What is a Fat?

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:

  1. Protein does make you feel fuller longer, causing you to eat less.
  2. The body uses more energy to digest protein then carbohydrates.
  3. If the types of proteins eaten are high in saturated fat, you experience elevated cholesterol levels, and potential heart problems.
  4. 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:
    i. Thirst
    ii. Hair loss
    iii. Urination
    iv. Constipation
    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.

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What is a Carb?

Over the past few years, we have heard so much hype about CARBS.quinoa What is a Carb?

  •  Good carbs
  •  Bad carbs
  • High glycemic carbs
  • Low glycemic carbs
  • Complex carbs
  • Simple carbs

Is your head still spinning?  Let’s take a step back and look at carbohydrates and understand how to best incorporate them into a healthy lifestyle. Carbohydrate = energy They are typically found in plants, fruits, vegetables and grains.  Energy, aka carbohydrates, come in 2 forms:

 

  • Simple carbs — easy to digest 
    • aka: bad carbs, low GI carbs
  •    Complex carbs — harder to digest
    • aka:    good carbs, high GI carbs, whole grains

Yes it’s quite amazing how many different terms can be used to describe 2 concepts.Simple carbs are foods with naturally occurring sugars or have been refined so much that they no longer hold any nutritional values.  These types of carbs don’t leave your body feeling very satiated.   Simple carbs are easy for your body to digest and give your body a quick jolt of energy, and once this food is digested the insulin remaining in your bloodstream sends the “feed me” signal to your brain. 

Examples of these types of carbs include:

  • Fruit sugars
  • Table sugars
  • Milk sugars
  • White flour
  • White bread

Complex carbs are more difficult for your body to digest because they are packed with fiber and other vitamins and minerals.With complex carbs your body spends time digesting the fibers, so the “feed me” signal to the brain is delayed.

  • Vegetable
  • Whole grains
  • Peas
  • Beans

So, why did we become so afraid of carbs? Carbs taste GREAT! We love pastas, breads and sugars and when we eat too much of these carbs, they are very easily stored as fat.  So we because afraid of carbs, because we thought ALL carbs made us fat.  So, how do I keep this from happening?The key is balance and moderation.  Our bodies need carbs to function and should be eaten based on the needs of your body.  Most active adults need 55 -60% of their total calories to come from carbohydrates.  Carbohydrates are 4 calories/gram. If you would like to find out exactly what the right carbohydrate balance should be for you, please send me an email. 

By replacing your morning bagel or scone with a cup of hot oatmeal you will increase your daily complex carb intake and you’ll find that you won’t feel hungry.  It can be as simple as adding a ½ cup of regular or steel cut oatmeal to a packet of low sugar or sugar free instant oatmeal you can also add in a sprinkle of nuts and a sprinkle of dried or fresh fruit to give you sweetness.  For those on the go, this breakfast is highly portable and can be made in the microwave in less than 5 minutes. My favorite is 1/4 cup of regular oatmeal and a 1/4 cup of steel cut oatmeal, sprinkle of walnuts, dried cranberries, a packet of Splenda and a dash of nutmeg.  If you are the creative type then here is another recipe to get your culinary juices started.  Please feel free to  email me your favorite oatmeal recipes.Pumpkin Pecan Oatmeal Tomorrow’s topic will be protein.

If you’d like to discuss any other topics please let me know.

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