A High-Protein Diet Plan to Lose Weight and Improve Health

According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020–2025Trusted Source, adult males should get at least 56 grams (g) of protein and adult females at least 46 g daily

Protein is an important macronutrient for good health.
According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020–۲۰۲۵Trusted Source, adult males should get at least 56 grams (g) of protein and adult females at least 46 g daily.

However, some researchTrusted Source suggests that eating more than this amount may help you lose body weight and fat while retaining or even building muscle mass.
Keep reading to learn more about protein’s role in weight loss and how to eat a high protein diet.
Why is protein important?

Protein is one of the three macronutrients, along with carbs and fat. It plays a key role in the formation, maintenance, and structure of your organs and tissues.

Protein has many important bodily functions, such as:
• muscle, bone, and skin repair and maintenance
• antibody and enzyme production
• molecule transportation and storage
• hormone regulation

Protein is made up of a chain that contains 20 smaller units called amino acids. Of these, nine are considered essential amino acids. They must be consumed in food because your body can’t make them.
Protein’s effects on weight loss
Increasing your protein intake may help promote weight loss in many different ways.

Appetite and fullness
Protein increasesTrusted Source the production of hormones like PYY and GLP-1, both of which help you feel full and satisfied. A 2020 reviewTrusted Source also found that protein reduces levels of ghrelin, known as the “hunger hormone.”
These effects of a high protein intake could lead to a natural reduction in food intake.

Metabolic rate
A 2018 reviewTrusted Source found that higher protein intake may boost your basal (BMR) and resting (RMM) metabolic rates. This can help you burn more calories for several hours after eating, as well as during your sleep.
Protein may also increase how much energy your body uses to absorb, metabolize, and store food. This is called the thermic effect of food (TEF). The TEF for protein is 20–۳۰%, meaning that 20–۳۰% of the calories found in protein are used simply to digest it. Meanwhile, the TEF for carbs and fat is 5–۱۰% and 0–۳%, respectively.

Other beneficial effects of protein
In addition to its effects on weight management, protein may also help:
• increase muscle massTrusted Source
• reduce muscle loss during agingTrusted Source
• reduce bone loss
• improve wound healingTrusted Source

How to follow a high protein diet
A high protein diet can be customized according to your food preferences and health-related goals. For instance, you can follow a:
• low carb, high protein diet to help manage your blood sugar levels
• dairy-free, high protein diet if you’re lactose intolerant
• plant-based, high protein diet if you’re vegetarian or vegan

Here are a few basic guidelines to help you follow a high protein diet:
• eat protein at breakfast
• include a combination of animal and plant proteins in your diet
• choose high-quality protein sources, rather than processed meats
• consume well-balanced meals

What are the risks of eating a high protein diet?
High protein diets are generally safe and healthy for most people.
For example, a 2019 reviewTrusted Source found that contrary to popular belief, high protein intake above the RDA doesn’t cause kidney problems in people with normal kidney function.

That said, you may need to eat a low protein diet to preserve kidney function if you’ve received a diagnosis of moderate to advanced kidney disease.
A 2022 reviewTrusted Source also found that nondairy animal protein, total meat and meat products, and processed meat were linked with a higher risk of kidney stones. However, dairy protein was associated with a lower risk of kidney stones.
What do you eat in a high protein diet?

It’s important to consider a wide range of protein sources. This may include animal and plant-based foods, including:
• soy
• eggs
• dairy
• meat
• fish
• poultry
• beans
• legumes
• grains
• nuts

Can you lose weight by eating high protein foods?
Eating high protein foods could help you lose weight because protein may keep you satiated for longer and boost your metabolism.
What foods are highest in protein?

Some foods that are high in protein include:
• poultry, such as chicken and turkey breast
• egg whites
• seafood, such as shrimp, tuna, and halibut

Protein is an important nutrient.
A higher protein intake is linked to beneficial effects on appetite, weight, body composition, aging, and overall health.
To reap maximum benefits from a high protein diet, spread your protein intake throughout the day, choose high-quality sources, and balance your intake with healthy fats and carbs.