In recent years, the keto diet has gained worldwide popularity as a dieting trend. However, it has also received criticism from the medical and nutrition communities, earning the reputation of being the “worst diet” due to potential health concerns such as increased LDL cholesterol levels from excessive fat consumption.
As a result, a new diet has emerged as an alternative to the keto diet, known as the “low carb high protein” diet. This diet addresses the drawbacks of the keto diet by focusing on the inclusion of the important nutrient “protein.”
The common element between the keto diet and the low carb high protein diet is the restriction of carbohydrates. Drastically reducing carbohydrate intake can lead to side effects such as decreased concentration and reduced stamina. Instead of severely limiting carbohydrates, nutritionists recommend reducing the consumption of refined carbohydrates like white flour and sugar.
Protein intake also requires attention. While it is important to consume an adequate amount of protein, solely focusing on consuming large amounts can lead to unnecessary overconsumption. Prolonged consumption of excessive protein can put strain on the kidneys, especially for individuals with weakened kidney function.
Kim Eunmi, a chief nutritionist at Kangbuk Samsung Hospital, warns that excessive protein intake can lead to nutritional imbalances and emphasizes the importance of caution, particularly for those with compromised kidney function. The recommended daily protein intake for adults is about 0.8-1.2 grams per kilogram of body weight.
The distribution of protein intake throughout the day is also crucial. In Korean culture, there is a tendency to consume animal-based proteins like meat primarily during group meals or dinner. However, this is not the optimal way to consume protein. A study published in the Journal of Nutrition in 2014 found that individuals who divided their protein intake into three meals synthesized 25% more muscle protein compared to those who consumed the majority of their protein intake during dinner. Our bodies can only utilize a certain amount of protein at once, so consuming a large amount of protein during dinner often leads to fat storage. Therefore, it is recommended to distribute protein intake evenly throughout three meals.
To effectively incorporate the low carb high protein diet into daily meals, attention should also be given to the types of protein and cooking methods.
Kim suggests prioritizing whole food sources of protein such as lean meats, fish, and tofu over protein supplements. It is important to ensure that the frequency of meat consumption is not excessive and to incorporate a variety of protein sources. When cooking meat, using lean cuts and minimizing the use of oil and seasoning is advised. Sufficient intake of vegetables is also necessary to complement the diet.
By considering these factors, individuals can implement the low carb high protein diet more efficiently and promote a healthier approach to nutrition.