during aging
  • Strengthen bones
  • Improve wound healing
  • Improve symptoms of neurological disorders
  • Reduce seizures in people with epilepsy
  • Reduce hunger

Protein is a necessity; it is one of the three macronutrients in the food we ingest. Amino acids, which protein is made of, breakdown and re-assemble themselves into different elements that the human body requires. Protein is important because if we do not get enough of it, our bodies will start to take it from other parts of the body, such as the muscles. By eating enough protein, we can replenish the necessary levels we require and keep the rest of the body running smoothly and healthily.

Muscle Mass and Strength: During resistance training, a high-protein diet will help increase lean muscle mass, and subsequently, strength.

For best results, a high-protein diet needs to be partnered with an adequate exercise program. Basically, you cannot increase muscle mass and strength with increased protein intake alone. You need to work those muscles before size and tone is changed.

Bone Strength: When too little protein is consumed, it can cause weaker bones and increase the risk of breakage, especially in aging adults.

It appears the connection between protein and bone health is rooted in calcium absorption. Protein works to help with “calcium retention and bone metabolism.”

Healing Injury: Protein is used in the formation and health of organs and tissues. With sufficient protein intake, the time it takes to recover from injury is reduced.

Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) and Parkinson’s Disease (PD): It appears a high-protein ketogenic diet can decrease the risk of developing Alzheimer’s Disease and Parkinson’s Disease. It’s thought that anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects are the heart of cognitive protection.

Human studies, not studies on animals, has shown this positive effect on neurological processes to fight AD and PD.

Epilepsy: A high-protein, high-fat diet has been used since the 1920s to treat the symptoms of epilepsy. The effect has been shown in people of all ages.

The high-protein, ketogenic diet works well as an addendum to medication therapy for epilepsy.

Appetite: There’s a wealth of research showing that protein intake increases satiety, which means you feel less hungry and, in turn, consume fewer calories.

Health Risks of a High-Protein Diet

Overeating protein has been a health concern for many people. If you eat too much protein, it will ruin your kidneys. Let’s explore some of the most common health issues high protein diets may be harmful for.

  • Kidney damage. It has been noted that high-protein diets may fuel kidney damage — an interesting misconception caused by doctors typically telling individuals with preexisting kidney issues to eat a low-protein diet. High-protein diets are not known to cause kidney disease. This comes from the idea that higher levels of protein cause the kidneys to work harder because there are higher levels of metabolic waste to be excreted through the urine. If your kidneys are already damaged, clearly, this is harder on them. However, if your kidneys are perfectly healthy, high levels of protein are not going to cause kidney damage.

Though research shows that taking in too much protein can cause kidney issues, additional research shows no harmful effects or side effects of increased protein intake. (The Journal of Nutrition)

  • Liver damage. Being another processing organ in the human body, the same applies to the liver. If you suffer from cirrhosis of the liver, high-protein foods are not ideal. However, if your liver is healthy, there is no concern for liver damage through a high-protein diet menu.

When intaking moderate amounts of protein, there doesn’t seem to be an effect on liver health. However, when protein intake is too high, liver damage can occur. (Examine)

  • Osteoporosis. While eating foods high in protein can cause calcium to leave the body at higher rates, eating more protein alone does not cause osteoporosis. There is a significant amount of protein also located in the bones of the human body. Bones are similar to muscles, in that they are continually being broken down and rebuilt. This means that bones also require protein. Elderly women who eat a diet consisting of higher protein foods have a higher bone density, showing that protein can actually do the opposite for the bone health of individuals who are most prone to have osteoporosis.

It appears that high-protein diets can cause an increased release of calcium. This, in turn, affects bone health and density. (The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition)

  • Heart disease. There is limited understanding and knowledge to base the concept that higher levels of protein intake increase the risk or development of heart disease. It is thought that higher levels of animal-protein intake are directly linked to heart disease. Though, there is no mention of plant-based protein. This suggests that the problem isn’t actually the protein but where you get the protein from – though research has yet to come to a consensus.

Surprisingly, another negative result of high-protein diets includes an increased risk of heart failure. (Circulation. Heart Failure)

  • Cancer. The most interesting connection thus far is the connection between cancer and protein. Most studies connecting these two things have been based on human memory. Having a patient recall the amount of protein they ate throughout their lives is widely inaccurate because of the inconsistencies and reliability of the memory. Even more impressive was that while people aged 50-65 were associated with higher death rates linked to eating protein, people aged 65 and older showed a reversal of that data. This indicates that there is limited knowledge and proof that protein causes cancer. Many of the studies done linking high-protein intake with cancer have a focus on where the protein came from. Like heart disease, the risk of cancer-induced through protein intake was taken from animal-sourced protein. Learning how to supplement animal protein with plant protein sources may be the key to these study results.

Believe it or not, excessive intake of protein can lead to an increased risk of respiratory tract cancer in men. (Nutrition Journal)

There’s also evidence that high protein intake can elevate the risk of colon and rectal cancers. (Diet, Nutrition, and Cancer)

  • Dehydration. It appears that increased protein intake tends to be matched with decreased fluid intake. This can cause dehydration, which can eventually lead to constipation.
  • Constipation. It appears, thanks to the potential for protein to sap fluid levels in the body, dehydration can occur. Dehydration can lead to constipation as the bowel doesn’t have enough liquid to function properly. To negate these effects, increase water intake and take in enough dietary fiber to keep things moving.
  • Kwashiorkor Protein Deficiency. Protein is such a necessity that without it, the body would become malnourished and die. With many people talking about high-protein diet risks, it is only prudent that we point out the effects of protein deficiency. Kwashiorkor is a disease of protein deficiency. This deficiency mostly affects people who have faced famine or who are on a low-protein diet – as is the case with extreme vegan diets where protein intake is not well monitored. Protein virtually makes up everything our bodies do, all the enzymes and blood transporters, the formation of your fingernails and hair, a lot of the hormones in the body, much of the muscle, and bone and internal organs. Essentially if there is no protein, there can be no person. Knowing this shows us that it is clear that Kwashiorkor is a serious condition, and protein is an absolute must to keep our bodies in perfect working order.

Though there are possible side effects of excessive protein intake, the body needs protein to function correctly. Too little protein, called protein deficiency, can lead to this form of malnutrition. (StatPearls)

Despite the ample support for various adverse effects of a high-protein diet, there’s research that shows “no harmful effects” of the said diet. (Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism)

Fighting the Risks of a High-Protein Diet

Experts agree that there are some changes you have to make in your diet to ensure overall health and reduce the risk of side effects. The changes include:

  • Drinking more water
  • Taking a vitamin B6 supplement
  • Taking a multivitamin with vitamin D, calcium, and magnesium

Drinking more water and giving your body the best nutrients through whole foods is what’s behind healthy living.

Noom helps users work through lifestyle changes gradually so these healthy living changes become lifestyle habits.

Sample High-Protein Diet Menu – Meat Eaters

Finding high-protein diet recipes for all diet plans can be challenging. Many people get consumed with confusion at what they should be eating and how much they should be eating. Let’s take a look at a week-long high-protein diet menu for a meat-eater.

Day 1

Pork Cutlets with peppers and onions. This protein-heavy meal is easy and loaded with protein. Saute peppers, shallots, kalamata olives, and cannellini beans with a pork cutlet and enjoy. Add parsley and other spices to taste.

Day 2

Steak with sauteed tomatoes and green beans. This is an easy stovetop or grilled option loaded with protein. Simply cook steak and saute the tomatoes and green beans with some oregano and sliced garlic.

Day 3

Slow cooker corned beef and cabbage. This is a perfect addition to the menu because it is easy and takes very little work. Simply take beef, red potatoes, carrots, and cabbage and place it in a slow cooker for seven to eight hours. Add thyme and caraway seeds halfway through for taste.

Day 4

The beef, bacon, egg burger. This is easy and loaded with protein. Mix hamburger with fried bacon in a bowl, pat out, and fry. Place burger on an English muffin bun and top with tomato and egg.

Day 5

Roasted curry salmon with tomatoes. Fish is always a great option for any diet plan consisting of high protein. Toss tomatoes in oil and place on a baking sheet, nestle salmon on the same sheet, and bake at 400 degrees F until fish is flaky. Place salmon over rice vegetables and top with tomatoes and basil.

Day 6

Lentil and kielbasa stew. Saute celery, carrots, and onions. Add kielbasa, lentils and cooking liquid and allow to simmer. Make sure to stir occasionally until done.

Day 7

Chipotle beef and beer chili. Easy to make dish using one pound of ground beef and a cup or two of kidney beans. Saute onions, brown meat and add in peeled tomatoes, beans and chipotles in adobo sauce. Mix in some Mexican beer to help keep this chili moist.

Sample High-Protein Diet – Vegetarian and Vegan

Vegetarian and vegan diet plans can be a challenge when trying to adopt a high-protein diet. Finding a high-protein diet for vegans gets even trickier. Though tricky, many of these high-protein diet recipes are easy to make. Let’s take a look at a week-long high protein diet for vegetarians and vegans.

Day 1

Cashew noodles with tofu and broccoli. Boil the noodles, puree cashews, and steam broccoli and toss together with tofu to get this high-protein meal. For a change, leave cashews whole and mix with noodles, broccoli and tofu.

Day 2

Black bean salad. This meal is great for a high-protein diet for a vegan. Just add black beans, tomatoes, avocado, corn kernels, and finely chopped celery and mix with a little olive oil and a squeeze of lemon or lime.

Day 3

Cauliflower and cheese. Mixed raced or chunked cauliflower with vegan cheese and almond milk. Bake until the vegetables are just soft. Move to the top rack to slightly brown the cheese.

Day 4

Vegetarian chili. Made like most chili, this vegetarian version can be made by substituting the hamburger found in regular chili and adding enough black beans and kidney beans to ramp up the protein.

Day 5

Bean kale burger. Substitute the protein in beef by using pinto beans, kale, and vegan pepper jack cheese to make this burger. Add tomatoes and lettuce for a topper.

Day 6

Egg in a basket with asparagus. This can be part of a high protein diet for a vegan if they eat eggs. Simple fry the egg into the high-protein bread, add Gruyere cheese and use grilled or steam asparagus as a sandwich topper.

Day 7

Lentil barley vegetable soup. Take lentils, split peas and barley, and add them all in a crockpot to make this high-protein meal. Lentils typically take a few hours on high to fully cook.

Want to follow a higher-protein diet? Noom works with you to create a custom plan so you lose weight on your terms.

Tips for a High-Protein Diet

With any diet, there are key components to ensure that individuals stick to their regime. These simple steps can help a person learn how to lose weight in a controlled, safe manner. Some essential tips for a high-protein diet include:

  • Keep a food diary
  • Calculate protein needs
  • Eat protein at every meal
  • Include animal and plant proteins in your diet (if not vegetarian or vegan)
  • Choose high-quality protein sources
  • Consume well-balanced meals
  • Eat your protein first, for appetite suppression
  • Choose Greek yogurt over traditional yogurt
  • Drink plenty of water to reduce the risk of constipation and dehydration
  • Add fiber to your diet, again to curb the risk of constipation

Research on Protein and High-Protein Diets

Study Title: Ghrelin and glucagon-like peptide one concentrations, 24-h satiety, and energy and substrate metabolism during a high-protein diet and measured in a respiration chamber.

This study was done on 12 women, ages 18-40. The women were fed an energy-balanced adequate protein or an HP diet in a random crossover design. The group that partook in the high-protein diet felt fuller, had increased GLP-1 levels, and ate less than the group who were supplied with the lower-protein diet.

Study Title: Quantity of dietary protein intake, but not a pattern of intake, affects net protein balance primarily through differences in protein synthesis in older adults.

This study from the University of Arkansas Medical Sciences showed that after six months, people ages 52-75 who doubled up on protein were found to be better at building and keeping muscle. These high-protein diet side effects show positive results in all aging individuals’ health. By grabbing protein from beans, nuts, fish, and whole grains, people of this age can avoid high cholesterol and maintain proper protein levels.

Study Title: Randomized trial on protein vs carbohydrate in ad libitum fat reduced diet for the treatment of obesity.

This 6-month study involved two groups of 65 individuals who were overweight. The study concluded that those who participated in the high-protein group lost 43% more body fat than those who participated in the high-carb group. This shows that a high-protein diet with few carbs can be beneficial to those who suffer from weight gain and that they can adhere to a high-protein diet to lose weight.

Study Title: Postprandial thermogenesis is increased 100% on a high-protein, low-fat diet versus a high-carbohydrate, low-fat diet in healthy, young women.

This study was done with ten women who were given a high-protein diet for a single day. This study concluded that two times the amount of daily protein intake increased the metabolic rate after meals than if they were to consume a high-carb diet in a single day.

Study Title: A high protein diet (3.4 g/kg/d) combined with a heavy resistance training program improves body composition in healthy trained men and women – a follow-up investigation.

The study was done on 48 resistance-trained individuals, including both men and women. Research concluded that pairing heavy-resistance training with a high-protein diet showed no deleterious effect on the body.

Study Title: The effects of consuming a high protein diet (4.4 g/kg/d) on body composition in resistance-trained individuals.

This study was done on 37 healthy women and men who were resistance-trained. Each person was either assigned to a control group or a high-protein group. The control group maintained the same dietary and training habits for over eight weeks. The individuals who participated in the high-protein group were to consume 4.4 g of protein daily for each kg of their body weight. The results of this study concluded that the consumption of 5.5 times the daily recommended protein intake showed no adverse side effects on resistance-trained individuals.

Final Word on High-Protein Diets

High-protein diets can take on a variety of different looks and rules. If you’re trying to lose weight, partner a high-protein diet with higher fat content to reach ketosis – the process of burning fat for fuel in place of carbohydrates. If you’re looking to grow and maintain muscle mass, consume a good source of protein after meals, if you’re trying to decrease the risks of certain diseases, again partner high-protein with higher fat intake.

These are just a few of the benefits of a high-protein diet, but you must also consider the risks. Too much protein can wreak havoc on your system and potentially cause constipation.

While there are pros and cons with a high-protein diet, there’s reason to believe that eating more protein can be beneficial for overall health, including weight loss and bone health.

Whether you’re looking for a high-protein diet, a low-carb diet, or another plan, Noom offers a personal coach and a custom weight-loss plan so you don’t have to start another diet again.

Check out Noom today!

Questions and Answers (QA)

What are high protein foods for weight loss?

Depending on the eating plan you’re following – keto, paleo, vegetarian, vegan, there are a variety of high protein foods for weight loss. Some of the best do fall into the plant-based protein category because of the nutrient profile. These foods include nuts, seeds, milk-based foods like yogurt, and lean meats and fish.

What foods are the highest in protein?
For meat eaters, the foods highest in protein include eggs, chicken breast, cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, lean beef, and fatty fish. For vegetarians and vegans, incorporate plant-based proteins like those found in nuts, seeds, beans, and oats.

What happens to your body if you eat too much protein?
When you eat too much protein the body converts the protein to glucose and stores the energy for later use. This can happen on a low-carb diet and is one reason why the body falls out of ketosis.

Is high protein bad?
Anything in excessive amounts is “bad,” if you will. High-protein diets have been followed for hundreds of years as a solution for all kinds of health conditions like difficulty sleeping and epilepsy.

How much protein is too much?
Research suggests that eating upwards of 2g of protein per 2.2 pounds of body weight can lead to health problems, when adopted long-term. In a 200-pound person, too much protein would fall at around 175g.

Are oats high in protein?
Oats supply about 6g of protein per cup.

How much weight can you lose on a high protein diet?
The amount of weight you lose on a high protein diet depends on your current weight, age, activity level, and the type of high protein diet you’re following. The most popular low-carb, high-protein diets has been used for weight loss for decades.

Can too much protein make you gain weight?
Yes, too much of any food can cause weight gain. Any time the body produces more energy than it needs, it stores the excess in fat cells for later use.