Do You Know High Protein, Low Carb Diets
Some of the most popular commercial diets commonly considered high in protein and low in carbs don’t truly fit into both categories.
Notably, many people regard the Zone Diet and Sugar Busters Diet as high protein, low carb. However, these diets are moderate in carbs, as they typically provide about 40% of calories from carbs.
Additionally, many popular low carb diets, such as Atkins and ketogenic diets, are not considered high protein, low carb. Instead, they’re high fat, low carb or high fat, very low carb, and they only contain moderate amounts of protein.
In fact, no branded diets are known to conform to this pattern.
If you’re interested in a strict high protein, low carb diet, you may need to count calories, protein, carbs, and fat to stay within your macronutrient ranges.
This can be difficult, so most people prefer to loosely follow a high protein, low carb diet by replacing high carb foods with protein sources.
There’s no set macronutrient range for a high protein, low carb diet, so most people tend to swap much of their typical carb-heavy foods with protein sources.
Protein is the most filling macronutrient and helps decrease hunger and food intake, two effects that promote weight loss.
In particular, foods high in protein boost levels of fullness hormones while lowering levels of hunger hormones like ghrelin.
Research has shown that meals comprising 25–81% of calories from protein increase feelings of fullness, meaning that even moderate protein diets may reduce hunger levels.
High protein diets also help enhance the thermic effect of food, or the calories burned during digestion. This may be due to the greater oxygen demand required to break down protein-rich foods.
Additionally, high protein, very low carb eating patterns have been shown to enhance the secretion of glucagon, a hormone produced by the pancreas that’s known to enhance fullness.
These diets also lead to higher ketone body production, particularly of beta hydroxybutyrate (BHB). Your liver produces ketone bodies when glucose availability is reduced. Studies show that increased BHB levels help suppress appetite.
Interestingly, a small 4-week study in men with obesity demonstrated that a reduced calorie, high protein, very low carb diet providing 30% protein and 4% carbs led to more weight loss than a high protein, moderate carb diet providing 30% protein and 35% carbs.
On average, the men in the high protein, low carb group lost 15 pounds (6.75 kg) while those in the moderate carb group lost 10 pounds (4.32 kg).
Many other studies reveal that high protein, low carb diets are more effective for weight loss than those higher in carbs and protein.
Still, total calorie intake and calorie burning are the most important factors for weight loss.