Importance of Protein in the Daily Diet

When attempting to lose weight, many people don’t seem to realize the importance of eating good quality, healthy foods, including complete proteins. Without sufficient protein, the body may break down faster than it can repair itself, eventually resulting in a lowered metabolism. This could be exasperated if an individual is exercising frequently in order to lose the weight. This does not mean it’s necessary to eat lots of protein, in fact eating little and often seems to be the best rule.

There are a few reasons why it’s important to maintain adequate protein intakes when following a weight loss diet.

  • Reduce the breakdown of lean muscle
    Excessive muscle breakdown often occurs when the body is on a restricted calorie diet. The more calories are restricted, the more lean weight we tend to lose. A slight calorie restriction coupled with a little weight training and an intake of a little good quality protein each day, should reduce lean weight muscle loss and maintain basic metabolism.
  • Importance of molecules in protein
    The building blocks of proteins are amino acids and of the 22 which make up protein, 8 are classed as essential. This means they must be provided in the daily diet. There are 2 essential amino acids which may encourage the body to burn body fat. These are:

    • Lysine
    • Methionine

    These both work together to produce another amino acid, Carnitine. It has been stated that Carnitine helps carry fatty acids from the blood into the cells to be burnt for energy. Enabling us to lose unwanted fat.

    Another essential amino acid Phenylalanine is used by the body to build Insulin and help regulate blood sugar levels. There is some scientific evidence which suggests that weight management is achieved much more quickly when there is a consistent control of blood sugar and insulin release. The G.I. diet plan is the popular way to lose weight by controlling blood sugar.

Protein intake requirement

As a practical, rough guide, protein should make up about 25 percent of the food on your plate, but may vary depending on individual requirements. Animal protein sources provide the best quality protein sources, but due to the sometimes high saturated fat content, it may not be best to supply all protein requirements from foods of animal origin. Plant protein can be just as good, especially if combined in the correct combinations to create complete proteins.

Another rough guide, is one gram of protein per kilogram of body weight. An example would be 70 grams per day for a male of 70kgs in weight (154 pounds or 11 stones). Remember though, this is a rough guide and may need to be changed for some individual circumstances. For more accurate guides seek advice from your doctor or a dietician!

It shouldn’t be necessary to take supplements of each individual amino acids, Lycine and Methionine, in order to gain benefits of fat burning. It would be much better to ensure an adequate, regular, intake of good quality protein sources from natural foods. A healthy balanced diet should provide all the necessary amino acids required for good health and fat burning potential.

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