A protein diet plan may be known by many different names;
these include the ‘Atkins’, The ‘Dukan’, the ‘Zone’ and the ‘Slim forever’ and
we seem to be seeing and hearing a lot more of them recently.
The obvious reason for this surge in popularity apart from great marketing is the fact that they do work, and they do so without extreme calorie restriction. In fact most of the popular protein diets emphasise the importance of eating your fill regularly and not going hungry. But how can this be so?
But it comes down to food choices; provide your body with the correct fuel and treat it to regular exercise as part of a healthy balanced lifestyle and weight loss and management is indeed possible.
When you examine any
protein diet the main thing they have in common is what’s not allowed, and in
most cases this is refined and processed foods containing white sugar, white
flour and saturated fats. Because this is ready made fuel for the body, these
simple carbohydrates are easily broken down and turned into immediate energy,
ready to be used immediately.
Problem is most people just aren’t that active, we consume far more energy than we need, more than we will possibly ever need. However, the body always prepares for a famine – that means it stores all this excess energy, just in case we can’t find anything to eat for a week!
A protein diet plan consists of (yep you guessed it) primarily protein, which means fish, eggs, poultry, lean red meat and legumes. Meals are generally prepared either fresh or raw or by baking, boiling, steaming or grilling, which means less frying, again cutting out any excess fats or carbohydrates.
Good fats however are incorporated; extra virgin olive oil, nuts & seeds (hazelnuts, almonds, cashews, walnuts, natural nut butter, chia, sunflower & flax seeds, etc), avocado, wild salmon & other fatty fish (tuna, mackerel, herring, trout and sardines) are also recommended.
Carbs are essential for normal function, particularly brain function and they are found in protein diet plans in the form of fruits, vegetables, beans, lentils and whole grains. Particularly complex carbohydrates such as leafy greens, brown rice, sweet potato, quinoa, oats, whole wheat pasta and barley. And some fruits and vegetables such as potatoes may also be restricted.
Portion sizes are often left to the discretion of the individual, remembering most are not calorie restricted diets, which is great if you’re not a fan of hunger.
Another big factor is drinks - many people can unwittingly drink their entire daily calorie requirements, particularly when soft drink, juices or alcohol is involved. Most protein diets strongly emphasise that beverages be limited to tea, water and black coffee and with definitely no milk and sugar.
Drink lots of water, at least 2 litres a day for most individuals, including a glass of water first thing in the morning and before each meal to stay well hydrated and keep you from overeating.
Click here for a sample of an ideal protein diet plan
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