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Protein and Weight Loss--the Truth Revealed

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C
an Protein Really Help You Lose Weight, Curb Your Appetite and Keep You From Eating Wasted Calories?

Yes! Protein has gained a great deal of attention in recent years and for good reason. While studies have shown that carbohydrates cause a swing in blood sugar (that signals the body to create body fat), protein actually helps to minimize your carbohydrate intake, thus minimizing how much fat your body is creating. Additional protein has also been shown to help some individuals lose weight by helping them feel more satisfied and therefore less tempted to snack on empty calories.

Proteins are essential to human life and participate in every process within our cells. Protein is found in your muscles, bones, skin, hormones, blood and enzymes. 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. There are two kinds of dietary protein -- complete and incomplete, Burns says. Animal and soy proteins are called "complete" proteins because they contain all nine essential amino acids. Plant products, including vegetables, nuts and legumes, are called "incomplete" proteins because they lack one or more essential amino acids, she says.

So, How Do You Calculate How Much Protein You Need On A Daily Basis?

Itís easy! To calculate your daily protein needs in grams, simply multiply your weight by 0.4 (for a 150-pound women, thatís 60 grams a day). Knowing this information will help you as you start to choose healthier alternatives for protein. Itís important to note that as you lose weight, be sure to recalculate your daily protein requirements. Because as you lose weight, your daily requirements will decrease.

With So Many Foods to Choose From, What Are the Best Choices for Protein?

While such foods as meat, milk, cheese and eggs are considered to be high in protein, unfortunately these foods are also high in fat and cholesterol. Therefore, itís important to choose your protein sources wisely. Some good choices include lean meats (such as skinless chicken or turkey and chuck or round ground beef) fish, lentils, beans and low-fat dairy products. In addition, fruits offer an excellent source of protein, plus a ton of nutrition for fewer calories. Try oranges, grapefruit, strawberries, bananas, and grapes. Fruit is also filled with fiber, which helps fill you up and keeps you feeling satisfied longer. So when you eat fruit, you have a win-win situation.

Healthy Alternatives, Do They Exist?

Yes! A perfect example is substituting a meal with a protein shake. Meal replacement shakes have become popular due to their convenience and quick preparation. Shakes are perfect addition to your morning schedule or for an on-the-go lunch. And the best part is if you choose a well balanced shake that is full of protein, you wonít experience those mid-morning hunger pains or afternoon cravings. A good protein shake should last you well until your next meal.

With so many shakes to choose from, itís important to look at the content label to ensure that a shake offers enough protein to help you meet your daily allotment. Often times protein shakes can also be high in other areas (sugar, carbohydrates, fats, etc.) or may not offer enough protein all together. So, before you buy any protein shake, check the label.

As you start to create a healthy balanced diet, remember to add the important element: protein. Be sure to choose protein sources that are healthy and beneficial such as lean meats, fish, beans, fruits and low-fat dairy. If you are consistent in choosing such high protein foods you may start to feel the weight fall off! Of course remember to try a meal replacement shake as well. Incorporating a shake into your diet is easy and they can often be very tasty. For suggestions on a great protein and fiber shake, be sure to check out the link below.

To your health!

Betsy Canevari






Betsy Canevari is co-author of: "30 Days to a Healthier You!" that can be found at Smart and Healthy Living.

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Smart and Healthy Living
For more information on healthy fiber and protein shakes visit the website.

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