Effects of a High Protein Diet and Resistance Training on Health

Author: Miranda Strelecki

Individuals that are over-weight tend to want a diet that will show fast results. When doing quick research online, they may find that high-protein low-fat diets will give them the results they want to see. In order for a high protein diet to have its full effect, exercise needs to be coupled with it. Verreijen and team found that a high protein diet did not significantly decrease the amount of free fat mass in  sedentary individuals. They did find that a high protein diet paired with resistance training did not significantly lower the amount of free fat mass in individuals that were previously obese.

Resistance training uses a resistance against a weight or force to increase muscle strength. Free weights, machine weights, resistance bands and even one’s body weight are all examples of forms of resistance training. Individuals wanting to start a resistance training program should train two to three times a week, resting muscle groups for at least 48 hours for maximal muscle gains. People should also vary their workouts, so each muscle group is being trained. Resistance training also helps improve posture, bone density, mobility, and more on top of helping muscle strength and tone.

When starting an exercise program, people need to make sure they are warming up for the specific exercise. A simple warm up routine could consist of a light aerobic exercise, such as walking, and also incorporate dynamic stretching. Dynamic stretches are slow and controlled movements that move through the whole range of motion, such as walking lunges. After the warm up, the individual would move into the actual exercises, preferably 8-10 exercises. They should start with 8 reps of each and try to work up to two to three sets of 8-12 reps. Individuals should not expect to see results until 6-8 weeks after starting their program.

When consuming a high protein diet, a person can expect to see “results” by about 6-8 weeks. Results will vary in every individual. This is because when carbohydrates are restricted from their diet, things called ketones are released into the bloodstream, ketones help lower appetite (MedicineNet). Once someone starts eating carbohydrates at a regular level again, these ketones do not get released as often so appetite heightens. Proteins are also more complex to break down, so the body will use more energy (calories) to break down the molecules. Once carbohydrates and fats are introduced back into the system, less energy is used, therefore less calories are used.

Proteins serve numerous important functions in the body. Proteins are an essential part of hair, nails, bones, and muscles. The proteins are constantly repairing and rebuilding these structures. Proteins are also important in hormone communication, without proteins, messages would not travel as smoothly throughout the body. They are needed to make enzymes to catalyze reaction in the body in order to get the output that is needed. They also aid in transportation of molecules (i.e hemoglobin, “the blood carrier”). If a person were to not get the essential proteins from their food, these processes would not be as efficient as they should and could be.

Resistance training may lead to a promotion of bone development, studies have shown a 1-3% increase in bone mineral density (Westcott). Resistance training also helps reduce lower back pain by building up the skeletal muscles needed to strengthen the back and torso, hips, and other joints. This can also in return reduce the risk of falling and improve balance. It has also been known to be associated with relieving some discomfort with arthritis and fibromyalgia (About).

Wycherley and team found when combining a high protein diet with resistance training, there was a significant difference in weight loss than a regular protein diet with resistance training. When combining these resistance training with a high protein diet, studies have shown a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of death in America (Wycherley, et al.) High protein diets have been proven to also lower blood pressure. This may be due to the lower insulin levels and glucose levels in the body. With high glucose levels, things start to build up and block arteries, blocked arteries are usually what cause cardiovascular disease.

Resistance training helps strengthen bones, which will help aid the effect of osteoporosis and having a high protein diet will help with communication throughout the body. All in all, one of the best things to do for your body is to combine a high protein diet with resistance training. Please note a high protein diet does not mean a low fat or low carbohydrate diet

It is important to pick foods carefully in a high protein low fat diet. An individual should aim for 30 percent of their calories to come from protein, 50 percent from carbohydrates, and 20 percent from fats (Kerns). A person should get a lot of protein during breakfast and dinner. These proteins can come from lean meats, nuts, cheese, egg whites, etc. During lunch is when an individual should eat the bulk of their carbohydrates. Be careful picking what carbohydrates to eat. A recommendation would be a turkey sandwich made with one slice of whole wheat bread, a soup, salad with a low-fat dressing and beans. Avoid white bread and anything else made with refined grains. Instead go for whole wheat pasta, wheat bread, brown rice, beans, etc. (Kerns). Snack time can be a time where people deviate from their diet. Instead of going for cookies, chips, muffins, etc. go for nuts, low sugar protein bar, veggies, or an apple with peanut butter.

If someone reading this has a chronic illness or disease, please consult your doctor before trying this lifestyle.


About Fibromyalgia | Prognosis, www.fmcpaware.org/aboutfibromyalgia.html.

Amely M. Verreijen, et al. “Effect of a High Protein Diet and/or Resistance Exercise on the Preservation of Fat Free Mass during Weight Loss in Overweight and Obese Older Adults: a Randomized Controlled Trial.” Nutrition Journal, BioMed Central, 6 Feb. 2017.

“Definition of Ketone.” MedicineNet, www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=39574.

Kerns, Michelle. “Low-Fat, High-Protein Diet Menu.” LIVESTRONG.COM, Leaf Group, 3 Oct. 2017, www.livestrong.com/article/72680-lowfat-high-protein-diet-menu/.

Westcott, W L. “Resistance Training Is Medicine: Effects of Strength Training on Health.” Current Sports Medicine Reports., U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2012.

Wycherley, Thomas P., et al. “A High-Protein Diet With Resistance Exercise Training Improves Weight Loss and Body Composition in Overweight and Obese Patients With Type 2 Diabetes.” Diabetes Care, American Diabetes Association, May 2010.