Lack Of Protein And Difficulty Losing Weight. High-Protein Low-Carb Diet Review.
The more active you are, the more protein you need, explains Melinda Manore, Ph.D., chairwoman and professor of the department of nutrition and food management at Oregon State University. Protein can help you build your body and burn calories quite an effective one-two punch! But all too often, especially recently, people tend to overlook the benefits of protein, especially as a way of keeping weight in check. The significance of protein for healthy weight loss is extremely high. Not only does protein helps to develop muscle and boost metabolism, it also fills you up and curbs your appetite.
Protein for health and weight loss
Protein also increases your metabolic rate. Protein requires the greatest expenditure of energy and therefore has the highest thermic effect. You burn more calories consuming and digesting protein than fat or carbs. Higher protein and lower carb food intake is also associated with a more lasting benefit in keeping the fat and weight off. The advantages of a high-protein diet for fat loss are well supported by research. Eating more protein and less unhealthy carbs, can give you another edge in a healthy fat loss program.
Proteins play crucial roles in the body. They provide structural features of body tissue and serve as immune system antibodies/signaling molecules. In the form of enzymes and hormones, proteins help regulate sleep, digestion and ovulation. In recent years, the emphasis has been on high-carbohydrate eating. Books and doctors extolled the virtues of carbs and claimed that a high carbo diet was the best thing for you. But the pendulum is shifting back, and more books have been coming out asserting that high protein/low carb is the way to go.
Regardless of whom you believe, there is no question that protein is a necessity in your diet. It is made from amino acids, some of which your body makes and others of which you can only get by eating protein. Protein comprises 20 building blocks called amino acids. Of those 20, the body makes 11 called nonessential amino acids. The other nine, called essential amino acids, must be supplied by food, or dietary protein, explains Julie Burns, M.S., R.D., owner of SportFuel Inc., a sports-nutrition company in Western Springs, III.
It is, in one form or another, present in every cell of your body. It makes, maintains and repairs cells from muscle to other tissues. It is a crucial ingredient in everything from your bones to your hair; and makes up such vital substances as hormones (such as insulin) and disease-fighting antibodies.
As a macronutrient, protein helps curb your appetite, which may help you lose weight. Compared to carbs and fats which are primarily energy sources proteins play crucial roles in the body. It’s clear, then, that protein is a must in anyone’s diet. But it’s especially important if you’re going through premature menopause and here’s the big reason why:
You can actually jump-start your metabolism with protein. Protein’s thermic effect is higher than that of carbohydrates or fats. In other words, you burn more calories when you digest a high protein meal than one high in fats or carbs. So you’re getting more bang for your buck when you eat protein. One other big plus: because it is used in the manufacture of insulin, protein helps keep blood sugar levels stable a big plus when it comes to preventing both mood swings and food cravings.
“How is protein helpful ion shedding the excess fat from your body? As proteins are rich in amino acids it ensures that the metabolism rate of your body increases. Thus, increased rate of metabolism helps you body to burn the excess fat at a steady pace.”
The association between protein intake and a trimmer waist was confirmed in a study published in the Journal of Nutrition.(8) Individuals consuming more protein instead of carbohydrate were associated with less abdominal obesity independent of age, sex, height, smoking, physical activity, intakes of alcohol and other factors.
Overall, the research indicates that higher protein intake can benefit weight and fat loss in 4 way
- Increased satiety from higher protein meals
- Increased thermic effect of higher protein meals
- Higher conjugated linoleic acid in the diet
- Increased insulin sensitivity from a higher protein diet and an improved resting metabolic rate
Adults need a minimum of one gram of protein for every 2.2 pounds of body weight. If you don’t get that protein, your body begins to slowly break down its own tissue in order to get what it needs. So, for the average 140lbs woman, it is necessary to eat about 63 grams of protein every day.
What happens if I’m not getting enough protein?
Eating too little protein means your body can’t perform all the functions for which protein is required, at least not at peak levels. At highest risk are women on low-calorie diets (less than 1,200 calories a day), competitive athletes who restrict calories and burn protein instead of fat, and vegans and macrobiotic diners who don’t get enough of the amino-acid building blocks needed to synthesize complete proteins.
Too much protein isn’t the only problem with the popular high-protein diets. Think high protein means high fat? Preparing meals with an emphasis on protein doesn’t mean opting for foods high in saturated fat. Better choices, including skinless chicken and turkey, fish, shellfish, egg whites, nuts, seeds and beans, are crammed with high-quality protein, yet they’re virtually saturated-fat free.
Is it a problem if my protein intake is higher than the RDA?
If you consume more protein than you really need, you risk several negative consequences. First, you could gain weight. Consuming more calories than you need in a day, even if they’re protein calories, will cause your body to store the extra calories as fat. In addition, eating protein at the expense of vegetables, grains and other healthy foods can deprive your body of essential nutrients. Plus, it can cause dehydration because it takes a lot of water to eliminate extra protein.
A high-protein diet is often recommended by bodybuilders and nutritionists to help efforts to build muscle and lose fat. It should not be confused with low-carb diets such as the Atkins Diet, which are not calorie-controlled and which often contain large amounts of fat. By eating a healthy, balanced diet containing 15-20 percent lean protein, 55-60 percent carbs and 20-30 percent fat, you’ll have no trouble achieving a healthy weight and staying well.
Advantages of Protein
There are many great reasons to make sure you are getting enough protein in your diet every day.
- Foods that contain high levels of protein, like chicken, beef, fish and beans, tend to be digested more slowly from the stomach to the intestine, thereby making you feel full longer. Additionally, protein has a gentle stabilizing effect on blood sugar, unlike a highly refined carbohydrate, which can cause a sudden spike and decline in blood sugar.
- There is evidence to support the claim that consuming protein low in saturated fat, such as beans, soy, nuts and whole grains, and cutting back on highly processed carbohydrates improves blood triglycerides and high-density lipoprotein. These changes could reduce your chances of heart attack, stroke or other cardiovascular disease.
- Protein-rich foods like beans, soy, nuts and whole grains also offer healthy fibers and nutrients that are important in a well-rounded diet.
- A lack of protein in the diet can lead to growth loss, weakening of the muscles, heart and respiratory system, decreased immunity and death.
Low Protein Levels: Symptoms
When the body has low protein levels, it shows up in the form of some very characteristic symptoms.
- Edema: Also known as water retention, edema is one of the prime symptoms of low protein levels in the body. Commonly occurring in the hands, ankles, and feet, edema occurs when protein levels are low, because of which water flows out of the blood stream and collects in the tissues. This results in bloating and swelling in the body. Edema also occurs when the kidney is affected and protein is lost through urine. This condition may cause weight gain, an indirect symptom of low protein levels.
- Bruising: Because protein is responsible for the blood to remain within the blood vessels, when there is a lack of this nutrient in the body, it is likely to cause easy bruising.
- Blood Clotting Problems: If one is injured it is likely that the person may bleed continuously because of low protein levels in the blood. This is likely when the protein levels are low due to liver disease.
- Wasting of Muscle: Since proteins are extremely important in the development of muscles, a lack of protein in the body will cause the body to deplete the existing reservoir of protein stored in the muscles. This causes a condition known as muscle wasting and reduces energy levels.
Individuals having troubles meeting their protein needs may want to consider using protein supplements. Made from soy or dairy sources, protein supplements come in a variety of forms including protein bars, protein powder (which you use to make into a drink) and already prepared protein shakes.
Using a protein supplement like All Natural Pure Liquid Egg Whites once in a while is a great way to make sure you keep up your protein intake. However, avoid using them as a daily meal replacement.
- Protein Intake Is Inversely Associated with Abdominal Obesity in a Multi-Ethnic Population; Anwar T. Merchant, Sonia S. Anand, Vlad Vuksan, Ruby Jacobs, Bonnie Davis, Koon Teo, Salim Yusuf. The American Society for Nutritional Sciences J. Nutr. 135:1196-1201, May 2005
- A High-Whey-Protein Diet Reduces Body Weight Gain and Alters Insulin Sensitivity Relative to Red Meat in Wistar Rats; Damien P. Belobrajdic, Graeme H. McIntosh, and Julie A. Owens; The American Society for Nutritional Sciences J. Nutr. 134:1454-1458, June 2004
- Protein (g) Content of Selected Foods per Common Measure, sorted alphabetically, USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 20, 2002. Retrieved 2010-05-11. http://www.ars.usda.gov/Main/docs.htm?docid=15869
- Protein: Nutrition Source, Harvard School of Public Health, http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/protein.html
- High-Protein Diets – Do they really help to lose weight? – by Dr. Katlen Zenmen, MPH, RD, LD, http://sites.google.com/site/weightlossfacts098/high-protien-diet