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Protein In The Diet -- A Key To Healthy Weight Loss

Boost your metabolism with protein in the diet

human figure appears to be flying
  • You really can rev up your metabolism with a "protein boost." But how?
  • Here's how it works: Try to lose some weight with a low-calorie, low-protein diet.
  • What happens? You cannibalize your own muscle for energy. That's your lean mass. You burn it up. Gone.
  • You end up weak and hungry. After that your metabolism is shot.
  • And as far as losing weight... you're done.
  • You've been through that before -- on those fad diets -- and now it gets harder and harder for you to lose weight.

The fat and the lean

See, there is fat mass and there is lean mass. You have a lot of stored fat -- that's the fat mass. And then there is your lean body mass, and the lean body mass is water and blood and bones and muscle -- whatever is not fat. And that's where the protein is.

If you have a lot of muscle you have lean mass. And if you have lean mass you have high metabolism, because the muscle has high metabolism and muscle burns up calories.

And if you had a whole lot of muscle you'd have a screaming high metabolism and could probably eat whatever you want and not gain weight. (Sigh.)

"Protein helps satiety, so you're more likely to stay on your diet."

Osama Hamdy

Low protein diet

So on the low protein weight loss diet you burn up your lean mass, and your metabolism goes into the dumpster. And then what?

Well, after that you can't burn up calories. So you can't eat or you gain weight. And if a miracle occurs and you do lose a few pounds you just gain it back. You don't want that.

So what do you do? You get some protein in your diet -- and that means some protein at every meal and every snack.

How? It takes a little planning. But the good news -- it doesn't take willpower, because you get protein in the diet from foods you like.

Daily protein requirement

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There's a huge debate about the daily protein requirement. More protein. Less protein. MORE! LESS! Lots of people want to tell you how much protein you need.

What do the scientists say? The National Academy of Sciences in the United States publishes the Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA). The RDA for protein is 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight per day. That is about 0.4 grams of protein per pound of body weight per day.

So what does that mean in English? It means if you weigh 200 pounds you should get about 70 grams of protein in the diet per day.

Is that the ideal protein diet?

Let's look at this. Seventy grams of protein is 280 calories. And you say, "So what?"

Well, here's the "so what": Let's say you eat 2400 calories every day. Those calories are going to be protein calories. Or carbohydrate calories. Or fat calories.

That's it. There are no other choices.

And if you eat 280 calories of protein, that means that you are going to eat 2120 calories of fat and carbohydrate.

So pick one. Fat? Carbohydrate? That is a lot of fat. And that is a lot of carbohydrate.

"Spiders are relatively high in protein, but they tickle."

Kehlog Albran

Function of protein

Does fat speed up your metabolism? No. Does carbohydrate speed up your metabolism? No.

Can you make fat into muscle? No. Can you make carbohydrate into muscle? No.

How can you make fat and carbohydrate into enzymes? No.

How about antibodies to fight off infection? No.

These are all functions of protein -- critical functions that are the basis of strength and health and longevity.

Minimum protein requirements

So are the scientists wrong? Not really. Those recommendations (0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight) are enough if you're:

  • not active
  • not sick
  • not under stress
  • and not trying to lose weight.

Well, OK. So "not active" is common. But you tell me, in this day and age, how many people aren't either sick, under stress or trying to lose weight?

More likely it's sick AND under stress AND trying to lose weight. That's if you include diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease under the "sick" heading. Sad to say.

When more protein in the diet is needed

But experience has shown that this 0.8 mg per kilogram of protein in the diet is not enough for people who are working to become lean and strong. It is not enough for you if you are losing weight. Strong bodies need protein.
  • If you are working hard you need more protein.
  • If you are pregnant you need more protein.
  • If you are growing you need more protein.
  • If you are under stress you need more protein.

A realistic recommendation

So what should you do? You should shoot for 30-35% of calories from protein in the diet. If you want a calculator to do the math for you, click here for a daily protein, fat and carbohydrate calculator.

Take the same example -- a 2400 calorie diet -- that would be 720 calories from protein. That is 180 grams of protein per day.

Eat that and you'll be stronger and leaner and you'll lose weight faster and more easily. And you can keep it off.

The danger of protein!!!

You might read or hear that, "Too much protein is dangerous." That can be scary if it's true. So, is it true? No. Not if you eat right.

Let me give you an example. The American Heart Association says that eating higher protein can be harmful. Here's what they say:

  • They say that if you eat higher protein you will eat too much fat -- see, some protein food has a lot of fat. But choose lean protein and you won't have that problem.
  • They say that you won't get enough vitamins because high protein diets limit the amount of vitamin rich foods. But that won't happen if you eat your veggies.
  • They say you won't get fiber. But you can eat plenty of protein and still get lots of fiber. And eating fiber makes it easier to lose weight.

Health problems and protein

Unless you have certain health problems you can eat protein. What health problems? Well, are you on kidney dialysis? No?

Did your liver transplant surgeon tell you not to eat protein? No? Then you can eat protein without any problem.

So eat your protein. You will lose more weight. And it will be easier for you. Won't that be nice?

"The average size of a meat protein should be about the size of a deck of cards, not a roulette wheel, ... Get a burrito the size of a bar of soap -- not a torpedo."

Alex Jamieson

Where to start:

There is a lot of information on this site. The links below will get you off to a good start.

Most popular pages:

These are some of our most popular pages. They are also some of the most helpful if you are finally ready to lose weight.

You can always reach us:

  • 28960 US Highway 19 North, Suite 115
  • Clearwater, FL 33761
  • (727) 771-8282

  • Or to use our contact form click here.

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