Protein Diet: What Is It? Protein, Appetite, Health Effects, Amount, Guidelines and Examples

With this feeding plan you try to lose weight quickly, but its maximum duration is less than a week, to avoid the accumulation in the body of ketone bodies.

The protein diet consists of a nutritional plan that includes a large amount of proteins that help to lose weight and improve health.

There are numerous studies that have shown how effective this diet is in burning body fat, but it requires taking care of habits once this special regimen has been completed.

However, many tests support a higher protein intake to lose weight and other health benefits.


The protein forms the macronutrients, along with carbohydrates and fats. And it plays the following roles:

  • Repair and maintenance: The main component of bones, muscles, skin and hair is protein. These are tissues that need proteins for their replacement.
  • Hormones: Proteins have the function of sending messages so that cells and organs communicate and metabolic functions are carried out.
  • Enzymes: Enzymes are mostly proteins and all the chemical reactions that take place in the body are revived by them.
  • Transport and storage: Some of the proteins serve as transport to primordial molecules to the place where they are required.

The protein is composed of very small units called amino acids and of the 22 amino acids present, 9 are essential, and these must be consumed in food because our body does not produce them.

Some foods provide better proteins than others based on the profile of amino acids they have.

Generally, the proteins found in foods that are of animal origin, are considered complete proteins because they have the essential amino acids and in the proportions that the body needs them.

These foods include fish, eggs, meat, dairy products and poultry.

Proteins of plant origin do not provide adequate amounts of all of the essential amino acids, however, when combined with different plant sources and supply all the complete proteins.

Beans, grains, nuts, soybeans and seeds are high-protein plant foods.

The protein that is consumed must be of quality, but the amount of protein consumed is also high.

Research suggests that proteins have effects on weight loss , since by increasing protein intake there are important effects on weight, metabolic rate, appetite and body composition.

“The most common cause of hyporexia is loneliness. It is proven that older people who live alone have a worse quality of life than those who enjoy the daily company. This loneliness leads them to a state of sadness, anxiety, and depression that reduces their desire to eat, as well as to carry out any type of social activity.”

Appetite and Fullness

When more protein foods are eaten, the appetite is suppressed for several hours after eating.

The proteins increase the production of some hormones such as GLP-1 and PYY, which can cause a sensation of fullness, helping to reduce the concentrations of ghrelin , better known as the hunger hormone.

Due to this, a higher intake of protein foods will lead to a natural decrease in food intake, due to its effects on appetite and the feeling of fullness.

Weight loss and body composition

Usually, a reduction in caloric intake makes the metabolism slow down. This is due to the loss of muscle.

However, recent research suggests that a higher protein intake helps prevent the loss of muscle mass and keeps the metabolic rate high.

The ability of a high protein diet to increase the feeling of fullness, raise the metabolic rate and prevent the loss of muscle mass makes it effective to lose weight and improve body structure.

Effects on health

Proteins help improve health in the following aspects:

  • Increase muscle mass: A higher protein intake can increase the size and strength of muscles when combined with physical exercises such as resistance training. It helps in reducing the loss of muscle mass, which is a normal consequence of the aging of the human being.
  • Strengthens bones: A higher protein intake promotes bone health, especially with animal proteins.
  • Facilitates the process of wound healing: Diets with higher protein content can positively influence the healing of wounds resulting from surgeries, injuries, including eschar .

Amount of daily proteins

The optimal amount of protein that should be consumed daily is a matter of debate. It is associated with the body weight of the individual.

Based on the DRI reference dietary intake, 0.36 grams of protein per day per pound of body weight is needed, this may be enough to prevent protein deficiency.

But there are contradictory opinions that think that these proportions are below the level required by the body to achieve optimal maintenance of muscle mass.

There are even studies that have shown that older adults have a higher protein requirement due to the natural muscle loss that occurs over the years.

But raising the protein intake to very high proportions does not seem to produce additional benefits.

It is important to make a distribution of protein consumption evenly throughout the day, instead of consuming large quantities in a single meal.

This allows the body to make use of the protein when required and in the most efficient way

The current consensus for the determination of the daily protein intake is from 0.6 to 0.75 grams of daily protein per pound of body weight, or from 1.2 to 1.6 grams per kilogram of body weight.

Guidelines for a protein diet

The high protein diet can be followed very easily and can be customized according to the food preferences of each individual and the objectives that are pursued and that are related to health. For example:

  • A diet with a low carbohydrate content and high protein content can be structured to keep blood sugar stable.
  • If you are not going to consume milk products, you can make a diet without dairy and high in protein.
  • The vegetarian diets can have a high protein content if eggs or dairy and lots of legumes and some plant proteins are included.

Among the basic guidelines to follow a protein diet we have:

  • Make a list of foods and keep a diary : It is necessary to know and select foods that provide high protein values ​​and allow to build a daily regimen with the desired objectives of calories and macronutrients.
  • Calculate protein needs: To calculate protein needs, multiply the weight in pounds by 0.6 to 0.75 grams, or the weight in kg by 1.2 to 1.6 grams.
  • Eat twenty-five to thirty grams of protein in each meal: To promote muscle maintenance, weight loss, and good health.
  • Include proteins of vegetable and animal origin: In the diet, consume a combination of the nutritional values ​​of the diet.
  • Choose the highest quality protein sources : Eggs, dairy products, fresh meats, other proteins, and avoid the consumption of highly processed meats such as bacon and cold meats.
  • Consume very balanced meals: It is necessary to make a balanced menu of protein-rich foods in the daily book together with fruits, vegetables and other vegetable foods in each meal.

The calculation of the protein needs, the monitoring of the food consumed daily and the balanced menu planning help to obtain the best results with the choice of a protein diet.

Examples of protein diets

These protein diet models provide approximately 100 grams of protein per day.

Day 1

  • 3 whole eggs, 1 slice of toasted wholemeal bread, spread with 1 tablespoon of almond butter and 1 fresh pear.
  • Avocado salad with cottage cheese and 1 orange or tangerine.
  • 170 grs of roasted beef, sweet potatoes and zucchini.

Day 2

  • Shake with 1 tbsp protein powder, 1 cup coconut milk and strawberries.
  • 114 grs of canned salmon, mixed vegetables, seasoned with olive oil and vinegar and 1 apple.
  • 114 gr of grilled chicken with quinoa and Brussels sprouts.

Day 3

  • Oatmeal with a cup of Greek yogurt without sugar and 1/4 cup of chopped nuts.
  • 114 grams of chicken mixed with avocado and red paprika and 1 peach.
  • All the meat you want, vegetables with chili and brown rice.

Day 4

  • Spanish tortilla made with 3 eggs, 1 ounce of cheese, black olives, chiles, and salsa and 1 orange.
  • Meat, vegetables with chili and brown rice.
  • 114 g of fresh fish, lentils and broccoli.

Day 5

  • A cup of fresh cottage cheese, ¼ cup of chopped walnuts, diced apples and sprinkle with cinnamon.
  • 114 g of canned salmon, mixed with low-fat mayonnaise in a sprouted grain bread accompanied by carrot sticks.
  • Chicken meatballs with marinara sauce, spaghetti, pumpkin and raspberries.

Day 6

  • Frittata with 3 eggs, 1 ounce of cheese and 1/2 cup of parboiled potatoes cut into cubes.
  • Chicken meatballs with marinara sauce and spaghetti squash with an apple.
  • Shrimp fajitas with 85 grs of grilled onions and peppers, guacamole sauce, 1 cup of black beans and a corn tortilla.

Day 7

  • Pancakes with 1/4 cup of chopped nuts.
  • A cup of unsweetened Greek yogurt mixed with 1/4 cup of chopped walnuts and fresh pineapple.
  • 170 g of grilled salmon, potatoes and sautéed spinach.