The power of protein and fat for fat loss
BY WENDY M. HENRICHS
Chiropractic Pediatrician and nutrition counselor
Do you feel like your diet is not resulting in fat loss? If you’re not following a high-protein, low-starch and moderate good-fat diet, it will be a challenge to get the results you’re after. A high-protein diet can result in two to three times quicker weight loss versus diets that are high in starchy carbohydrates of the same caloric value. Protein helps increase lean muscle mass which can have a direct effect on your metabolism. High-protein foods also have a thermic effect in that protein takes more energy to burn off versus other foods. In other words, eating protein increases your metabolism as does building muscle. If you’re feeling hungry between meals and craving sugar, you could be experiencing a protein shortage.
Protein makes you feel satisfied, but not necessarily full. Eating protein has been shown to decrease appetite between meals and reduce food intake. To keep hunger reduced during the day, be sure to eat protein with every meal and snack. A small serving of 20 to 30 grams, depending on your needs, is plenty to keep appetite away. Eating good fats does not cause increased fat storage. Fat is critical when it comes to brain and nervous system function, cell membrane repair, and hormone development. Eating a high-protein, moderate-fat diet can help preserve muscle and switch the body to burn off fat. Here are some ways to increase protein and good fats in your diet.
Eggs: Whole eggs are considered a perfect food because they are high in protein, provide a good source of fats and deliver essential vitamins and minerals. They also provide a source of cholesterol, which is important when it comes to your muscle building. Cholesterol is the base fat needed to make and balance hormones including testosterone. In one 12-week study, those who ate a high-protein, high-egg diet including whole eggs experienced greater weight loss and preserved more muscle versus a lower protein diet. Eggs can be eaten so many ways. You can eat them for breakfast or for your last meal of the day, eat them in omelets, protein pancakes or try them on a salad.
Organic, grass-fed meats: Red meat is packed with protein – 100 grams of tenderloin has about 26 grams of protein. Red meat is naturally high in essential muscle-building vitamins and minerals, including B vitamins, zinc and iron. It is also high in the muscle-energizing nutrient creatine. Creatine helps the body re-generate ATP or muscle energy. It has been shown in numerous studies that creatine helps build muscle, increases strength, power and endurance. Choose organic red meats when you can as organic meats do not contain the hormones and pesticides that may alter your hormone balance and your metabolism over time. Bison and wild game are other great sources of red meat. Eat red meat a few times per week if your goal is to build muscle and be leaner.
Whey protein: You may not be a fan of protein powders, but it’s hard to ignore the benefits in whey protein. It delivers one of the highest biological values meaning that all the protein that is being consumed is getting utilized and absorbed by the body. Whey protein also provides all the essential amino acids, including the branched-chain amino acids critical to muscle building. Research has shown that whey protein can play a key role in stimulating protein synthesis to a greater extent than plant proteins such as soy protein. Whey protein is a convenient way to increase your protein intake. Read the labels to avoid protein powders with added sugars.
Avocados: Avocados are full of good fats. They provide a good source of monounsaturated fats, which will keep your hunger at bay. Avocados are also a source of glutathione. Glutathione is a powerful antioxidant involved in healing and recovery. They are also a great source of potassium – a mineral that gets used up during your workout. Eat avocadoes with your breakfast (with an egg or two), have them on salads or make guacamole for a side to your veggies or meat.
Nuts and nut butters: Nuts are another source of good fats. They also contain minerals and trace minerals. The good fats in nuts and nut butters will keep you satisfied. The larger the nut, the less you can eat. For example, the serving size for Brazil nuts is one or two nuts whereas pistachios the serving is a quarter-cup. Two tablespoons of any nut butter on celery sticks or sliced apple is an easy and satisfying snack.
If you are not achieving your fat loss goals, you may be lacking protein and good fats. Decrease your starchy foods and add more protein and good fats into your diet. You will see the results.
Dr. Wendy Henrichs is a board certified chiropractor and nutrition counselor at Timber Land Chiropractic in Rhinelander. For a complimentary chiropractic, nutrition or lifestyle counseling consultation, visit TimberlandChiropractic.com, Facebook, or call 715-362-4852.