What Is Protein And Why Is It Important
Protein is one of the three macronutrients, along with carbs and fat.
In your body, it performs the following roles:
- Repair and maintenance: Protein is the main component of your muscles, bones, skin and hair. These tissues are continuously repaired and replaced with new protein.
- Hormones: Chemical messenger proteins allow cells and organs in your body to communicate with each other.
- Enzymes: Most enzymes are proteins, and the thousands of chemical reactions that take place throughout your body are driven by them.
- Transportation and storage: Some proteins help deliver important molecules where theyre needed. For example, the protein hemoglobin carries oxygen to your bodys cells.
Protein is made up of smaller units known as amino acids.
Of the 22 amino acids, 9 are considered essential, meaning they must be consumed in food because your body cant make them.
Importantly, some foods provide better protein than others based on their amino acid profile.
Generally speaking, animal products are considered complete protein because they contain all the essential amino acids in the optimal amounts that your body needs. These include eggs, dairy, meat, fish and poultry.
Vegetable proteins dont provide adequate amounts of every essential amino acid but can be combined with other plant sources to make complete protein. Beans, legumes, grains, soy, nuts and seeds are examples of high-protein plant foods.
Chicken And Assorted Vegetables Or Fruits
Chicken is rich in proteins and an extremely healthy food. A very simple meal could be a basic chicken salad. Chicken slices along with bell peppers, dark green leafy vegetables or even fruits like berries, apples or pears could be a nutritious weight loss meal. The meal will help you keep full for longer and control your hunger pangs.
Protein Payout: 1 Egg 85 Calories 7 G Protein
Eggs might just be the easiest, cheapest and most versatile way to up your protein intake. Beyond easily upping your daily protein count, each 85-calorie eggs packs a solid 7 grams of the muscle-builder! Eggs also boost your health: They’re loaded with amino acids, antioxidants, and iron. Don’t just reach for the whites, though the yolks boast a fat-fighting nutrient called choline, so opting for whole eggs can actually help you trim down. When you’re shopping for eggs, pay attention to the labels. You should be buying organic, when possible. These are certified by the USDA and are free from antibiotics, vaccines, and hormones. As for color, that’s your call. The difference in color just varies based on the type of chickenthey both have the same nutritional value, says Molly Morgan, RD, a board certified sports specialist dietician based in upstate New York.
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Protein Payout: 1 Oz 138 Calories 5 G Protein
One of the hallmarks of a balanced diet is to have a good ratio of omega-6 fatty acids to omega-3s. A 4:1 ratio would be ideal, but the modern American diet is more like 20:1. That leads to inflammation, which can trigger weight gain. But while eating a serving of salmon every day isn’t exactly convenient, sprinkling chia seedsamong the most highly concentrated sources of omega-3s in the food worldinto smoothies, salads, cereals, pancakes or even desserts is as easy a diet upgrade as you can get.
Protein Payout: 8 Oz 110 Calories 8 G Protein
Organically raised cows are not subject to the same hormones and antibiotics that conventional cows are no antibiotics for them means no antibiotics for you. Grass fed cows have been shown to have higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids and two to five times more CLA than their corn and grain fed counterparts. CLA contains a group of chemicals which provides a wide variety of health benefits, including immune and inflammatory system support, improved bone mass, improved blood sugar regulation, reduced body fat, reduced risk of heart attack, and maintenance of lean body mass. While skim milk may be lowest in calories, many vitamins are fat-soluble, which means you won’t get all the benefits of the alphabetical nutrients listed on your cereal box unless you opt for at least 1%.
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Foods And Beverages To Consume In Limited Quantities
The foods on this list can be included, but they shouldnt be the main focus if you want to lose weight. Although many of them are nutritious, their protein percentages arent high. Depending on what you like and the way you eat, you can enjoy them in small quantities on a frequent or even daily basis.
- Cheese: Cheese is delicious, low in carbs, and a great source of calcium. However, it doesnt provide a lot of protein per calorie. Additionally, some people find that eating cheese causes cravings for more.22If you follow a keto or low-carb diet, feel free to have a small portion daily, if you like.Protein percentage range: 39% to 20%
- Nuts: They provide crunch, flavor, and enjoyment at meals and when snacking. Unfortunately, they dont provide much nutrition per calorie.Also, once you start eating nuts, it can be difficult to stop. Eating too many nuts can increase your caloric intake, making weight loss more difficult.23Aim for no more than a small handful no matter what type of nut you choose. Also, portion them out and eat them in a small bowl rather than from the container.Protein percentage range: 18% to 4%
- Low-protein processed meats: Yes, theyre flavorful and convenient. But foods like bacon, sausage, and salami contain far less protein than other meats. Can you still lose weight if you include them in your diet? Absolutely. But try to choose the processed meats listed in the foods to eat section most of the time.Protein percentage range: 23% to 14%
Comparison Of High Protein And High Fiber Weight
1Department of Human Nutrition, University of Otago, PO Box 56, Dunedin 9054, New Zealand
4Riddet Institute, Private Bag 11 222, Palmerston North 4442, New Zealand
1Department of Human Nutrition, University of Otago, PO Box 56, Dunedin 9054, New Zealand
4Riddet Institute, Private Bag 11 222, Palmerston North 4442, New Zealand
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Other Sources Of Protein
While most of us can hit our protein goals through whole-food sources, there are some scenarios where protein powders or other protein-enriched foods can be useful. People starting an intense endurance- or strength-training program, recovering from surgery, or dealing with other health issues may need to boost their protein intake, says London. In these situations, be sure to talk with your health care provider to create a personalized nutrition plan.
That said, there may also be more in-the-moment times where you need some extra help on the protein front. On busy mornings where you barely have time to brush your teeth let alone cook breakfast, WWs protein-packed lattes can be a great solution. Each 8-oz can provides 11 g of protein and 20% of the Daily Value for calciummaking them convenient and nutritious breakfast additions. Ultimately, all foods are on the menu and WW members should do what works for them, which could include using a protein powder or protein-enhanced drinks, says Goscilo.
So How Does Fiber Work Anyway
Basically, it’s the part of plant foodsvegetables, fruits, beans, nuts, legumes, and seedsthat your body can’t digest. There are two types of fiber: insoluble, which helps food pass through your digestive system, and soluble, which helps eliminate fat and lower cholesterol. Thanks to soluble fiber, sugars and fats enter your bloodstream at a slower rate, giving you a steady supply of energy. “When you eat foods that lack fiber, your blood sugar can spike quickly. Then it crashes, causing hunger and overeating,” says Tanya Zuckerbrot, R.D., author of The F-Factor Diet.
The more fiber a food has, the better. “Fiber-packed products tend to be low-cal, so you can eat a lot,” says Zuckerbrot. “Fiber makes you full, because it swells in your stomach when it absorbs liquid.”
Fiber is also a heart hero: It helps to lower cholesterol and blood pressure, and it increases blood flow. Soluble fiber’s effect on cholesterol is so potent that the FDA allows companies to advertise this fact on products like oatmeal. The nutrient may also reduce levels of C-reactive protein , a marker for inflammation, which has been linked to cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer. In a study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, people with the highest fiber intake were 63 percent less likely to have elevated levels of CRP than people who followed lower-fiber diets.
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How To Follow A High
A high-protein diet is easy to follow and can be customized according to your own food preferences and health-related goals.
For instance, you may want to follow a low-carb, high-protein diet to keep your blood sugar under control.
If you avoid milk products, you can follow a dairy-free diet that is rich in protein.
Even a vegetarian diet can be high in protein if it includes eggs or dairy and plenty of legumes and other plant proteins.
Here are a few basic guidelines for following a high-protein diet:
- Keep a food diary: Start a food diary using an app or website that provides protein values for thousands of foods and allows you to set your own calorie and macronutrient goals.
- Calculate protein needs: To calculate your protein needs, multiply your weight in pounds by 0.60.75 grams, or your weight in kilograms by 1.21.6 grams.
- Eat at least 2530 grams of protein at meals: Research has shown that consuming a minimum of 25 grams of protein at meals may promote weight loss, muscle maintenance and better overall health .
- Include both animal and plant proteins in your diet: Eating a combination of both types helps make your diet more nutritious overall.
- Choose high-quality protein sources: Focus on fresh meats, eggs, dairy and other proteins, rather than processed meats like bacon and lunch meats.
- Consume well-balanced meals: Balance high-protein foods with vegetables, fruits and other plant foods at every meal.
How Much Protein Should You Eat Every Day
The optimal amount of protein to consume per day is somewhat controversial.
Based on the DRI of 0.36 grams of protein per pound of body weight, or 0.8 grams per kilogram, a 150-pound person would need about 54 grams per day.
While this may be enough to prevent outright protein deficiency, many experts believe this is too low for optimal health, including maintaining muscle mass .
In fact, studies have shown that older adults, in particular, require more protein than the DRI, concluding that 0.6 grams of protein per pound, or 1.3 grams per kilogram, may help prevent age-related muscle loss .
Furthermore, diets providing up to double the DRI at 0.75 grams of protein per pound, or 1.6 grams per kilogram, have been found to boost weight and fat loss, improve body composition and protect muscle during weight loss .
However, increasing your protein intake beyond this amount doesnt seem to provide additional benefits.
One study showed men who consumed 0.75 grams of protein per pound, or 1.6 grams per kilogram, lost slightly more fat and had similar gains in muscle, compared to the group that consumed 1.1 grams per pound, or 2.4 grams per kilogram .
A high-protein diet for weight loss and overall health should provide about 0.60.75 grams of protein per pound of body weight, or 1.21.6 grams per kilogram, and 2030% of your calories per day.
For the 150-pound person, this provides a broad range of about 82110 grams of protein daily, depending on calorie intake.
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How Much Protein Should One Eat Everyday
In India, 9 out of 10 people consume less-than recommended protein in their diet as per a recent study Protein Consumption in Diet of Adult Indians: A General Consumer Survey . The Indian Council of Medical Research recommends 0.8 to 1 gm protein per kg body weight per day to fulfil the basic nutritional needs of Indians.
The ICMR calculated protein levels for Indians based on per kg of reference weight for all ages.Protein consumption of 2530% of total daily calories increases metabolism by up to 80100 calories per day compared to lower protein diets. Hence, for a 1200-calorie diet you roughly need to consume 72-75gms of protein.Recent research also shows that high-protein, low-fat diets promote weight loss more effectively than high-carb, low-fat diets.
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Protein Reduces Appetite And Makes You Eat Fewer Calories
Protein can reduce hunger and appetite via several different mechanisms .
This can lead to an automatic reduction in calorie intake.
In other words, you end up eating fewer calories without having to count calories or consciously control portions.
Numerous studies have shown that when people increase their protein intake, they start eating fewer calories.
This works on a meal-to-meal basis, as well as a sustained day-to-day reduction in calorie intake as long as protein intake is kept high .
In one study, protein at 30% of calories caused people to automatically drop their calorie intake by 441 calories per day, which is a huge amount .
So, high protein diets not only have a metabolic advantage they also have an appetite advantage, making it much easier to cut calories compared to lower protein diets.
High-protein diets are highly satiating, so they lead to reduced hunger and appetite compared to lower protein diets. This makes it much easier to restrict calories on a high-protein diet.
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Study Limitations And Continued Research
The study did have limitations. The studies included in the analysis were observational. This means that they cannot determine a causal relationship between ALA and mortality. There is also the possibility of missed factors that may have influenced the examined studies results. Errors in the measurements of food and nutrients were possible as well.
The analyzed studies showed mixed results, possibly due to differences in follow-up time frames, ALA intake, and the frequency of dietary assessments. Finally, most of the studies did one estimate of ALA intake taken at the beginning of the study, therefore not accounting for changes people might have made to their intakes during the follow-up.
Dietitian and nutrition expert Kristin Kirkpatrick noted that it is also critical to look at the wider context of the studys information. This includes looking at the sources of food and how these foods provide multiple benefits. She explained to MNT:
I think this study outlines an important factor in nutritional science we cannot always isolate a certain macronutrient, vitamin, or mineral we also need to assess the food . Plant-based diets have been successful in many of my patients in terms of benefits to metabolic health and sustainability. I counsel these patients to look toward whole foods sources, such as walnuts, whole soy sources, and flaxseed. In addition to this, I look at their ratio of omega 3s and omega 6 sources as well.
Easy Fiber For Weight Loss Swaps
Below, a few bonus tips for simple ways to boost your fiber intake at every meal of the day.
- Instead of 1 cup apple juice , try 1 apple
- Instead of 1 cup spaghetti , try 1 cup whole-wheat spaghetti
- Instead of 1 cup long-grain white rice , try 1 cup long-grain brown rice
- Instead of 1 cup instant mashed potatoes , try 1 baked sweet potato with skin
- Instead of 1 cup macaroni , try 1 cup barley
- Instead of 1 cup peeled cucumber , try 1 medium artichoke
- Instead of 1 cup iceberg lettuce , try 1 cup romaine lettuce
- Instead of 1 slice white bread
- Instead of 1 ounce potato chips , try 3 cups air-popped popcorn
- Instead of a 1.55-ounce milk-chocolate bar , try a 1.3-ounce whole-bean chocolate bar
- Instead of 1 fig-bar cookie , try 1 cup raspberries
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What Can You Eat
Fiber comes only from plants, so you will need to include plenty of plant sources in a balanced diet that includes a variety of nutritious foods. The good news is that many plant sources are also nutrient-dense, packed with vitamins, antioxidants, and phytonutrients that are beneficial for your health.
The three most important kinds of dietary fiber are:
- Insoluble: This fiber comes from the walls of plant cells and it doesn’t dissolve in water or ferment in the colon like soluble fiber. It is found in whole grains, the skin of fruits that grow on trees, and many green vegetables. This is the kind of fiber that helps with digestive health and regularity.
- Soluble:This fiber is found in most plants, but especially in legumes and beans, root vegetables, many fruits, and some grains, such as oats and barley. “Good” bacteria in the colon use this kind of fiber as a food source, and it may help control blood sugar levels in people with diabetes.
- Prebiotic: This is a type of soluble fiber that is found in asparagus, onions, garlic, leeks, bananas, and some root vegetables, as well as in certain grains.
Dietary Fiber: An Integral Component Of A Successful Weight Loss Intervention
Major shortcomings associated with sustainable weight loss include difficulty following low-calorie diets and the bodys ability to regain weight easily.
A recent study, published in the The Journal of Nutrition, provides new information that dietary fiber intake, independent of macronutrient and caloric intake, may help overcome these obstacles. The study team, led by Derek Miketinas and colleagues, evaluated the role of dietary fiber, other nutrients, and individual characteristics as predictors of weight loss and dietary adherence in overweight or obese adults who followed low-calorie diets for 6 months.
Subjects were randomly assigned to 1 of 4 energy-restricted diets. The compositions of the 4 diets were 1) low-fat, average-protein 2) low-fat, high-protein 3) high-fat, average-protein and 4) high-fat, high protein. All diets were designed to include at least 20 grams of dietary fiber, daily. Each participants diet reflected a 750 Calorie per day reduction in energy needs. Measurements were taken at the start of the trial and 6 months later. Nutrient intake, including total fiber, was estimated from food records and dietary recalls.
Additionally, participants who met their fiber goals were also more likely to adhere to their assigned diet. Results of this study strongly suggest that dietary fiber intake is an integral component of a successful dietary weight loss intervention that involves calorie restriction.
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