Obesity is an increasing health concern for many people. With the myriad of diet plans on the market that promise to help you lose weight, it can be difficult for an obese person to determine how to eat. The importance of protein may be overlooked since people tend to focus more on reducing calories or eating only fruits and vegetables for quick weight-loss. However, protein is an essential part of a healthy diet plan and may assist obese people in weight-loss.
Muscle Growth and Maintenance
Protein is an essential nutrient needed in the body for the growth, maintenance and repair of muscle and body tissues. Inadequate levels of protein combined with a lower calorie intake may lead to decreased muscle mass and wasting. When losing weight, it is important to develop lean muscle mass and decrease fat intake. Muscle has a higher metabolic rate than fat, meaning that you will burn more calories at rest and increase potential fat burn.
Protein may assist in weight loss by preventing over-eating habits that lead to excess weight and possible obesity. Eating foods high in sugar and simple carbs typically leaves you hungry shortly after and reaching for more foods that are high in sugar and fat for quick satisfaction. In contrast, protein stabilizes blood sugar levels and prevents sudden spikes and falls in hunger and energy levels. This prevents your from taking in excess calories or binging.
Protein is an essential nutrient required in any healthy diet plan. In addition to aiding in muscle growth and repair, it is needed for other normal processes occurring in the body. Specifically, it aids in cell growth for healthy bones, skin, nails and hair. Restricting other nutrients such as carbs on low-carb diets is also not an effective weight-loss method. If this occurs, the body will often have to use protein as an energy source which compromises its ability to perform its own necessary functions. Be sure to eat a well-rounded diet that includes complex carbohydrates, produce, protein and healthy fats. It is imperative that you select lean proteins as part of your diet plan and avoid sources that are also high in saturated fats such as fatty cuts of meat. Healthy options include poultry, lean beef, eggs, fish and nuts.
The recommended amounts of protein ranges widely between 10 to 35 percent of your daily total caloric intake. Values are affected by several factors including weight, height, age, gender and physical activity levels. Typically, men and people that are more active may need to take in higher amounts of protein. However, people with serious health conditions such as kidney or liver disease need to eat lower amounts of protein. Be sure to speak with your physician and a dietitian to determine a healthy diet plan that meets your individual needs.
- "Complete Idiot's Guide To Total Nutrition", 4th Edition; Joy Bauer, M.S., R.D., C.D.N.; 2005
- "The Protein Power Lifeplan"; Michael R. Eades and Mary Dan Eades; 2001