Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Is Protein the Key to Weight Loss?

Did you know that up to a third of women between the ages of 20 and 40 don't get their RDA of protein, according to the most recent data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture?  And in light of the fact that a growing number of nutritionists believe that the current dietary guidelines for this mighty macronutrient are way too low, we're really missing out.

A Johns Hopkins University study found that a diet in which roughly a quarter of the calories (about 60 percent more than the recommended 10 to 15 percent) come from lean protein sources reduced blood pressure, LDL ("bad") cholesterol levels, and triglycerides better than a traditional higher-carb diet. Other research finds that diets rich in protein can help prevent obesity, osteoporosis, and diabetes.
Will eating more protein also help you to lose weight?  Maybe.

Nutritional ecologist David Raubenheimer has been studying the eating habits of apes and monkeys and concludes that, surprise, high-protein diets could aid weight loss after all. The behavior of our primate relatives hints that when it comes to weight loss, we’re better off boosting our protein intake instead of counting calories.
Raubenheimer and a team of researchers observed baboons in the wild. They found that no matter what and how much they ate, the monkeys consistently consumed 20 percent of their food in protein.

“This suggests that baboons value getting the right balance of nutrients over energy intake per se,” he said in a statement from the Society for Experimental Biology. This means no energy or calorie counting—just absorbing the right proportions of nutrients.
"A simple rule for healthy eating is to avoid processed foods,” Raubenheimer said. “No human population has until recently encountered ultra-processed foods made from industrially extracted sugars, starches and salt. Our bodies and appetites are not adapted to biscuits, cakes, pizzas, and sugary drinks and we eat too much of them at our peril.”

Need a portable, protein-packed snack?  Try these ideas:

·    Energy Bars (1 bar = 10 to 12 grams).  Pack a few Luna protein bars (190 calories, 12 grams protein) or Honey Stinger protein bars (190 calories, 10 grams protein) in your bag.

·    Hard-Boiled Eggs (1 egg = 6 grams).  Cook a dozen, stick them in the fridge, and grab one when you need a high-protein snack or want to add protein to a meal.  Or, buy Eggland's Best hard-cooked peeled eggs. Because Eggland's hens are fed organic grain, their eggs have 10 times more vitamin E and three times more omega-3 fatty acids than other brands.

·    String Cheese (1 stick = 8 grams).  Pair some low-fat string cheese (80 calories each) with an apple and a few crackers for a filling snack that will easily hold you over until your next meal.

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