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High Protein - The Good, The Bad And The Ugly

By Randy Mclean

Everywhere you turn these days there is mention of the high protein, low carbohydrate diet. Type that phrase into any search engine and you are literally bombarded with web pages, some for it and some against it. In fact, that's how you might have gotten here! Regardless, there are certain facets of this approach we need to look at before we make an informed decision. This article will look at them in detail.

The Good

Make no mistake about it, the high protein diet works. I myself limit my carbohydrate intake during certain periods of the day. Whoops, I said the "C" word! So what is so bad about carbohydrates anyway?

Let us first understand that the main objective of any diet is to take in less calories than you burn off. That is at the core of any successful weight loss program. But we also must understand what makes up calories.

As you probably know, calories are made up of fat, protein and carbohydrates. Each has a different function and affects the body in a certain way. While true to a certain degree, it is a little too general to say "a calorie is a calorie." When you accept the universal principle of weight loss mentioned in the above paragraph you are then in a position to fine tune your program and use knowledge to your advantage. Knowledge that will speed up your results!

So what do carbohydrates do? For starters, they are the main source of energy that the body will use for fuel. But the drawback is that too many carbohydrates release excess insulin into the bloodstream, which in turn promotes fat storage.

What is the solution? As a rule, most successful dieters will cut back their carbohydrate intake after 7pm or 3 hours before bedtime. This alone will help tremendously.

The Bad

It is not wise to try and cut out carbs totally from your program. This can mess up your mind! Since everyone is different, it is wise to experiment and see what level you are comfortable with.

With your first few daily meals try adding a little starchy carbs - oatmeal, whole wheat bread etc. Then as the day progresses cut back to either fibrous carbs (salads for example) or none at all.

As mentioned above, the key is to experiment. I know some people who can get by on a very low daily intake of carbohydrates whereas for myself the 7pm rule applies.

Many sources on this topic are either strongly for or against this particular dieting approach. It is rare that you will find advice on how to overcome the obstacles and modify the program to suit your individual needs. If something is beneficial, you use it, if something is not, you modify it. You don't throw the baby out with the bath water!

The Ugly

The biggest thing under this heading is the increased risk of heart disease due to the high consumption of saturated fat and cholesterol. What do we do? We find better sources of protein!

You don't have to eat bacon, eggs and cheese every day. You can choose other leaner sources of protein such as chicken, turkey and fish. You can combine them into great tasting meals with natural seasonings such as onions. Add chicken in your salad with a vinegar dressing! There are plenty of options.

The second thing is the lack of energy a person might experience. Again, it is not prudent to try and eat zero carbs daily. All macronutrients are important and we should treat them as such. Again, opt for better carb choices such as whole wheat bread instead of white. The less refined the food is, the slower the rise in your blood sugar, therefore a slower rise in insulin levels.

If you think you will be missing certain vitamins and minerals a good multivitamin/mineral wouldn't be a bad choice. Also, you can get your fat from unsaturated sources such as flaxseed oil and nuts. Yes, a certain amount of fat is important.

Well there you have it! Apply these techniques to your program and your results will be accelerated!

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