Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Is Getting Enough Protein the Key to Weight Loss?

After three incredibly indulgent days in New Orleans, I am focused on temperance and moderation.  I might have had about a dozen souffle potatoes from Antoine's on Sunday.  Might.  
antoine's souffle potatoes
Antoine's Souffle Potatoes
As I plan my meals for the week, protein and greens are a key component of them.   Apparently, not enough protein could be one of they key reasons why we overeat. 

An Australian study found that the instinctive appetite for protein in humans is so strong that people will keep eating until their bodies tell them they have had enough of it.  The problem tends to be in that we eat too much crap before we will fill up on protein. 

The University of Sydney's Charles Perkins Centre determined that as we eat foods high in carbohydrates, fats and sugar, we reduce the amount of protein we consume.  The New Zealand Herald examines the findings published in Obesity Reviews
grilled chicken
Courtesy: Beck's Prime
"We found that regardless of your age or body mass index, your appetite for protein is so strong that you will keep eating until you get enough protein, which could mean eating much more than you should,' said lead author Dr Alison Gosby.

When you consume things like soft drinks, which are fairly low in proportion of protein but high in calories, your energy intake will increase because you'll need to keep eating to get the protein you need,' Dr Gosby said."

Think about it, when you eat a lunch full of starches and sugars featuring potatoes, bread and cookies, you're not fully satiated.  You're likely to be reaching for that mid-afternoon snack.  

Worried about the expense of proteins like meat, fish or poultry?  Try less expensive sources such as beans, eggs, nut butters and tofu. 

lentil kale & sweet potato soup
Lentil, kale & sweet potato soup
It's easy to get protein at every meal.  Consider this: 

  • An egg or two at breakfast.  Worried about fat and cholesterol?  Try egg whites.  Short on time, hard boil a batch of eggs on Sunday to last you throughout the week.  Out on eggs?  Try some Greek yogurt. 
  • Add a tablespoon of peanut butter to your apple for a snack or pair that apple with a piece of string cheese. 
  • Have a veggie burger or put a protein like chicken, turkey, lean steak, canned tuna or salmon on your lunchtime salad. 
  • For dinner, make a big pot of veggie soup featuring lentils.  I'm partial to my lentil, kale and sweet potato soup.  Prepare a batch of chicken breasts for the week to have for dinner every night.   
Getting enough protein doesn't have to be expensive or time-consuming.  It's really quite simple and worth the effort when you consider the payoff. 
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