High protein diets satiate you, help build lean muscle and take more energy for your body to digest--thus slightly raising your metabolism. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, in a 2005 editorial, notes that these aspects of high protein diets make them an attractive option for weight loss. A high protein diet usually implies that about 30 percent of your daily calories come from protein sources--a significant increase over the 10 to 20 percent recommended by the United States Department of Agriculture. Following a nutritionally balanced approach to a high protein diet can be an effective weight loss technique. Allowing 1,600 calories per day provides adequate energy for most people, but is low enough in calories to promote weight loss.
A 1,600-calorie high protein diet plan should be divided evenly over the course of the day to provide you with even fueling so your metabolism stays revved and your energy levels remain constant. Smaller meals throughout the day also keep you from becoming too hungry, thus preventing overeating. Try to consume 400 calories each at breakfast, lunch and dinner and reserve 200 calories for each of two snacks. Options for snack times are pre-workout, mid-morning, post-workout or mid-afternoon. A high protein diet should not neglect the other macro-nutrients of fat and carbohydrates. Strive to make 25 to 30 percent of your daily calories come from monounsaturated fats and the other 40 to 45 percent of your calories from healthy carbohydrates.
Types of Food
A high protein diet usually features meat, poultry, fish, eggs, low-fat dairy and whey protein. When dieting, seek out the leanest sources possible and trim all visible fat from meat and poultry. Do not forget to include vegetarian sources of protein, such as soy or beans combined with brown rice. Healthy carbohydrates include sweet potatoes, whole grains and vegetables. Find monounsaturated fats in olive oil, nuts and avocados--be sure to stick to modest portion sizes, as these products are calorie dense and can easily put you over your 1,600-calorie limit.
The amount of weight you lose on a 1,600-calorie high protein diet depends on your weight, current caloric intake and your level of activity. Try keeping a food diary for a week or so to approximate how many calories you presently consume. If you assume it is around 2,200 calories per day, you could lose about 1.2 lbs. per week on 1,600 calories. Up your exercise to burn 400 calories per day, and lose 2 lbs. per week.
Because protein takes longer to digest than many carbohydrates, you feel full longer and may feel more satisfied on fewer calories when following a high protein diet. Supplementing your high protein choices with high volume green vegetables and whole grains can also help satiate you while providing important nutrients. Setting a 1,600 calories a day goal also sets you up for success, because you know exactly how much food you should consume at each meal and can plan accordingly.
You are not relegated to eating only grilled chicken, brown rice and steamed broccoli for every meal. For breakfast, try egg white omelets, whey protein smoothies, Greek yogurt with a sprinkling of granola and berries, or oatmeal and cottage cheese. Lunch might consist of a tofu stir fry, quinoa salad with tuna and chick peas, or a turkey sandwich on sprouted grain bread. For dinner, stick to protein and vegetables--but keep it interesting. Try marinating your chicken in balsamic vinegar and herbs de provence, roasting and then sprinkling with a tablespoon of blue cheese. Use mashed cauliflower as a substitute for rice or potatoes.