A lot of people have made the switch to eating a high protein diet and cutting down on the carbs. By doing so this helps to cut out the processed, refined foods, which is fab! So make sure you keep that front of mind while you read this post…
As a start point, the ideal eating paradigm is one full of whole, unprocessed foods!
What a lot of people don’t actually realize, and came as a surprise to me as well, is that you can eat too much protein which in turn has the same effect that eating carbs would in your body. This can be slightly counter productive if you are wanting to be on a low carbohydrate eating paradigm or trying to get into ketosis (where your body uses fat as your primary fuel source of glucose). Don’t get me wrong, it is far better to be eating more protein if this is going to inadvertently cut a lot of crap out of your diet but there is a limit to too much protein.
Basically, proteins are made up of amino acids, and while these are the building blocks of life, amino acids also encourage an insulin response, similar to when you eat carbohydrates or sugar. This is where it can become problematic if we over-eat protein as excess insulin may encourage greater levels of fat storage. Too much protein can also cause the excess (unused) amino acids to be converted to glucose (sugar) via gluconeogenesis. Result = more sugar.
On the flip side, protein is crucial for protein synthesis; repair and recovery of our muscles. So don’t take this as me not saying to eat protein. I am purely saying that you CAN eat too much protein. But by all means, if the choice is between more protein or more carbs and processed food, I would pick protein hands down every time.
People on high protein, “low carb” diets tend to stick to a low fat diet; if that’s you, stop it now. Fat is your friend. Eat more fat, and read my previous posts on why you should.
You are probably wondering now how much protein, don’t be silly and think you have to totally cut back and become scared of too much protein, BUT eating an entire chicken for dinner may be a tad extreme. As a rough guideline, if you are inactive stick to around 0.8g per kilogram of your body weight per day, and if you are active then stick to 1.4-2g per body weight per day. (Editors note: Bodybuilders may benefit from up to 3g protein per day)
Many of the above recommendations come from Cliff Harvey who runs Holistic Performance Nutrition™, which is where I am lucky enough to be studying. If you have any questions or want to take a look pop over to www.holisticperformancenutrition.com I can’t rave enough about the course.