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What Are the Benefits of High Protein Intake?

By Janet Renee, MS, RD

Protein is needed to fuel your muscles. Muscles tone your body and provide a source of strength. High protein intake can help you lose weight. According to the Mayo Clinic, short-term high protein intake of three to four months is generally safe for healthy people and can facilitate weight loss. However, long-term high protein intake and high protein intake with carbohydrate restriction poses risks. Consult your doctor before switching to a high-protein diet.

Weight Loss

A common reason to choose a high-protein diet is weight loss. Your body does not store protein the way it does fat. Protein is used as an energy source for your muscles. When a high-protein diet includes restricted carbohydrate intake, your body is forced to burn stored fat as a source of fuel, which can facilitate weight loss. According to a 2008 study published in "Current Opinion in Endocrinology, Diabetes and Obesity," high protein intake with modestly restricted carbohydrates results in beneficial effects of weight loss and overall body composition.

Mood Enhancement

High protein can enhance your mood. A 2007 study published in "Appetite" compared the psychological effects of low-protein, high-carbohydrate intake, with high-protein, low-carbohydrate intake and found a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet resulted in reduction of depression, improved self-esteem and an increase in overall feelings of well-being.

Metabolism

High protein intake can help increase your overall metabolism. Proteins are the building blocks of muscle and promote muscle synthesis. Creating, repairing and maintaining muscle requires more energy than the maintenance of fat. High protein intake increases lean muscle mass and promotes fat burning. This process increases your overall metabolism, or basal metabolic rate, known as BMR.

Risks

According to a study published in the "International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism," high-protein diets elevate your risk of developing kidney stones and may haven hazardous implications for kidney function. According to IJSNEM, high-protein diets can also increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes and heart disease. This is due to the high amount of fat in many meats.

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