What Is a High-Protein High-Carb Diet?

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  • Written By: Angela Farrer
  • Edited By: S. Pike
  • Last Modified Date: 16 August 2019
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A high-protein high-carb diet is an eating plan primarily designed for weight loss through minimizing intake of saturated fats and cholesterol. Unlike other diet plans, it does not restrict carbohydrates or protein but instead draws quality nutrition from both food types. A high-protein high-carb diet can be adapted as a regimen for some athletes such as body builders, wrestlers, and weightlifters who need to add muscle mass. It can also be beneficial for people who are clinically underweight for their heights and body types if they follow certain guidelines that balance the right ratios of carbohydrates to protein.

The approach to a high-protein diet that is commonly recognized as healthy is to eat mostly lean white meats, some types of seafood, and low-fat dairy products for protein. Dieters can also meet their protein requirements from soy beans and some dark leafy vegetables. Protein sources such as whole milk, dark meats, olives, and most nuts are higher in saturated fat and should be limited, according to this approach. To help reduce cholesterol intake, cooking oils higher in omega-3 fatty acids can be substituted for vegetable oil.


Including certain carbohydrates in dieting for weight loss may be advantageous because carbohydrates provide a good source of energy that can help reduce cravings to snack in between meals. Whole-grain breads and cereals are healthy sources of carbohydrates, as are many different fruits and vegetables. One of the keys to success with this component of a high-protein high-carb diet is to limit carbohydrates made from refined white sugars and white flour, since these are often known as empty calories with little nutritional value.

Athletes on a measured high-protein high-carb diet can improve both their performance and their workout results by getting their caloric energy from complex carbohydrates before strenuous activity. After a workout, eating a high-protein meal that is low in fat helps the body recover more quickly and gain more lean muscle. Some athletes supplement their diet plans with concentrated proteins such as powdered whey drink mixes, but nutritionists typically advise that these should be used in moderation.

Underweight dieters need some special considerations because a significant lack of body fat and muscle can carry some health risks. Lack of adequate nutrition is a common cause, and a high-protein high-carb diet is an effective way to address this deficiency. A recommended plan is to increase daily calories by 500, with an average ratio of two grams of carbohydrate for every one gram of protein. Calories from fats can be incorporated into this weight gain diet as long as they are balanced with those from carbs and protein.



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