Many fitness plans, weight loss plans, and healthy eating regimes talk about the importance of getting enough protein in your diet, and many also refer to protein shakes as a method of increasing your daily protein intake.
The guilt-free plan at the WST Community promotes getting your daily requirement of protein from food sources, as opposed to shakes or protein bars, ensuring you get your nutrition from real food that is satisfying as well as healthy.
Food sources that contain good amounts of protein include: red meat, poultry, pork, fish, eggs, cottage cheese, legumes such as beans and lentils, as well as nuts and seeds.
But why do we bother making sure we get enough protein in our diet?
Research has shown that consuming a diet higher in protein provides a host of health benefits, including:
Enhanced weight-loss and accelerated fat-loss
Reduction in fat stored around the belly or middle
Protection and assistance in building calorie-burning muscle
Prevention of weight regain after weight-loss
Boosting your metabolic rate and reducing fluid retention
Increasing satiety and improving appetite control
A diet higher in protein has been proven to help keep us fuller for longer by releasing a hormone called leptin, which lowers triglyceride levels to allow the leptin to reach the brain quicker, which triggers the sense of feeling full.
Triglycrides are a type of fat in the blood. When we eat more food than our body can burn, this is then turned into triglycerides, which increases the risk of heart disease. Protein is vital to help reduce these levels, to not just to help us feel fuller, but to help reduce the levels of fat in the blood
Metabolism is the process of breaking down the nutrients we get from our foods to get the energy our body needs in order to maintain itself. Protein requires more energy (almost double) for digestion and so you actually burn more calories while trying to digest it, this is called the thermic effect.
By eating a protein breakfast you are waking up your liver and giving it something to do. The liver is the metabolic factory of your body, so by eating a protein breakfast you are waking up your liver, and boosting your metabolism.
A high protein breakfast can increase your metabolic rate by 30% for as long as 12 hours, which is the calorie-burning equivalent of a 3-5 mile jog. Eating 2 eggs for breakfast has been shown to boost weight loss by 65% compared to the same amount of calories from carbohydrates, such as a bagel.
A higher protein diet has a natural diuretic effect. Individuals with extra weight are often holding extra water. This not only makes their blood pressure go up as their heart tries to push harder to move the stagnation, but the extra water in tissues also gets directly in the way of fat burning. When you eat a higher protein diet, an important blood protein called albumin will increase, and as it increases, it draws water back out of your tissues, thus helping get rid of fluid retention.
Now we know how important protein is in our diet, how much of it do we need?
The government suggests that 10% of our calorie intake should come from protein, however evidence suggests that protein levels a lot higher than this recommendation is needed for optimal weight loss, with around 25% of our calorie intake coming from protein foods.
It is also highly recommended that you do not consume your entire protein intake during one meal. Instead it should be spread throughout your daily meals, and should also be taken in combination with other foods to ensure an adequate intake of nutrients, which will all work together with your protein intake in the healthiest way possible for your body’s requirements and optimal weight loss.
For more healthy eating and weight loss tips, find your local WST Community at www.wstcommunity.co.uk