Getting enough Protein

I hope that you have had a chance to study all of the data that MyFitnesspal generates as you enter what you have eaten each day. Did you know you can actually change what nutrients are tracked by going to the settings tab? It is good to change these out once in awhile so that you can monitor all of the various nutrients that are important to good health.

This week we are going to look more closely at one of these nutrient categories- PROTEIN. Protein is vital for building muscle and it can also help you lose weight. Current research shows that high-protein diets outshine low-protein diets when it comes to both building muscle and fat loss. No matter your age or background, meat-eater or vegetarian, protein is a must-have for healthy, sustainable weight loss.
Here's why protein is crucial when losing weight, and how you can make sure you're getting enough!

The Case For Protein
   1. A high-protein diet provides the building blocks (amino  acids) your body needs to maintain and build muscle and while I don’t imagine any of us are trying to build Popeye style muscles, muscle mass is crucial during fat loss! The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn throughout the day. Muscle also enables you to engage in more physical activity, which in turn burns more calories.
   2. When you eat calories in the form of protein, your body burns through as much as 20-35 percent of those calories in the process of digestion. This is called the "thermic effect" of food (TEF). That is far more than the 5 percent of calories burned by fat or the 5-15 percent required for carbs.
3. Studies have also shown that a high-protein diet helps         suppress appetite and may be easier to stick with than other diets. You have probably noticed how quickly you feel hungry again after eating carbohydrates and how long you feel full after a high protein meal.
4. Protein may also help you with your weight-loss efforts by supporting healthy blood glucose levels, further helping you control hunger and feel clear-headed and functional, even when your calories might be relatively low

How much Protein do you need?
To get adequate protein you don't have to follow the stereotypical bodybuilder's diet—i.e., shakes and chicken breast three times a day. Getting adequate protein in your diet means you're consuming between 0.6-1.0 grams of protein for every pound you weigh. To put that another way, protein should make up about 25-45 percent of your daily caloric intake.

You should lean toward the higher end of that range if you're training on a regular basis, are fairly lean (less than 20% body fat for a female or 10 percent for a male), or are cutting calories more aggressively, such as 20 percent or more below your normal caloric intake.

You can shoot more toward the lower end of the range if you're not training regularly, have a higher body-fat percentage (more than 20% body fat for a female or 10% for a male), or are cutting calories more conservatively (less than 20 percent reduction from maintenance needs).

What Are The Best Sources Of Protein?
The best food sources of protein for fat loss are nutrient-rich and "complete." This means they contain all the essential amino acids in adequate amounts. It's also worth prioritizing proteins that are easily digested and fully absorbed in the body.
1 . Eggs
3 . Grass-fed beef, bison, and game meats
4 . Fish and seafood, especially wild salmon, wild cod, mackerel, sardines, shrimp, mussels, scallops, oysters, and tilapia
5 . Chicken and poultry
You may have heard that most plant-based protein sources aren't "complete," but that's not a difficult hurdle to overcome. They can still provide you with all of the necessary amino acids if you consume complementary, plant-based proteins. To maximize fat loss, choose plant-based sources that have the most protein per calorie and which provide the combination of amino acids your body needs.
 Good sources of plant protein include:
2 . Soy products like tempeh and tofu
3 . Seitan, textured vegetable protein (TVP), veggie burgers and dogs
4 . Beans, lentils, and peas
5 . Whole grains like bulgur, quinoa, and wheat
6 . Seeds like chia, hemp, pumpkin, squash, and sunflower

Spread your protein as evenly as you can throughout your meals to maintain continuous absorption and protein synthesis. And when possible, try to choose the most minimally processed protein sources available.

For this week I would like you to track your daily protein intake and for every day myfitnesspal tabulates that you have eaten enough protein you can claim your 5 daily bonus points.

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