Eating Low-Fat & High Protein Isn’t What You Think.
Many people will run for the hills when the words high-protein are put in the same sentence as low-fat. But why?
Since high-protein diets became popular decades ago, it’s been in the spotlight for researchers all over the Western world. In later years, however, it was scrutinized for issues relating to insulin resistance and increases in cholesterol, when the diet was continued as a long-term solution.
The problem is that when somebody makes a claim via a published research document, somebody will take those findings out-of-context and blow them out of proportion. Naturally, some will consume in excess and that will lead to health issues. Everything taken to an extreme can be detrimental to a person’s health.
But if we research high-protein today, we’ll see many studies that conclude that a higher protein intake, when paired with exercise, can offer certain metabolic benefits. An example would be increased muscle tonicity or density increases the body’s requirement for energy. High-protein diets are not an issue unless you are eating into excess – please keep that in mind.
Adding “low-fat” to the mix simply means to only consume good quality fats – which should naturally lower your fat intake overall. Always compare future eating habits with your current eating habits to know if you’ll benefit. An example would be this: The typical Western diet involves around 70-80% animal products and only 20-30% plant-based products, you likely have a diet high in the wrong fat – your fat intake should be a specific balance of fatty acids that favor omega-3s (due to the lack in our nutrition). By lowering your intake of the wrong fats while keeping healthy fats, you’ll be eating low-fat as opposed to “high-fat”.
Protein: The Low Down
Protein is an incredibly essential macronutrient in our diets. From helping build muscles and repair tissue to the production of new cells, hormones, enzymes, and more, it has endless benefits.
“Great,” you’re thinking right now, “I can keep chowing down on these greasy double-bacon-cheeseburgers. After all, my body needs it!”
Well, you could do that, but the included fats and sugars will do just as much harm as good—if not more harm.
Whether you’re trying to build lean muscle, reduce that waistline, or just feel better about what you’re putting in your body, a low-fat, high-protein diet is the way to go.
Some of the best sources of lean protein include:
Turkey is a fantastic source of protein, particularly turkey breast. To keep your sodium intake low, skid the deli aisle and go for roasted turkey breast, which is delicious on its own or in a variety of deliciously nutritious recipes. Chicken breast packs even more protein into every serving, though it will also tend to contain slightly more calories at the same time—though still lower than most red meats!
Fish and Seafood
Tuna is a great lean protein that is rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Unlike saturated fats—the kind your diet should avoid—omega 3 is considered to be incredibly beneficial to the body. This goes for both the tuna in cans and raw tuna, which you can find in sushi restaurants. Other varieties of fish, such as sole, cod, and tilapia (among others) are also low-fat, high-protein diet-friendly.
Eggs are just full of protein—however, that yolk happens to be where most of the calories are. The egg white, on the other hand, is almost entirely protein. For the leanest version of this popular breakfast food, skip the yolk and keep the egg white.
Tofu and Tempeh
These are popular meat-and-egg substitutes amongst vegetarians and vegans alike, and for clear reason—they are delicious sources of protein! Try scrambled tofu or a tempeh burger on a whole wheat bun.
A snack to keep your energy up between meals is always a good idea—but it doesn’t have to be a sugary sweet treat or salty bag of chips. Almonds, pistachios, peanuts, and other nuts are all great high-protein snacks. For more flavour, try canned tuna on top of light crackers, or dipped raw veggies in hummus.
Is the Paleo Diet Right For You?
The Paleo diet, also known as the caveman diet, is hugely popular. In a world full of fast food and convenient snacks, we could hardly be farther from the food our body is designed to use for nutrition. By focusing on a paleo diet, you can start to eliminate many of the high salt or sugar foods that can create havoc in your body. A diet heavy in processed, high-fat food can be the cause of more than just weight issues. Many people also suffer headaches, sleep, and digestive issues. An unbalanced diet can contribute to a number of physical and mental health struggles as well. By making a positive change in your diet, you can be on the road to a healthier, more balanced self.
What Is the Paleo Diet?
As mentioned before, this diet is meant to mimic the way our caveperson ancestors ate, which focuses on a hunter/gatherer concept. It allows for high protein food including meat, fish, eggs, as well as maintaining low-fat foods such as fruit, vegetables, and nuts. Off-limit foods include potatoes, sugar, legumes, grains, dairy and salt. By avoiding off-limit foods you will be reducing your intake of processed, preservative-filled foods that often carry more sugar or salt than is recommended for daily consumption.
Paleo is a Lifestyle
Although it may have the word “diet” in it, you can better understand the paleo diet as a lifestyle change. It isn’t meant to be a short term diet, eating like your ancestors means giving up modern food, which comes with the luxury of convenience. When you can no longer rely on the microwave to heat up a pre-packaged dinner, this means that extra time and care goes into your food preparation. It will not only change the way you eat but will change your relationship with food, especially if you are switching from a heavy fat, high carb lifestyle. Luckily, paleo also means community building. There is a community of people online and in your city ready to welcome, encourage, and share with you.
Things to Keep In Mind
When making a big change to your diet and lifestyle, remember to be kind to yourself. Reducing your intake of high fat, sugar, and salt foods is a positive step for your health and wellbeing that can take time. Remember that it isn’t possible to eat exactly like a caveperson but that paleo is a great way to redirect and rethink your relationship with food. Also, keep in mind that it is possible to eat too much protein. Although paleo emphasis protein, be mindful of what your bodies needs are. Above all else, enjoy yourself. Connect with others who are prioritizing their health and lifestyle. Learn from your community and discover what works well for you.
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