High Protein Diet, Proof that it works

The High Protein Diet is a diet that I would recommend because it works. Before I show proof that it works, I will explain what it is. As most Canadian’s know the amount of food someone eats is measured in calories. Depending on your age and sex the recommended calorie intake per day could range between 1800 and 3000 calories [1]. In 2015 Canada Geographic reported that the average Canadian consumed 3,419 calories per day [2]. No wonder Canada’s obesity rate is on the rise. Our food is divided into 4 main categories / nutrients: carbohydrates, fats, proteins & alcohol. The following table provide the number of calories per each gram of nutrients [3].

The next question we need to understand is how much protein per day is considered high? This can be answered from two points of view, 1) from a total number of grams per day per body weight and 2) from a percentage relative to calories from carbohydrates and fat. (I am ignoring calories from alcohol as these calories are considered empty and provide no real nutrients).

From a total number of grams per day their seems to be no consensus. From recent Harvard article [4], “So, when it comes to protein, how much is too much? It's hard to provide a specific answer since so much is still uncertain and the experts themselves don't agree. However, for the average person (who is not an elite athlete or heavily involved in body building) it's probably best to aim for no more than 2 gm/kg of body weight.” In regard to nutrient percentage of daily calories CanadianLiving [5] recommends carbohydrates at 45 to 65%, fat at 20 to 35%, and protein at 10 to 35%.

Now there are some studies [6] that say the dangers of a high protein diet are kidney disease but long-term studies with larger sample sizes are still needed.

Diet Doctor [7] seemed to be one of the best resources I found summarized High Protein diet this way: “adequate protein as over 1.2 grams per kilo per day and high protein as over 1.6 grams per kilo per day or above 25% of calories. We recommend that most people aim for 1.6 to 2 grams of protein per kilo or 25-35% of calories from protein to ensure adequate protein intake. And you should aim for the higher end of that range for a high protein diet.”

Diet Doctor in a High Protein Diet FAQ [8] goes on to say: “Can you eat too much protein? There is a possibility that one could eat “too much” protein, but it would be very difficult to do in actuality. The Acceptable Macronutrient Distribution Range (AMDR) set by the US Institute of Medicine is 10 to 35% of calories. At the higher end, 35% protein for a daily caloric intake of 2,000 calories is 175 grams of protein. If your calorie needs are higher, then your protein intake might be higher as well. The theoretical maximum safe intake for liver and kidney function is a diet with around 70% protein. For a person who is 176 pounds (80 kilos), this would be 365 grams of protein per day. It is unlikely that, under normal circumstances, anyone would overeat protein to this extent.

So why would I recommend this diet? Because it works when coupled with an exercise regime with strength training and cardio. Over the last 3 ½ months I followed a high protein diet. I am 6’ 2” and my starting weight was 228 pds / 103 kilos. The breakdown I followed was: Target Daily: Protein 38% - 180g / Carbs 34% - 160g / Fats 28%- 60g / Calories: 1900. I coupled this with 5 days of strength training and 4 days of cardio. Fast forward today and my weight is 198 pds / 88.5 kilos.

You are next get started now!

[1] - How Many Calories Should You Eat? Weight Loss Calculator (healthline.com) / https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/how-many-calories-per-day Accessed Jan 16th, 2022.

[2] – Mapping Calorie consumption by country / https://www.canadiangeographic.ca/article/mapping-calorie-consumption-country Accessed Jan 16th, 2022.

[3] – Module 1: Energy / https://bbol.embanet.com/bbcswebdav/pid-2305820-dt-content-rid-36235142_1/xid-36235142_1 Accessed Jan 16th, 2022.

[4] – When it comes to protein, how much is too much? / https://www.health.harvard.edu/nutrition/when-it-comes-to-protein-how-much-is-too-much Accessed Jan 16th, 2022.

[5] – How many calories protein carbohydrates and fat do I need? / https://www.canadianliving.com/health/nutrition/article/calories-protein-carbohydrates-and-fat-how-much-do-i-need Accessed Jan 16th, 2022.

[6] – The Effects of High-Protein Diets on Kidney Health and Longevity / https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32669325/ Accessed Jan 16th, 2022.

[7] - High-protein diet: What it is and how to do it. / https://www.dietdoctor.com/high-protein Accessed Jan 16th, 2022.

[8] – Top 20 questions about high-protein diets. / https://www.dietdoctor.com/high-protein/faq Accessed Jan 16th. 2022.

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