Protein is one of the essential nutrients required for the optimal functioning of our body; It is constructed of smaller blocks known as amino acids, which are synthesized by the body to carry out several functions. It is suggested that one must consume a minimum of 0.36 grams of protein per 0.8 kilograms of body weight to meet the daily dietary requirements of protein in the body.
Several experts believe that while this recommended protein intake may be enough to prevent outright protein deficiency, it is ultimately too low for maintaining optimal health or sustaining muscle mass.
While proteins offer several health benefits, the most sought after benefit of consuming rich protein foods is weight loss and fat loss.
Protein has been noted to have a significant impact on weight loss. It has been observed that increased consumption of protein is beneficial for balancing out your hunger hormones and suppressing your appetite for prolonged periods after eating. Protein also increases PYY and GLP-1 hormones’ secretion, which promotes a feeling of fullness and satisfaction.
In a controlled study, people who consumed a high protein diet experienced higher GLP-1 levels and a relatively lower hunger level than people who were noted to consume a low protein diet. This caused a significant drop in their body weight as well. This concluded that the gradual changes in the GLP levels caused the test subjects to naturally experience a reduction in their food intake due to their suppressed appetite.
Processed animal meat is usually regarded as the best protein food as it contains all nine essential amino acids required for the proper functioning of our body. Animal-based protein is also available in various forms such as eggs, red meat, fish meat and other poultry. Alternatives include vegetarian protein sources such as pulses, nuts, legumes, and beans.
It has also been observed that a higher protein intake is essential for boosting the number of calories burnt by the body. The digestion of protein happens to boost metabolism by nearly 35%, which is significantly higher when compared to the metabolic activity increase of 15% brought about by digesting other food groups such as carbs and fats.
Coincidentally, vegan protein sources are a better way of reducing the body’s fat levels as they are a rich source of fibre, which is essential for maintaining digestion.
Generally, when your calorie intake takes a hit, your metabolic activity takes a hit as well. This is often observed among people who follow most weight-loss diets. Consuming protein-rich food veg can help kickstart your metabolic activity in such cases while also aiding muscle growth and development.
While protein is a vital nutrient to consume, the diet you plan must be easy for you to follow and tailored to meet your individual nutritional preferences and needs. Taking steps like combining your high protein diet with a low carb restriction can do wonders for keeping your glucose levels in check.
While lactose intolerant patients can opt for dairy-free protein-based diets, people who follow specific diets such as vegetarianism or veganism can consume plant-based protein.
Here are some essential guidelines to keep in mind while designing your high protein diet:
- Maintain an accurate record of your nutritional intake that notes down the calorific and protein-based values for foods that you regularly consume. This helps you add up your average protein intake for the day and determine whether you are meeting your micro and macronutrient goals.
- Calculate the exact amount of protein that your body requires based on your fitness and exercise levels. The average person, multiplying their weight in kilograms by 1.2-1.6 grams, can help derive the ideal level of protein intake that they require for the day. It is important to note these protein requirements may be significantly higher amongst athletes or pregnant women.
- Opt for high protein vegetarian foods as they are more ethically sourced and good for your digestive health as well.
Sample Vegan Protein Diet
Here is a sample plant-based protein diet that is high in protein and easy to follow:
Breakfast: 2 medium-sized Oatmeal Pancakes with a cup of green tea
Mid-morning snack: A teaspoon of flax seeds followed by a handful of mixed nuts of your choice.
Lunch: 2 Almond flour rotis, a cup of steamed and tossed vegetables, a cup of cooked dal with a side of Tofu salad.
Mid-afternoon snack: A cup of tossed or plain sprouts seasoned according to choice.
Dinner: Half a bowl of cooked brown rice, a cup of tomato soup, and a bowl of sambar with a side of cooked leafy greens.
Post-dinner snack: A single fruit of your choice.
This diet accounts for a healthy 1200 calories distributed through six even meals and contains about 85 grams of protein.
If your diet lacks adequate proteins you can also take protein supplements or protein powders to balance your intake.