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Glucose, Insulin Resistance, Weight Loss

How Protein Affects Metabolic Health

March 20, 2024

Eating a diet that’s low in carbohydrates and high in protein can be beneficial for your metabolic health. While protein is typically associated with muscle growth and repair, it also plays a role in regulating blood glucose levels. Although protein doesn’t directly impact blood sugar, it can help minimize spikes after meals by triggering the release of a hormone called cholecystokinin and by slowing down the emptying of the stomach.


Research has shown that following a high-protein, low-carb diet can also help reduce insulin resistance. The amount of protein needed varies based on factors like gender, age, and activity level. Generally, it’s recommended to consume between 0.8 and 1.3 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day. For example, for a 150-pound person, this translates to about 54 to 88 grams of protein daily. However, if you’re more physically active or aiming to build muscle, your protein intake may need to be higher.


Here are some tips for incorporating more protein into your diet:


1. Diversify Protein Sources

Animal products like fish, poultry, meat, dairy, and eggs are considered complete proteins, containing all essential amino acids. Some plant-based foods such as tofu, hemp, and chia seeds are also complete proteins, while others may lack certain amino acids. Pairing complementary plant-based protein sources can help create complete proteins.


2. Add Protein to Every Meal

Ensure each meal includes a source of protein. Meat, fish, lentil pasta, and Greek yogurt are good options.


3. Snack on Protein

Incorporate protein-rich snacks into your diet, such as raw nuts, and hard-boiled eggs. Grilled edamame, turkey and cheese rolls, or an avocado are all excellent choices.


4. Get Creative with Toppings and Add-Ins

Add extra protein to your meals without altering the flavor by using toppings like nuts, seeds, legumes, or crispy baked chickpeas. You can also stir nut butter into sauces or chili for an additional protein boost.


By following these tips, you can increase your protein intake and support your metabolic health. Remember to prioritize a balanced diet that includes a variety of whole foods to meet all your nutritional needs. It’s advisable to consult a healthcare professional to determine the right approach for you.