Friday, June 4, 2010

The Importance of a Sensible Protein Diet While Trying to Lose Weight

Like many Americans, if you are concern about your weight and the diseases associated with weight-gain, choosing a sensible protein diet is a major step toward putting you on a weight-loss glide path without endangering your health.

Protein is an essential nutrient for maintaining good health. In its basic form protein consists of amino acid chains. Of the 22 amino acids that do create protein, 8 of these can only be obtained from a protein diet.

Because these amino acids are essential for proper body function a low protein diet can affect very important physiological activities in the body. For instance, the building of your skin, hair, nails and internals organs all depend on amino acids, and maintained by a balanced protein diet.

Muscle tissue as well as new tissue growth need protein for their activities and can receive adequate levels from a balanced protein diet. Protein helps to transport nutrients and oxygen to your cells, as well as aids in the maintenance and production of antibodies.

The protein sources for a balanced protein diet include animal and plant based proteins. Animal proteins are found in meat, fish, poultry, eggs, and diary products. They are called complete protein because they have all the essential amino acids the body needs.

Plant protein sources include  fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts and soy.  These are called incomplete protein because they lack one or more of essential amino acids. Therefore, those who rely mainly on plant based protein need to add protein supplements to their diet.

While animal based proteins are complete proteins, very high consumption of animal based protein diet could have adverse health effects in the form of disease and obesity. Individuals who eat very high animal based protein diet are often overweight and unhealthy. They also have elevated bad cholesterol levels.

Heart disease, strokes and osteoporosis are often the result of a high animal based protein diet. It is therefore important that you maintain a balanced protein diet. By substituting part of your animal protein diet with plant protein you can be sure that your body protein requirements are met without the health hazard associated with high intake of animal based protein.

Replacing saturated and trans fats with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats while on a balanced protein diet can improve your health immensely. Combined with regular exercise a moderate protein diet including both animal and plant based proteins help in weight control and optimal functioning of your body.

Plant based proteins have many benefits including raising good cholesterol levels while reducing bad cholesterol levels, help in preventing arterial plaque build up, which could cause artery hardening and blockages. Plant based protein like soy and spirulina are helpful in reducing the risk of strokes and heart attacks, as well as improving calcium retention in the body.

since less calcium is excreted in the urine while on a plant protein diet, problems such as kidney stones are lessened. For this and other reasons already mentioned, it is important to be mindful of the types of protein you eat leaning more toward a sensible combination of plant and animal based proteins, as both types of proteins are essential for maintaining a healthy weight and proper functioning of your body.

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