There are many diets out there that promote weight loss, but do not provide nearly enough protein, something that we all need a certain amount of each and every day in order to be healthy. A lot of people think that foods that are high in protein are terrible for weight loss and do whatever they can to avoid them. This is actually quite unhealthy. There are all kinds of protein rich foods that are diet friendly and must be included in your diet if you want to lose weight the healthy way. Without them, you will not be able to have strong healthy muscles, which are vital in your weight loss program.
Protein is one of three macronutrients that we all need in order to survive. The other two macronutrients are carbohydrates and fats. Even though you are trying to lose weight and most diets shun carbohydrates and fats, the ones that are not on diets are the bad carbohydrates (simple) and fats (saturated). We all need to have good carbohydrates, which are complex carbohydrates, and good fats, which are polyunsaturated and monounsaturated.
Carbohydrates – We need carbohydrates, because they are the main source of energy for our bodies. There are other energy sources that the body can use, but the brain is only able to get energy from carbohydrates. There are two types of carbohydrates, simple and complex and it important to get the complex carbs rather than the simple ones, which come from white sugar and flour. Simple carbs are the carbohydrates that can cause spikes in blood sugar levels, which causes the liver to tell the pancreas to send too much insulin to the body. Simple carbs are stored as fat rather than burned as energy. This causes hunger signals and can lead to obesity. Complex carbohydrates do not cause these blood sugar spikes, because they are broken down more slowly by the liver. Some of the complex carbohydrate foods that are great for weight loss diets and great tasting include whole grains, such as breads and pastas.
Fats – Even if you are on a weight loss diet, it is still important that you have a certain amount of good fats in your diet. Fat is the second source of energy for the body, next to carbohydrates, which are also important, but it is broken down easier than carbohydrates. Bad fats, or hydrogenated fats, are fats that become solid at room temperature, while good fats have omega 3 fatty acids and are actually healthy for your heart. Some excellent dietary sources of good fats are oils (especially olive oil), nuts, and avocados.
Protein – Protein is another source of energy and plays a role in just about every function of the body. Our hair and fingernails are even made from protein. There are two sources of protein, plants and animals. Animal proteins contain all of the essential amino acids, while plant proteins do not, with the exception of soy. Protein is an important part of our diets and should make up about 35% of our daily caloric intake, according to the American Heart Association. Too much protein can actually do more harm than good, so it is recommended that the daily amount be no more than this. When we eat protein-rich foods, we also benefit in our diets, because it helps us to feel fuller longer. And it helps to repair muscles following workouts.
Good Sources of Protein for Weight Loss Diets
When it comes to getting the right proteins in our diets, it is necessary that they come from lean, low fat, animal sources and plants (fruits and vegetables). With the exception of soy, plant proteins are incomplete proteins, because they do not have all of the essential amino acids, but when two or more are eaten in combination, you can get the protein you need. Some excellent sources of plant-based protein include soy, grains, nuts, legumes, and seeds. Animal proteins, which are all complete proteins, include meat (lean), fish, dairy, and eggs, which are considered to be the perfect source of protein (but those who are allergic to eggs need to get their protein from other sources).
Getting the Protein You Need From Supplements
There are many different types of protein supplements you can get. One of the most popular types is protein powder, which is probably the most versatile of all the protein supplements available on the market today. There are four main types of proteins used in these supplements: whey, soy, rice, and egg and some supplements may contain one or more of these proteins, depending on which type you decide to get.
The most common type of protein used in supplements is whey, for a number of reasons. Whey is the least expensive of the protein supplements, and it is a complete protein, meaning that it contains all eight of the essential amino acids and all 14 of the non-essential amino acids. Because whey is a milk derivative, a byproduct from the cheese-making process, it may not be the best protein supplement for those who are lactose intolerant, or who have allergies to milk and milk products. Liquid protein supplements are also quite popular and they can be purchased in pre-made shakes and smoothies that are portable and easy to take anywhere. Other people enjoy the many different protein snacks that are available, including bars that taste just like chocolate bars and can eliminate binging on sweet treats and ruining your diet. For those of you who enjoy salty snacks, there are also some really tasty protein jerky snacks you can get.
No matter what type of weight loss diet you are on and no matter what kind of dietary supplements you are considering using to help with your diet, it is important to discuss your diet with a physician, nutritionist, or dietitian first. You need to make sure that you are going to be getting enough of the right nutrients with a diet that is low calorie enough for weight loss. This way, you will get help in planning a diet that is healthy and will help you reach your weight loss goals.