Weight Loss Strategies - Dont Overlook Your Proteins

by : Kalvin C. Chinyere, M.D.

In the 80's fats were vilified. Then in the 90's carbohydrates were vilified. So, now the heroes are proteins. Everyday there is a new diet or weight loss program that encourages you to eat more protein. That makes sense because the more proteins you eat, the less carbohydrates and fats you will eat.

I do not prescribe very high protein diets because they are expensive to maintain. They also limit the amount of "good" carbs and "good" fats you consume. However, proteins are a very important part of any healthy nutrition plan and they should not be overlooked.

What Are Proteins

Proteins are composed of amino acids. Amino acids are compounds of nitrogen, carbon, oxygen, hydrogen, and sulfur.

Protein Balance

Eating or drinking an adequate amount is very important for two reasons. The first reason is proteins provide you with an adequate amount of essential amino acids. The second reason is because your body does not store protein.

Essential Amino Acids

There are twenty different amino acids that are found within proteins. Ten of them can be created within your body and ten of them must be consumed. The amino acids that must be consumed are called essential amino acids.

Protein Storage

Your body stores carbohydrates in the form of glycogen in your liver and your muscles. Your body stores fats in fat cells all around your body. However, your body does not store proteins.

If you eat too much protein, your body will turn the protein into fat. If you do not eat enough protein, your body will begin to break down. It is crucial that you eat the right amount of protein each and every day.

Complete vs. Incomplete Proteins

Proteins from animals and soy beans have all ten of the essential amino acids. These are called complete proteins.

Proteins from most plants do not have all ten of the essential amino acids. These are called incomplete proteins. If you do not eat meat or soy, you must eat a variety of plant based proteins in order to get all of your essential amino acids.

When people go on a diet they become human calculators. They count calories, grams of carbohydrates, and/or grams of fats. They often overlook proteins. However, if you want to lose weight and keep it off, you must pay attention to the quantity and quality of the proteins you are eating.