Hot Flash: Do High Protein Diets Really Work?

By Barbara Bishop 

So another year has passed, and I still have not lost all the weight I wanted to in 2017. I am declaring that 2018 will be different! (I said that last year too.) But this time, I really, really will do it.

I’m walking half an hour every day, going back to my weekly yoga practice, and I’ve signed up for ballroom dance classes. But, one of the issues for me has always been food. I mean, like eating too much of the wrong foods. So, now I am on a high-protein diet to get a “head start” on the weight loss.

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But are they safe? Do they really work? I consulted my expert source, Web MD. Here’s what I found out:

High-protein, low-carb plans like Atkins and the Zone can work. But you should consider the pros and cons before you decide to try one. Women need at least 50 grams of protein a day — men about 60 grams per day. With a high-protein diet, it can be much more than that. This extra protein can come from beans, meat, nuts, grains, eggs, seafood, cheese or vegetarian sources like soy. I can handle this diet – I like all of those foods.

When you cut out carbohydrates, you lose weight quickly because you lose water. Then, with no extra carbs, the body begins burning more fat for fuel. This can lead to ketosis, which may make losing weight easier because you feel less hungry.

The best high-protein plans focus on lean proteins and include some carbs in the form of vegetables. All those fights I had with my mother? She was right. Her daily mantra: Eat Your Vegetables. Eat Your Vegetables.

Nothin’ says protein like a nice, juicy steak. (Yum.) And if you choose a lean cut, you will get all of the protein with far less unhealthy fat. In fact, a lean cut of beef like a top round steak has barely more saturated fat than a similar-sized skinless chicken breast. Woo hoo! The BBQ stays.

If you choose white meat when you’re buying chicken or poultry, you’ll get a lot less fat than if you eat dark meat. Also, remove the skin, which has saturated fat. Damn. My favorite parts of the chicken – banned. I guess I’ll have a steak instead.

Pork offers plenty of protein without too much fat, if you know what type to buy. Look for tenderloin, top loin, rib chops, sirloin steak, or shoulder blade steaks. Pork cuts are much leaner than they were decades ago. (I have to sneak this into the house or say that it’s chicken; my husband is Kosher. Shhhh! )

And then there’s seafood. My favorite. I can eat shrimp, crab, clams, sea bass, you name it. Just not with the butter, mayo, breadcrumbs and frying oil. Goodbye my friends, it was nice knowing you.

Eggs are a good source of lean protein. And, you can eat the yolks! Yes, there’s cholesterol in the yolk, but experts say the cholesterol you eat does not raise levels in your blood. Besides, I have low cholesterol. I’ve eaten two hardboiled eggs already today.

Milk, cheese, and yogurt give you protein and calcium for strong bones and a healthy heart. Another one of my favorite food groups. Last time I checked, I had both a healthy heart and strong bones. Low-fat, nonfat, or reduced-fat dairy products can help you keep calorie counts down.

I wonder if low-fat ice cream counts?!

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