The protein diet seems to be a quick way to lose weight.
With the beautiful days that arrive this seems to be the solution to succeed in losing the extra pounds. This diet consists of drastically increasing daily protein intake. At the same time, this method invites to limit the contributions in lipids but especially in carbohydrates.
The key, an average loss of 2 to 3 kilos per week.
# 1 WHERE DOES THE PROTEIN DIET COME FROM?
The protein diet, born in the United States, is known since the 1960s. At the beginning, this diet was for people who need to lose weight quickly for surgery. According to a scientific study, this diet would allow overweight people to maintain their muscle mass . It is interesting especially in the context of weight loss where the muscle mass is often undermined. Since then, this method of weight loss has become widespread and continues to make new followers. But is it really useful and how to apply it ?
This diet suggests drastically reducing the calories provided by carbohydrates and fats. To avoid the loss of lean body mass or muscle mass, it is also necessary to increase the protein intake.
"The recommendations for a protein diet are 1.5 grams of protein per kg of weight per day"
Namely : the proteins themselves are not responsible for weight loss, they allow the body to perform its vital functions. It is the drops of lipids and carbohydrates that will make you lose weight.
It is important to know how to adapt your diet and know the food protein compositions.
# 2 THE 4 PHASES OF THE PROTEIN DIET
The protein diet is often wrongly associated with the Cohen diet. Unlike the latter, it does not limit the number of total calories but plays on the proportions of macronutrients. Here, carbohydrates are limited to push the body to tap into these reserves .
An effective protein diet breaks down into 4 stages:
PURE PROTEIN PHASE
The first phase of the so-called "pure protein" diet usually lasts from 3 to 5 days . Only high protein foods and water are consumed on all meals. This process will trigger the ketosis phenomenon of the body. As a result, fat stored in adipose tissue will be consumed as the main source of energy by the body.
During this second phase, there is a reintroduction of fruits, vegetables and starches in small quantities. Still maintain a high protein intake during this phase.
In phase 3, your diet becomes almost normal with the maintenance of a protein meal two or three times a week. We note the gradual reintroduction of all kinds of food, taking care to restrict the quantities.
Simple sugars are still discouraged. These cause insulin peaks in our body in response to the high rate of sugar changes in the blood and have a very high glycemic index (it's a number from 0 to 100 assigned to a food, with pure glucose arbitrarily given the value of 100, which represents the relative rise in the blood glucose level two hours after consuming that food - wikipédia).
This last phase signifies the return to a normal diet. One or two meal replacements are useful in the event of deviations or too much meal the day before.
As you understand, the main foods in the protein diet are meats, fish, eggs and lean dairy products. These foods can be accompanied by vegetables preferably in season. Be careful, be careful not to consume too much fruit because they are rich in simple sugars.
Several tips for adding protein to your meals by consulting our article " 8 easy ways to add protein to your meals " (link coming soon).
# 3 FOODS ALLOWED IN A PROTEIN DIET
PROTEIN DIET AND EGG
The egg is a protein food of very good quality. Indeed, it contains the 8 amino acids essential to our body. Namely histidine, leucine, tryptophan, lysine, threonine, isoleucine, methionine and phenylalanine. These amino acids play a role in the formation of tissues and cells of our body. They can not be synthesized by our body: they must be brought by food, hence their qualification as essential.
"The proteins of the egg are of high biological value"
Egg yolk contains 5g of fat including 1.6g of saturated fatty acids. It should not be abused. Nevertheless, the studies do not show any health impact for daily egg consumption.
The majority of proteins are contained in the egg white. An average chicken egg of 60g contains 6.5 to 7g of proteins of which 60% are contained in the white.
Anecdote: The main proteins of the white of the egg are ovalbumin. These proteins are denatured by heat and coagulate after heating. This explains why when the egg is cooked the white becomes white instead of transparent.
In practice, you can make scrambled eggs, omelettes or poached eggs. If the taste is repulsive, you can incorporate them into raw or cooked, salted or sweet preparations. It is also possible to add the seasonings of your choice as spices.
More information on the place of eggs and their benefits in our article " Why should I eat eggs? " (link coming soon).
WHICH VEGETABLES FOR A PROTEIN DIET?
As discussed earlier, in the second phase of the protein diet you can reintroduce vegetables to your diet. Vegetables can increase the bolus and provide fiber, necessary for the proper functioning of intestinal transit.
Some vegetables can be eaten at will like green vegetables. Among them, asparagus, broccoli, celery or green cabbage. Also, you can eat all the salads without moderation.
Other vegetables can be eaten, but in limited quantities such as artichokes, green beans, leeks or tomatoes. You can consume up to 200g per day of these vegetables.
The discouraged vegetables are mainly beets, corn, pumpkins and peas. Why ? Because they are able to stop the ketosis and the body would then stop to draw from its reserves the fats that are to be eliminated.
PROTEIN AND MEAT DIET
All meats are allowed in this diet because they contain a lot of protein.
However, lean meats such as chicken should be preferred . To limit, those with a high content of saturated fatty acids such as red meats.
Beware, excessive consumption of meat is harmful for the kidneys because there are many toxins to eliminate. Special attention should be paid to people with kidney diseases.
To avoid vitamin and mineral deficiencies, it is important to reintroduce vegetables from the second phase of the diet. You can also consider vitamin supplementation .
# 4 SHOULD WE CONSUME PROTEIN POWDER?
If you consume protein powder, it should not replace all your daily contributions. Indeed, they are useful when they are integrated into a healthy diet. Protein powders are effective dietary supplements as part of a protein diet. They have the advantage of containing only a few carbohydrates while providing the body with a high amount of protein.
Not a fan of powders? You can opt for protein products like bars, drinks or cookies or even pancakes .
Some people tend to mistakenly take powdered protein intake to a doping behavior. The powdered proteins are of animal or vegetable origin and result from an agro-food treatment. This industrial process is only intended to make them more concentrated.
At what time of the day do you take them?
The ideal is to consume protein shakers outside of meals. The body needs protein intake every 3 to 4 hours to maintain lean body mass.
If you are a very sporty person, it is interesting to have extra protein in the hour after training . Indeed, it allows the body to recharge after spending related to physical effort.
# 5 MEATLESS PROTEIN DIET
Vegetarian, it is difficult for you to get all the proteins and amino acids that are essential for the proper functioning of the body. Fortunately, there are lots of plant foods with a high protein content. As a result, a vegetarian protein diet is effective as well as quite feasible.
Spirulina is a filamentous cyanobacterium of blue or green color. With 57.7g of protein per 100g, spirulina is a useful food for protein diets. In addition, Spirulina contains about 60 to 70% of excellent quality protein .
Health + : Cell membranes of spirulina do not contain cellulose. This makes it very interesting in terms of health. Indeed, this will allow good digestibility once spirulina is ingested in the body.
You can eat spirulina in the form of powder or granules . Nevertheless, its taste may seem strong for some and its nutty flavor is far from unanimous. For people wishing to reduce the taste, it can be consumed in capsules or tablets.
As part of a protein diet, you can take 1g of spirulina a day the first week. This allows to verify the tolerance of the organism vis-à-vis this food. Subsequently, the daily dose is 10g / day .
"It's its high protein that has earned it the name of seafood steak"
In addition, spirulina has already demonstrated its effectiveness against malnutrition of children thanks to its high protein content. According to scientists, a daily dose of 10g of spirulina would be enough to cure a child suffering from severe malnutrition. It is a way forward for feeding the growing population of our planet.
Spirulina is also rich in iron, vitamin B12 and beta-carotene, it is an essential complement for athletes. Indeed, this will help promote oxygenation of muscles and muscle mass gain. The three amino acids that are important in performance are leucine, isoleucine and valine. These are present in equal quantities in plant products such as spirulina as in animal proteins.
Spirulina makes her lose weight? It is certainly recognized as an appetite suppressantthanks to chlorophyll but it represents above all a significant protein intake. It can be a vitamin supplement essential to a slimming diet to avoid deficiencies.
Cultivated in China for thousands of years, soy has been exploited in France since the beginning of this century.
Soy protein and cereals are complementary in essential amino acids. It is therefore important, as part of a vegetarian protein diet, to combine these two food groups . For example, it is possible to combine soy with quinoa and vegetables for a balanced meal.
"Soy can be an alternative for people who are intolerant to cow's milk protein"
Be careful, however, to ensure good coverage of amino acids. Soy can cause hormonal imbalances in women because soy products contain phyto-oestrogens. Limit consumption for pregnant women and people with hormonal risks.
# 6 ADVERSE EFFECTS
These diets are very effective for losing weight in the short term. Nevertheless, excess protein can cause undesirable effects in some people.
DO PROTEINS GIVE PIMPLES?
They are indeed likely to give acne. The reason ? Milk proteins increase the production of anabolic hormones. These hormones are also responsible for the production of sebum and therefore oily skin. An alternative may be to turn to vegetable proteins.
KETOGENIC BODIES AND BAD BREATH
As we saw earlier, when you reduce the carbohydrate diet, the body begins to secrete ketones. Nevertheless, the body needs an adaptation phase of a few days.
During this period of keto-adaptation, a first part of the ketones is thus evacuated in the urine in the form of acetylacetate. The rest is evacuated in the breath in the form of acetone.
It is this process of evacuation of ketone bodies that is responsible for bad breath. But this is not inevitable: once the body is adapted, it is able to transform ketones into energy. There will be fewer losses and a better breath!
AND THE FIBERS?
By limiting fruits and grains, the protein diet does not bring much fiber into the diet.
"We should consume an average of 30g of fiber per day"
The latter, however, play an important role in satiety. Studies show that they prevent certain pathologies such as colon cancer. Proteins do not contain enough fiber to allow optimal functioning of our digestive tract.
In conclusion, the opinions of people who have made a protein diet are positive and show a rapid and lasting weight loss . Beware however of deficiencies.
According to Harvard Medical School consuming less than 1,200 daily calories in women and 1,500 in men would pose health risks .
A protein diet, to be effective, must also be accompanied by a regular practice of physical activity as well as a reeducation food . There are often more benefits to finding a healthy and balanced diet than losing a few pounds quickly.
- Matondo FK et al. Spirulina Supplements Improved the Nutritional Status of Undernourished Children Quickly and Significantly: Experience from Kisantu, the Democratic Republic of Congo , Int J Pediatric, 2016.
- Song Y et al. Dietary fiber and the risk of colorectal cancer: a case-control study , Asian Pac J Cancer Prev, 2015.
- Harvard Medical School. Calorie couting made easy , 2015.
- Spence JD, DJ Jenkins, Davignon J. Egg yolk consumption and carotid plate . 2012 Oct; 224 (2): 469-73.
- Glassijen AM et al. Effect of a high protein diet and / or resistance exercise on the preservation of weight loss in the weight loss and obese older adults: a randomized controlled trial , Nutrition journal, 2017.