Monday, February 7, 2011

Why Protein Is An Essential Part Of Any Diet

By Jim Duffy

You see them in all kinds of magazines. You hear people talking about them around the water cooler at work. There are hundreds of fad diets out there, and guess what? None of them work. Oh sure, you may lose a bit of weight, but more often than not, that weight is just going to come back, with a few additional pounds for good measure. The most sensible way to lose weight is to just eat properly. It is easy to follow a healthy, well-balanced diet, and there are all kinds of great-tasting foods that you can incorporate into a healthy diet.

An essential part of any diet is protein. Protein is necessary for survival, provides a natural source of energy and helps to build strong muscles. Our hair and skin are made from protein, and it is a nutrient for all of the cells in our bodies. Not enough protein in the diet can lead to a number of serious health issues and can add complications to existing health conditions. But as important as it is to have enough protein in our diets, too much may actually do more harm than good.

The body needs a certain amount of protein. According to the American Heart Association, protein should make up 35 percent of our daily caloric intake. If the body does not get the protein it needs, it will send signals to the brain that it is hungry, which is not good for dieters, because they will want to eat all the time. Eating snacks that are rich in protein or using protein supplements will help to suppress your appetite, which is essential for losing weight and maintaining your weight loss.

How Much Protein Do You Need in Your Diet?

We need different amounts of protein at different stages of our lives. For example, babies need quite a bit of protein, about 2.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. But an adult bodybuilder only needs as much as 1.6 grams. The best way to figure out how much protein you should be getting in your diet is to follow this formula:

The first thing you need to do is convert your body weight from pounds to kilograms. Just divide your body weight in pounds by 2.2. Take the resulting number and divide it by one of the following numbers:

- .4 if you are inactive

- .5-.8 if you are somewhat active, such as a 30 minute workout, three times per week

- .8-1 if you are very active, such as working out 30 to 60 minutes at least four times each week

If you are a healthy person in general and have some knowledge about nutrition, you should be able to come up with a healthy diet plan on your own. It is important to remember that before beginning any type of diet, you should consult your physician first. There may be conditions that you have that require you to have certain foods in your diet. You can also speak with a nutritionist or a dietitian.

If you are going to start a diet, a healthy plan includes 50 percent carbohydrates, 35 percent proteins and 15 percent fats. Although many of today's popular diets recommend eating fewer carbohydrates, it is important that some are included in everyone's diet, but they do need to be the right kinds of carbohydrates. For example, simple carbohydrates digest quickly and cause huge surges by raising blood sugar levels. Complex carbohydrates are what you need in your diet. These carbohydrates are slower to digest and do not negatively affect blood sugar levels.

Eating Healthy and Using Protein Supplements

When you eat snacks that are high in protein, you will not have the urge to have more snacks later on. You will feel more satisfied and not feel the urge to eat unnecessarily. Some high-protein snacks that are great for diets and taste great are:

- 2 cups of popcorn with trail mix

- cup of fiber-rich cereal, mixed with non-fat Greek yogurt

- 1 ounce of baked potato chips with two tablespoons of bean dip

Another great-tasting snack that is extremely high in protein is milk. Non-fat is best for dieters, and low-fat chocolate milk is great too. It has all the same nutrients as white milk not much more fat and calories. It is delicious, and not only will you get the protein that you need, you can also satisfy your sweet tooth in a healthy way. Some people suggest drinking low-fat milk, while other studies say that whole-fat milk is best for diets. Speak to your physician or nutritionist for more information.

Another way that you can get the protein you need in your diet without having to eat a lot is by using protein supplements. There are a number of varieties available, and many come in pre-mixed drinks, which are portable and can be taken along anywhere. Some of the more popular protein supplements include:

Protein Powders - These are the most versatile of all of the protein supplements. They come in a variety of delicious flavors, including chocolate, vanilla, berry and fruit punch, and can be used to make great-tasting smoothies and shakes. They are also available in flavorless forms and can be added to just about any recipe.

Liquid Proteins - Liquid protein supplements are very popular because they are often available in a ready-to-drink form. One of the more popular liquid protein supplements on the market today is Profect, by Protica. This little shot provides 25 grams of protein per 2.9 fluid ounces of serving and only contains 100 calories. Profect is low in calories, carbohydrates and fats, and it comes in a number of delicious flavors, including Blue Raspberry, Fresh Citrus Berry, Grapefruit-Mango and Cool Melon Splash.

Protein Bars - These are delicious, protein-packed snacks that can also serve as meal replacements. Protein bars come in a number of flavors, including chocolate, and often have nuts and other great-tasting ingredients.

Protica Research (Protica, Inc.) specializes in the development of Capsulized Foods. Protica manufactures IsoMetric, Pediagro, Fruitasia and over 100 other brands, including Medicare-approved, whey protein supplements for weight loss surgery patients. You can learn more at
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