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For or against High Protein Diets?

Protein is an important part of the diet. Virtually everything you see in the mirror is made from protein – skin, hair, nails, muscle. As well as behind the scenes – enzymes, hormones and a large part of bone – also made from protein. We need to eat a certain amount of protein every day to repair and replace cells, muscles, enzymes etc. A little extra is needed if you wish to grow more muscle.

Why are High-Protein Diets Popular?

By eating some protein with every meal, you will find that you feel full for longer. For instance, if you were to eat a meal comprising solely of carbohydrates for example toast and cereal, your blood sugar levels would rise fairly quickly, and come down quickly, leaving you feeling hungry in an hour or two.  However, by adding some protein (say an egg and toast), your blood sugar levels rise more slowly and are maintained at a steady level for longer.  In addition, if you wish to lose weight you will be pleased to know that eating protein can increase your metabolic rate, allowing you to burn calories faster.

But isn’t eating too much protein bad for you?

By eating protein with every meal, we don’t suggest you eat a huge steak three times a day. A small portion of protein is sufficient. For main meals around the size of the palm of your hand, for snacks about a third to half this size. Also, try to vary the protein. Experiment with beans and get fond of fish!

The following is a list of high protein foods. (*) means that that food is also high in fat, and would be best avoided  (or eaten less often) if you wish to lose weight.

Red meat *
Lean red meat
Chicken *
Chicken breast (no skin)
Legumes (including tofu)
Nuts *
Seeds *
Yellow cheese *
Ricotta or cottage cheese
Fish (small cans of tuna are ideal)
Lean pork