The Athlete

High Protein Diet: Where's the Beef?

High protein diets dictate that the dieter consume high amounts of protein and eat foods such as fish, beef, chicken and tuna, while avoiding foods that contain lots of carbohydrate such as breads, pastas, cereals, and starchy foods such as potatoes. The theory behind the reduction of carbohydrates is that they can eventually turn to fat and are then stored by the human body as unwanted fat cells. Protein on the other hand, is more difficult for the body to store as fat and helps increase muscle mass. The high protein diet has become popular in sports nutrition circles because of the often dramatic results in performance.

What exactly do proteins do? Proteins help create new tissue and replace old tissue. They help regulate the delicate balance of acids and water in the human body, and transport nutrients and oxygen to the body's blood and cells. So, protein, in and of itself is certainly a good thing. However, scientists clearly state that consuming an unbalanced, irregularly high amount of protein can be harmful to your health. Numerous studies have shown that eating too much protein can put you health in serious jeopardy. Too much protein can result in strokes, kidney stones, and even heart disease.

Although a high protein diet can result in short-term physical gains, the loss of fat tissue, and a higher level of sports performance, it can, in the long run be detrimental to your health. High protein diets may seem to work, but you can't stay on them forever. Once you go off the high protein diet, your body may have difficulty accepting the newly reintroduced carbohydrates, and even store them as fat quicker than before you went on the high protein diet.

If you are thinking of going on a high protein diet to enhance your overall sports nutrition, you may want to consult your physician or a registered dietician before you begin. While many people have experienced dramatic weight loss from using high protein diet, there is still some debate about its medical implications, especially when it comes to long-term high protein diets. As with anything else in the world of sports nutrition, it pays to do some research and ask around before embarking on a diet such as a low carb diet.