What foods for a high-protein diet

A high-protein diet consists, as its name suggests, of increasing the protein intake in your diet for several reasons. Whether it is thanks to the various benefits of these on the body, the advantages linked to weight loss, or to accompany an intense bodybuilding activity, this type of diet has become more and more popular over the years.

It is often by increasing your consumption of foods such as meat, fish, or dairy products or by using protein powder food supplements that you consume more protein. But, is it really useful? And what are the best sources to include in your meals?

Their role in the body

Proteins are essential elements in the proper functioning of our body. Composed of amino acids, which are the basic building blocks of our body, they are present in all the cells of our body, including muscles, bones, skin, hair, nails, and vital organs.

Proteins are responsible for the regulation and synthesis of hormones, enzymes, and neurotransmitters. They play a vital role in transporting oxygen and nutrients in the blood, as well as in fighting infections and diseases by strengthening our immune system.

They are essential for the growth and repair of muscle tissue. When we perform physical activities, micro-tears occur in our muscles, which leads to muscle pain and inflammation. They then intervene to repair and strengthen these damaged muscle tissues, thus promoting muscle growth and recovery after exercise, a phenomenon well-known to bodybuilders.

High protein diet

High protein diets are a type of diet that involves significantly increasing protein intake while reducing carbohydrate and fat intake. This type of diet has several health benefits, including exercise, weight loss, and muscle gain.

When it comes to sports, a high amount of protein is well known for its effect on muscle growth and repair. However high-protein diets allow athletes to recover better overall after intense training, reduce the risk of injury, and increase their muscle mass by providing enough protein to support the different functions in which they participate.

A high-protein diet can be very effective in the context of a weight-loss goal and for several reasons. Proteins are more satiating than carbohydrates and lipids, and by consuming more of them, we naturally reduce our appetite, increase the feeling of satiety, and therefore limit cravings that can lead to overeating. It is also important to know that their digestion requires more energy than that of other nutrients, so your body will spend more calories digesting them.

As we have seen, proteins nourish and repair muscles. It is therefore in our best interest to add them to our meals to maintain our muscle mass during a slimming diet. Being the main nutrients that allow the construction of muscles, we provide the body with the elements necessary for the construction of new muscle tissue by consuming them. Combined with regular physical activity, a greater quantity of protein has a direct effect on muscle gain, allowing you to tone your figure but also to support a healthy metabolism.

Often overlooked when trying to lose weight, carbohydrates are closely related to proteins because they provide the body with energy to synthesize them. Carbohydrates also help in the breakdown of amino acids for better protein synthesis. An adequate portion of carbohydrates is essential to ensure that these are used efficiently by our body. They therefore work in tandem to maintain a healthy and functional body.

What sources of protein should you include in your diet?

When you want to adopt a high-protein diet, you immediately think of eating more foods like meat or fish. Although these are excellent sources, they are not the only ones that will allow you to complete your diet. So below is a list of the best sources of protein, with some that might surprise you!

  • Eggs: Eggs are considered a gold standard source due to their complete amino acid profile and high bioavailability. They contain approximately 13g of protein in a 100g serving, as well as healthy fats and essential vitamins and minerals. Eggs are relatively low in calories, with approximately 155 kcal per 100g.
  • Chicken: Chicken is another high-quality source, with high bioavailability and a complete profile. Skinless chicken is low in calories, containing about 21g of protein and about 165 calories in a 100g serving.
  • Fish: A great source too, especially varieties like salmon, tuna, and mackerel. Fish is also rich in omega-3, which is beneficial for cardiovascular and brain health. Fish contain about 20g of protein per 100g and are low in calories, with about 120 kcal per 100g.
  • Pulses: Pulses such as lentils, chickpeas, and beans are a good source, especially for vegetarians and vegans. Although their bioavailability is slightly lower than animal sources, pulses are not to be overlooked due to their fiber, vitamin, and mineral content. Pulses contain around 9-10g of protein per 100g cooked, but are higher in calories than animal sources, with around 350 calories in a 100g portion.
  • Tofu: Tofu is a popular food for vegetarians and vegans. It is made from soy milk and is rich in essential amino acids. Tofu contains about 8g of protein per 100g and is relatively low in calories, with about 70 calories per 100g.
  • Red meat: Red meat, such as beef and lamb, contains high amounts of quality protein and creatine, which may benefit muscle growth and athletic performance. Be careful though, as red meat is also high in saturated fat, which may increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. It contains about 26g of protein in a 100g serving with about 185 calories per 100g (depending on its fat content ).
  • Protein powder: A convenient alternative for people looking to increase their protein intake, they come in a variety of sources, including whey, casein, soy, and rice. They can be added to smoothies and some recipes to increase their protein content. They contain more or less protein depending on the source and brand.
  • Chees: Cheese is a good but high source of fat. Hard cheeses like Parmesan and Cheddar have a higher protein content than soft cheeses like Brie and Camembert. Generally speaking, it contains about 25g of protein per 100g but can contain up to 400 kcal per 100g, depending on the type.
  • Green vvegetablesMany green vegetables can be a great source of nutrients and protein for those looking to lose weight. Spinach, for example, contains about 2.9 grams of protein per 100 grams serving. Broccoli is about the same, averaging 2.8 grams per 100 grams serving. Asparagus, on the other hand, contains about 2.2 grams of protein per 100 grams serving.
  • Nuts and seeds: Nuts and seeds, such as almonds, cashews, chia seeds, and sunflower seeds, are also a great source for vegetarians and vegans. While they don’t contain as much as animal sources, they are rich in healthy fats, fiber, and other essential nutrients. Nuts and seeds contain around 20 grams of protein per 100g and are high in calories, with around 500 kcal in a 100g serving.

Note that quality and bioavailability may vary depending on the source and how it is prepared. We recommend varying your protein sources to ensure adequate amounts of essential amino acids and nutrients.

High-protein diets are therefore an interesting approach to maintaining good overall health. However, care must be taken to include a larger portion of protein in a diet that is composed of balanced meals, also containing vegetables and fruits, sources of complex carbohydrates and good lipids, for a body in good working order and to minimize health risks, such as fatigue, constipation, and kidney problems.

People who want to lose weight will benefit from including meat, fish, or green vegetables in their diet, for example, which will provide them with greater satiety and better control of their appetite.

Sports enthusiasts, particularly bodybuilding enthusiasts, will readily acknowledge the benefits of high-protein diets on their performance and recovery, whether they are in the muscle gain or weight loss phase.

Ultimately, no matter what our goals are, choosing a healthy, balanced diet that includes foods rich in protein and essential nutrients is the key to maintaining optimal health over the long term.

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