One of the foremost benefits of a high-protein diet plan for women and men is the possibility of rapid weight loss. While it shouldn’t be adopted as a long-term lifestyle, many have found a high-protein diet effective for losing weight adding additional exercise to your daily regimen. Athletes and fitness buffs also find it useful for meeting their daily protein requirements and building fuller-looking muscles.
A high-protein meal plan usually means reducing your carb intake, which has its own benefits, from improved energy to better heart health. Despite popular opinion, high-protein meal plans can be nutritious and diverse, and the main difficulty is in knowing what to look for. This guide explores healthy protein foods and strategies you can integrate into your weight-loss meal plan.
High-Protein Diet Plan for Weight Loss
Popularized by the Atkins diet, the Dukan Diet, and other diet programs, high-protein, low-carb meal plans have been widely adopted by people looking to lose weight. It’s important to remember that excess calories are what cause weight gain, not carbs or proteins. Recent research shows that proteins may be more effective at curbing hunger by suppressing appetite-stimulating hormones. When you’re less hungry, you’re less likely to eat, which can help reduce your overall caloric intake. Reducing carbs is also believed to help weight loss by decreasing your insulin level and increasing glucagon production, prompting your body to burn more fat for energy. To be considered sufficiently high in protein, your meal plan should reserve more than 50 percent of the allotted calories for proteins. For weight loss, a daily protein intake of 120 grams is recommended.
High-Protein, Low-Calorie Foods
- Reduced-Fat Cottage Cheese
- Skim Ricotta Cheese
- Edamame (Soybeans)
- Nonfat Yogurt
- Turkey Deli Meat
- Egg Whites
High-Protein Diet Plan for Muscle Mass
If muscle gain is a priority, a low-carb, high-protein diet plan for men or women may not be the best fit. Instead, follow a high-protein meal plan that provides the energy—in the form of carbohydrates—that you need to exercise without muscle fatigue. Building muscle mass depends more on the amount of calories you consume then the specifics of your diet. Based on research, health and fitness experts advise adding an extra 500 calories to your normal daily caloric intake. Ideally, this would result in a weekly muscle gain of one pound. Your meal plan should maintain a good balance of carbs and proteins to maximize muscle gain. You should also consume more protein than the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of 0.8 g/kg of body weight. Carbs provide energy to burn during exercise, allowing your body to reserve protein for repairing muscle tissue.
Healthy High-Protein Food List for Athletes
- Whole Chicken
- Ground Turkey
- Pork Tenderloin
- Lean Ground Beef
- Fish, such as Tuna and Salmon
- Greek Yogurt
- Meal-Replacement Drinks
- Peanut Butter