Anyone engaging in regular exercise will typically be advised to eat a diet that is high in protein, especially if your goal is to build muscle and / or lose fat.

While this is generally good advice, it is important to look at both sides of the argument so that you can understand both the pros and the cons of a high-protein diet.

Pros

  • Thermic Effect of Food
    The thermic effect of food or TEF is one of the primary benefits of protein because the body uses more calories to digest and metabolize protein than it does for fats and carbohydrates.This means that not only will you be upping your metabolic rate by consuming a greater proportion of your calories from protein, but those calories will also be far less likely stored as body fat.
  • Satiety
    Protein is perhaps the most satiating, that is to say, filling of any macronutrient.Eating a diet high in carbohydrates can sometimes lead to peaks and troughs in your blood sugar levels, leading to hunger pangs and prolonged cravings for sugary foods; this can be somewhat offset by adding plenty of protein to your diet.

    Make sure you are consuming plenty of fibrous vegetables and healthy fats as this will also provide a significant boost to the satiating effect of your meal plan while also providing your body with the essential nutrients it needs.

     

  • Lean Body Mass
    Diets high in protein are correlated with higher levels of lean body mass, meaning that simply by eating a high-protein diet you will find it far easier to achieve and maintain a leaner, more defined physique.

Cons

  • Cost
    There is no denying that high-protein diets can quickly become expensive, especially if we are relying on lean protein sources such as skinless chicken breasts and fish filet.Keep your eyes open for special offers and clearance deals at your local supermarket, and don’t hesitate to buy in bulk if you find a good price because this will save you a lot of money in the long run.

     

  • Acidity
    High-protein diets can be highly acidic, affecting the body’s pH balance and potentially leading to issues such as osteoporosis and higher incidences of cancer later in life.To counteract this and protect your long-term health and wellbeing, include plenty of green fibrous vegetables in all of your meals as they are highly alkaline and will help to neutralize the acidity of the proteins and fats in your diet.

     

  • Digestion
    Some people experience gas and feelings of bloatedness when consuming a lot of protein, which can cause discomfort and seriously hamper your social life if you don’t fix it!Our solution for this is once again to eat plenty of vegetable food as the fiber will aid digestion and help keep things ‘moving along’. If your digestive issues persist then consider using a digestive aid such as Papain digestive enzymes or an acidophilus probiotic supplement.