Healthy Living Advice

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The facts about high protein diets

Recently in the news there have be claims made that a high protein diet will increase the rate at which you age and is doing you more harm then good. This is a very big statement to make considering there are many factors that influence the rate we age. I have had many people coming to me this week with questions, so in this week’s blog I will do my best to show you that there is a lot more to this story than we have been told.

The news article is saying that a high protein diet is doing you more harm then good and that a diet high in protein will cause you to age quicker.

Yes a high protein diet can be very acidic and cause oxidisation to cells; and yes all these factors will increase the rate of ageing and cause other degenerative health issues.  However, this would only be the case if you ate only protein and starchy carbohydrates with no vegetables, fruits or healthy fats. 

Why are these foods so important?  

Vegetables, fruits and healthy fats are high in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that alkaline the body and prevent the oxidisation of cells.  They counteract the effects of acidic foods and bring your body into an alkaline state. This places a big hole in the agreement that a high protein diet is doing you more harm than good. The key is to create a balance in your diet and not look at things in such a black and white manner.

Yes a diet high in fatty meats and carbohydrates not from plant sources is going to cause a undesirable unhealthy effect, but this is not what paleo eating encourages. 

Why is paleo not just a high protein diet?

Paleo nutrition is about lean meats (only organic fatty meats), vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch (whole food carbohydrates) and no sugar. As you can see from this description carbohydrates are clearly apart of a paleo meal plan.

If you are overweight then yes a diet in high protein and low carbohydrates is proven to be the best nutrition plan to lose weight. 

Why does a high protein diet work for weight loss?

Decreasing starchy carbohydrates and increasing plant based carbohydrates and healthy fats will reduce the amount of sugar circulating in your blood. When we have excess sugar in the blood which our muscles and cells don’t need as they are already full, then our body will store it in fat cells for later use. Decreasing carbohydrate intake will minimize the amount of sugar in the blood that would be stored as fat and force the body to use fat stores as fuel.  Consequently, the body then uses body fat stored earlier as a source of fuel. 

Starchy carbohydrates are not the devil 

This doesn’t mean that you can never eat carbohydrates again, it just means until you reach a healthy body fat percentage starchy carbohydrates will be limited and only consumed every few weeks to help manage hormones levels and metabolism. Once a person is at a desired body fat or body composition then starchy carbohydrate in the form of potatoes, rice and grains can be reintroduced in moderation as long as they don’t cause any negative effects to digestion.

Conclusion

Protein and carbohydrates can be a part of everyone’s nutrition; there is no need to fear any of the macro nutrients for that matter (carbs, protein and fats). They all play a role in creating a healthy individual, it’s just a matter of finding the balance that works for you and everyone is different.  What may work for one person may not work for another as we all have difference body types, genotypes and phenotypes, rate of metabolisms, hormonal balances and activity levels. It all comes down to the individual and creating a personalised meal plan that fits your make up.

To Healthy Living

Daniel Christie


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