Did the title to this article catch your interest? I thought it would! As of late we are always hearing talk of two main approaches to dieting, namely the high carbohydrate diet and the high protein diet. But what about fat? And what role can it play while we are losing weight?
Contrary to popular myths our bodies need fat. Now don’t get me wrong. As I have mentioned in other articles too much of anything is bad but we can, and do, lean to one macro-nutrient over another. As well as breaking down the vitamins A, D, E, and K (fat soluble vitamins) we also need fat for energy purposes. At the same time it would be wise to consume carbs and proteins as well. Any diet where either carbs, proteins or fats are significantly raised or lowered is not a healthy one. Our bodies need all of these in order to work properly. We can tend to lean more strongly towards one or another but we shouldn’t forsake the rest. Each have their own functions as well as positives and negatives.
This diet would benefit those who have weak will power or who don’t have the time or patience to prepare too many meals. It is good if you are only used to eating 3 times a day. This diet is also beneficial for eating out whether in restaurants, at relatives, or at parties and socials.
One characteristic of fat is that it makes you full longer therefore making you feel more satisfied. You will not have to eat as many times (in terms of real food) to keep your metabolism going and you will still feel okay. You can either use homemade ‘shakes’ or use food supplements in order to keep the number of times you take in calories constant. Taking in calories a minimum of four times daily will keep your metabolism going and the body will be less likely to store the food you take in as fat.
Obviously there is a catch…you know the saying, if anything is too good to be true it probably is. The catch is that these meals still have to be figured into your daily caloric intake or else eventually the inevitable will happen. But the good news is that this variation gives you the illusion of a greater food intake. The more you study fitness and nutrition the more you can manipulate variables or natural laws in your flavor.
As an example, say you want to eat only 3 times a day but you want to take in calories 5 times a day in total. So your first meal would be real food, say a few peanut butter sandwiches. Okay, so you have eaten that and two hours roll around so it’s time for another meal. You can either eat or have some kind of replacement as I mentioned earlier. An example of a quick replacement would be a protein bar (chocolate flavor, yum!) or possibly a homemade shake. How would you make this shake? Just take 8 ounces of skim milk, add 4 heaping tablespoons of skim milk powder to thicken it and finally a bit of chocolate syrup for flavor! This drink provides approximately 200 calories which is not much but enough to keep your metabolism going. And this also leaves room for greater food consumption!
In summary this diet is great for those with higher cholesterol levels and don’t want to take the risks of eating a higher protein diet. You mostly have to watch your dairy products, things like butter, ice cream etc. Basically when it comes down to it food is food. No matter how it is broken down and/or used by the body if you eat too much…well, you know!
Protein And Its Role In A Healthy Lifestyle
The role of protein in our lives is well understood by most of us. It’s an essential nutrient. Proteins are made up of long strings of amino acids, called polypeptides. When we consume proteins, our digestive system breaks them back down into their constituent amino acids for subsequent use by the body. We use amino acids in some shape or form for nearly every bodily process. They are the pre-cursors, or ‘ingredients’ we need to be able to manufacture hormones, enzymes, body tissues and body structures. They are used to repair cells and can even be used as fuel to keep our cells running.
Proteins – An Essential Source Of Amino Acids
Tyrosine for example is used to produce melanin, our skin and hair pigment. The essential amino acids valine, isoleucine and leucine are used to build and repair muscle tissue. Arginine is used to make nitric oxide, a vasodilatory mediator that plays a vital role in keeping our blood pressure healthy and our heart muscles contracting regularly. Creatine, despite its popularity as a muscle-building supplement, is naturally produced in our bodies using arginine and glycine. You can read more about Creatine supplements, and whether they’re worth the hype.
Protein Supply – It’s All About Diet
Most of us get enough protein from our diet. Even those of us who perhaps don’t eat as healthily as we should! Proteins are obtained from all manner of dietary sources. Some of these foods are referred to as complete protein sources, meaning they provide all the essential amino acids and many of the non-essential ones as well. What is an essential amino acid? All amino acids are ‘essential’ in the sense that we require all 20 of them in varying amounts. However, the 9 amino acids deemed ‘essential’ are those that must be obtained via our diet because we can’t manufacture them ourselves. In other words, they are an ‘essential’ part of our diet. Non-essential amino acids are those we can manufacture ourselves provided we have the raw ingredients.
Most animal proteins are complete protein sources – meat, dairy, eggs, fish. Therefore, people who eat these proteins regularly are unlikely to require special protein supplements unless they’re into heavy bodybuilding. Even then, those additional protein requirements can usually be met by increasing dietary intake of proteins.
Even Vegetarians And Vegans Get Enough Dietary Protein
Even vegetarians are mostly OK for protein because they still eat diary and eggs. The group at most risk of not getting enough protein are vegans, who only eat non-animal foods. However there are many plant based sources of proteins that contain these essential amino acids, which debunks the protein myth that we need to eat meat as a source of protein! Hemp and soy proteins for example contain all 20 amino acids. Other good plant based sources of protein for vegans includes nuts, seeds, and legumes – beans, chickpeas, lentils etc. In fact, one cup of cooked beans provides the same quantity of protein as 2 ounces of meat! Mushrooms are another good source of protein.