High protein diets are currently getting quite popular as a method of weight loss. Some of the diets that use this concept are the Atkins diet , Paleo, and the Caveman diet. These diets are gaining in popularity and people manage to lose weight and reverse early type 2 diabetes with them.
The idea behind them is simple. More than 20% of your daily intake should be proteins. This means a reduction in carbohydrates and a massive increase in proteins. Expert agrees that this will help you stay feeling full for longer and you will reduce overall food intake. But like any diet, this has its own risks. Experts have been debating about potential long-term risks to kidneys and bones, though the studies have not been conclusive on that topic.
How does the protein diet work?
Proteins are broken down by your body’s enzymes in a few hours after consumption. They release nitrogen which flushes out of your body through kidneys and urine. What remains from the proteins is transformed into glucose for immediate use and the rest is stored in the form of glycogen. Carbs are the most efficient and fastest way to digest and get energy followed by proteins and fats .
This ensures that your blood glucose levels decrease. This also triggers glucagon and processes called lipolysis and glycogenolysis. Lipolysis releases fats (lipids) from your cells for energy usage and glycogenolysis releases glycogen from your muscles and transforms them into glucose for energy. In simple terms, glucagon removes glucose from your blood and stores it as glycogen in fat, liver, and muscle cells .
The usage of stored glycogen leads to loss of weight and water. With the depleted glycogen storage, your body turns fat cells (lipolysis) into energy via a process called ketosis. Ketosis itself is a topic all by itself and there are diets that revolve around reaching that state through food, fasting, and exercise.
Also, you will be losing more energy by digesting that food. Around 20-30% of the calories you will consume will be used to digest them. Carbs and fats only need 2-10% to digest .
The biggest downside of such a low carb and high protein diet is something called “the keto flu”. It is caused by your body’s attempts to adjust to the new diet. It can cause vomiting, nausea, headaches, sugar craving, and stomach pain (reported by Health Line) . But these symptoms are temporary and they will pass when your body adapts.
Before trying this out, it is always recommended to talk to your doctor and see what he/she thinks about this diet. It does work, that is for sure. How well it works, is up to you!
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