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The nutritional buzz within the walls of fitness centers and the media hype about high protein diets can have anyone pondering the benefits of protein and whether or not they are getting enough of it. Before you take a blind leap of faith onto the bandwagon and start chugging down protein shakes, understand how proteins work, which ones reap the most benefits, and whether or not a high protein diet is right for you.
Proteins are macronutrients that are responsible for various roles in your body's function and maintenance. These duties include the following:
These functions are carried out by amino acids, which are the molecules that make up protein. There are two groups of these amino acids. Ten of them belong to a group called nonessential amino acids, which are those that your body can produce. The second group includes an additional 10 called essential amino acids. Your body does not produce these crucial amino acids, so they must be obtained through dietary protein.
You body stores carbohydrates and fats, but it does not store protein. Since protein and the essential amino acids play critical roles in maintaining optimal health, it is imperative to consume protein every day. There are two types of protein food sources, which are classified as complete and incomplete proteins. Complete proteins are the foods that contain all 10 of the essential amino acids and include the following:
Incomplete proteins are the foods that are deficient in one or more of the essential amino acids and include the following:
Before you turn out a dozen fried eggs onto your daily breakfast plate and consume a bacon double cheeseburger sans bun with every lunch, it is imperative to remember that a nutritionally balanced diet consists of all major food groups. Proteins are vital, but you must also consume plenty of vegetables, some healthy, plant-based fats, fruits and complex, unprocessed carbohydrates daily to attain all of the nutrients that your body needs to function.
High Protein Diets for Weight Loss
High protein diets are popular among those attempting to achieve weight loss. Consuming a diet that is high in proteins and low in carbohydrates enables the dieter to feel satiated for longer periods, which in turn helps to curb cravings and overeating. However, when opting for proteins, be sure to consider the other components of the source. For example, bacon is high in unhealthy fat and sodium and should be used sparingly. Conversely, beans are high in fiber and salmon is high in healthy fats, and so these should not be restricted.
Weighing In On Protein Needs
The daily protein requirement varies from one person to another, based on such factors as an individual's gender, age, activity level, weight and overall state of health. In general, a healthy adult male should take in approximately 56 grams of protein daily, and healthy adult women who are not pregnant or nursing should take in roughly 46 grams. The daily caloric intake from proteins alone should range between 10 and 35 percent.
Individuals who benefit from a higher protein diet include the following:
Some individuals should take in fewer grams of protein daily, including those with the following health conditions:
There are several variations on the high protein-low carbohydrate diet, some of which can be unhealthy for anyone in the long run. Those that shun all carbohydrates, for example, can result in a medical condition known as ketosis. Before initiating any new diet, be sure to consult with your physician to determine the safest and most beneficial amount of protein that you should include in your daily nutrition plan.
To consult with a physician, contact a doctor's office such as Valley Medical Care.