For the past few years many people have tried a high protein diet to lose weight. We have been told or read that protein would help you lose weight. Well, what is protein?
Proteins are essential nutrients and are found within every part of the body including hair, skin and muscle. Our bodies use protein to build, repair and maintain tissues. Protein can also be found in antibodies, enzymes, and hormones. Beside water, protein is the most plentiful nutrients within the human body.
Proteins are made up of 21 amino acids and the number of amino acids it contains determines protein quality. While the body can make amino acids there are 8 essential amino acids that the body must rely on food to supply.
Excessive protein intake will be stored as fat. Protein is ONLY used as a source of energy when both carbohydrate and fat stores are exhausted or not available.
Proteins can be plant and/or animal based. The best sources of protein are lean meats, chicken, fish, beans, lentils, eggs, soy and dairy.
So, should I follow a high protein diet to maintain a healthy lifestyle? Here are the facts:
- Protein does make you feel fuller longer, causing you to eat less.
- The body uses more energy to digest protein then carbohydrates.
- If the types of proteins eaten are high in saturated fat, you experience elevated cholesterol levels, and potential heart problems.
- The weight loss experienced is primarily water. The body is removing, nitrogen, a by-product that is produced when the body breaks down protein.
- The body pumps in extra water to kidneys and liver to help flush the nitrogen build up from the body as quickly as possible.
- Calcium helps the nitrogen eliminate process and if you body doesn’t have enough of it, it will take the calcium from your bones.
- A build up of calcium in your kidneys can lead to painful kidney stones.
- You may experience increase in:
ii. Hair loss
v. Low energy if you completely cut out carbohydrates in favor of proteins
In the US we have no worries of experiencing a protein deficiency in our diets. With that said how much protein should be included in a healthy eating plan?
- The average person needs to have .4 grams of protein/body weight.
- So a women weighing 130 pounds only needs 52 grams of protein/day.
- There are 4 calories in 1 gram of protein.
- That same 130 women would need to get 208 calories from protein.
If you would like to find out exactly what the right protein balance should be for you, please send me an email and we can work through the equation together.
I buy a dozen eggs boil them and keep them in the fridge for a quick low calorie high protein snack. An egg white is pure lean protein yet only has 15 calories.
Tomorrow’s topic Fat.