Should You Eat A Low Fat High Protein Diet?

A diet that is low in fat and high in protein is generally considered one of the healthier and more effective diet plans for losing weight. This diet works because blood sugar levels stay level throughout the day, reducing the body’s need for insulin and allowing the body to properly metabolize body fat.

The American Heart Association’s dietary guidelines suggest that daily fat consumption should not exceed 25%-35% of daily calories, and of that, saturated fats should be less than 7% and trans fat less than 1% of daily calories consumed. These number generally fall in line with a low-fat high-protein diet.

What Are The Benefits of A Low Fat High Protein Diet?

Eating enough protein is essential to weight loss. The protein helps you feel satisfied and full longer after a meal, so you naturally eat fewer calories. It does this by keeping your blood sugar and blood insulin levels steady and stable, so you don’t experience the cravings that usually result from a high carbohydrate snack or meal. Your body has to work harder to digest protein than carbohydrates, so the more protein you eat, the more calories you burn.

Because fat is very dense in calories (one gram of fat = 9 calories, as opposed to one gram of protein or carbohydrate which = 4 calories), the more fat you eat, the faster the calories pile up. While a little bit of fat helps you feel satisfied and full, too much results in quick weight gain.

What Kind Of Protein Should I Eat?

Remember that protein is found in many different sources of food; to lose weight and maintain a healthy heart, you need to focus on the low fat sources of protein. These would include skinless chicken breasts, skinless turkey breast, fish, egg whites (all of the fat and cholesterol are in the yolk), beans, legumes, nuts, and seeds. You can also use high protein meal replacement shakes, but check the labels to make sure they are low in sugar, or your blood sugar level with throw your insulin level out of whack, making it virtually impossible to lose weight.

What Kinds of Fat Are OK?

Although you want to limit your fat intake to less than 35% of your total calories, you don’t want to eliminate it altogether. Limit saturated which is abundant in red meat and trans fat which is found in many baked goods, and instead focus on unsaturated fats such as: salmon, walnuts, almonds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, avocados, and olive oil. Used sparingly, these fats will help you stay full in between meals, and help contribute to your overall health.

Which Popular Diet Plans Are Low Fat and High Protein?

One of the most popular diet plans to espouse the low fat high protein mantra is the Mediterranean Diet, made popular by the book “The Sonoma Diet”. This particular diet plan is based on the eating habits of people in Southern Italy, Crete and coastal Greece. It is big on fruits, vegetables, walnuts, olive oil (instead of butter), and lots of grilled chicken and fish (instead of red meat). A recent clinical study showed an average of 10.1 pounds lost over a 6-month period.

Dean Ornish also touts a diet that is low in fat and high in protein, but as vegetarian diet plan it is completely devoid of meat of any kind. The result is a diet that is very high in fiber and low in fat; the protein is provided by eating beans, legumes and non-fat dairy products (in moderation).