A high-protein vegetarian diet can be very healthy. Some people use a high-protein, reduced-calorie vegetarian diet as a healthier alternative to weight-loss programs like the Atkins Diet or the South Beach Diet. It has more antioxidants, healthy fats and fiber than a standard low-carb diet. In addition, people who are looking to gain weight can use a higher-calorie version of the diet to gain weight without the negative health effects of animal-based protein sources. This can be especially ideal for chemotherapy patients or other individuals who require a high-calorie macrobiotic diet.
When changing diets, it is always best to adjust gradually. A high-protein vegetarian diet can cause gas, bloating, heartburn or acid reflux for people who are not accustomed to eating soy, beans and other high-fiber protein sources. Ideally, a person’s dietary habits shift gradually over one to two weeks. This may require more time for adjusting (or less) depending on the person’s previous diet.
It may seem surprising, but a high-protein vegetarian diet is actually quite possible-and tofu is not the only option. The best vegetarian protein sources have a wide range of amino acids. Some good options are peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, cheese, quinoa, beans, chickpeas, tempeh, whey, spirulina, miso and seitan. These healthy protein sources have large amounts of antioxidants, fiber, omega-3 fatty acids and other essential nutrients, especially compared to typical meat. These can be included in every meal. Optimal protein intake in a high-protein vegetarian diet will range 60-100 grams per day.
There are many health benefits associated with a high-protein vegetarian diet. Almost immediately, most people will have higher energy levels and feel more focused. The combination of fiber and protein can also help many people feel fuller, which can lead to decreased appetite. As a long term effect, a high-protein, can meat-free diet help reduce the risk of heart disease, obesity, certain types of cancer and gastrointestinal diseases.
A high-protein vegetarian diet can be a very healthy and long-term options, but some people choose to quit the diet for several weeks, months or years. People who eat a high-protein diet for medical reasons, such as chemotherapy, can choose to return to their normal nutrition program after treatment is over. People who use diet for weight control will gradually return to their original diet once they have reached the desired weight. To avoid stomach problems and nutritional deficiencies, it is best to return to normal gradually rather than abruptly.