While some believe high-protein diets aid weight loss, cutting out carbs can be detrimental to health. Nutritional therapist Kerry Torrens explains why balance and moderation is key...
Various high-protein diets claim that cutting carbs in favour of protein can help you to lose weight faster while still feeling satisfied. However, losing carbs from your diet completely can be detrimental to health.
It's true that protein burns comparatively more calories than other energy sources when it's digested. And we all need some protein (whether from meat, fish, dairy or grains) for strong muscles and bones, hormonal health and immunity.
However, carbohydrates are the body's preferred source of energy, and our brains, in particular, need carbs to maintain alertness and concentration.
As with all diets, there are downsides. High-protein diets put an extra load on the kidneys and may cause calcium to be lost from your bones. Too much high-fat protein may raise your cholesterol levels. A high-carb diet, meanwhile, can disrupt blood sugar levels, increase the risk of diabetes and lead to energy fluctuations and mood swings.
Moderation is the key. Protein and carbs both play a part in helping you shed extra pounds. Choose lean protein like chicken, turkey, fish and low-fat dairy - about the size of a deck of cards - and keep carb servings to the size of your clenched fist. Choose complex carbs, such as wholegrain versions of bread, pasta and rice, and include plenty of veg and fruit in your diet.
So when are the best times to eat carbs and protein, what should your portion size be and what are your guideline daily amounts? Kerry offers further guidance in her features; a balanced diet for men and a balanced diet for women.
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