How to Do the Ideal Protein Diet

Meat image by Svetlana Kashkina from

A surge of low-carbohydrate diets has inevitably led to a higher protein intake. The dangers of some protein diets is their welcome acceptance of all kinds of protein sources, many fat laden and often in excess. For ultimate nutrition, any eating plan which severely restricts huge groups of foods often predisposes individuals to deficiencies: instead, follow a protein diet which makes room for complete nutrition.

Eat lean, fresh meat and seafood whenever possible. Any protein source comes with calories, so determine how many you need. Leaner cuts of meat will have less calories allowing you to get more protein in the same amount of meat. Look at expiration dates to determine the freshness of meats. Since meat is a candidate for food borne illness, buying meat that is locally sourced and responsibly treated (or is at least within it's expiration period) can be your best protection against possible risks. Look for fish without a fishy smell, bruising, or browning. Firm, elastic skin on the fish indicates that it is being sold fresh.

Look for alternative protein sources. Looking beyond meat to protein-rich plant sources allows for the benefits of some added fibre and antioxidants. The disease-preventing antioxidants found in soy foods (tofu, etc.) and beans enrich your diet while providing a low-fat, muscle-building foods rich in protein. Since the protein in plant foods is not as bio available as the protein in meat and dairy, you'll have to eat slightly more to enhance absorption and to get the same amount of protein.

Include a variety of other foods in moderation. It may seem logical to eat a selection of high-protein foods and fore go carbohydrates, but that pattern is detrimental to optimal health. Calcium and B vitamins (especially folic acid) can become deficient if not enough whole grains, fruits, and vegetables are eaten. Dairy products offer vitamin D and calcium. High-quality protein sources should be teamed with these other foods --- the American Dietetic Association recommends about 55-60% of daily intake from carbohydrates.

Eat less "empty calories." Cut back or eliminate foods with added sugars such as fruit juices, candies and many processed foods. Doing that makes it easier to shift the consumed calories toward a more protein-rich, ideal diet.

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