There is a big difference between high protein diet foods and those foods that can be eaten on a high protein diet. The former refers to lower calorie foods that give a person plenty of protein. The latter generally means high protein foods, regardless of caloric content. This second group is part of diets that are not well regarded by the mainstream medical community, though some people swear by their results. Most doctors conclude a balanced diet with low calorie sources of protein is more healthful.
Protein is extremely valuable to the body. It helps build lean muscle and increases health, but not all sources of protein are actually diet foods. For something to be listed among the high protein diet foods, it needs to be low in fat, or contain good sources of fat, like omega-3 fatty acids. Anyone interested in finding some of the best high protein diet foods can be served by looking at well-balanced vegan diets. In these there are many proteins with minimal fats and calories.
Some of the ways vegans get protein are through foods like legumes, which are some of the best quality protein sources. Most beans contain few fats and they’re typically excellent sources of fiber too. Another vegetable food that bears mention is tofu, made from soybeans. Tofu can be a great stand-in for fattier meats and has high amounts of protein. Nuts and seeds are high protein too, though for diet purposes, people should consume them in smaller amounts. The latter two can be highly caloric when eaten in larger amounts, though the oils they provide may be heart-healthy. For this reason, keep portion size of these high protein diet foods small.
One of the things that is often discussed as problematic in vegan diets is that proteins may be incomplete and “not as good” as animal proteins. It’s fairly easy to complete vegetable proteins — the addition of corn to beans, for instance, makes it just as valuable as the protein someone might get from eating a hamburger.
When animal products are used, the key to finding high protein diet foods is assessing fat levels. For example, those who enjoy milk products can find plain milk, cheeses, yogurt, and cottage cheese that have minimal fat, and can yield many grams of protein per serving. Eggs are not usually a diet food, but when used in small amounts, they do have excellent protein and some potentially triglyceride-lowering benefits. Meats can be good high protein diet foods too, especially if they are lean white meats or low calorie fish.
Much of what makes a food suitable for a diet is how it is prepared and how much of it is eaten. Often, when consuming high protein diet foods, portion has to be considered, and method of preparation is important. Frying anything, even tofu, will add to its fat content, and a whole chicken is not diet food, while half a breast can be.