According to the latest statistics, the obesity epidemic continues to grow worldwide and shows no signs of stopping anytime soon. An astonishing 59.6% of Australian and New Zealand adults are overweight or obese, while 30% of Australian and New Zealand children are clinically overweight. More than half of the American population is overweight.
Those who have adequate amounts of protein in their diet, however, may find they’ve escaped being part of this alarming trend. That’s because the latest nutritional research indicates that protein has numerous dietary benefits that give a boost to weight loss and weight management efforts. Let’s look at some ways you can benefit from a healthy daily protein intake.
One of the principal advantages of protein is that it creates a feeling of fullness and satisfaction in the body that makes overeating much less likely. Besides being filling, protein is a smart addition to any weight loss or weight management program because of the effect it has on carbohydrate cravings.
As nutritional research has documented, carbohydrates trigger the brain to crave more carbohydrates, leading to a cycle of carbohydrate eating that becomes hard to control. Protein can block that triggering effect in the brain. If you eat protein with a carbohydrate it will reduce the cravings caused by eating the carbohydrate.
Simply adding protein to a meal (including breakfast), provides you with an incredible advantage in your quest to lose or maintain weight. But protein provides more than just weight benefits — it provides you with an important necessity as well. Adequate daily protein intake is essential for building and maintaining lean muscle mass.
It may sound like a term that applies only to athletes, but in fact, everyone has a certain percentage of lean muscle mass in their body. The higher your percentage of lean muscle mass, the more calories you can burn in a day.
Besides determining how many calories you burn each day, lean muscle mass also serves a vital function for those trying to lose or maintain their weight. If your diet does not contain enough protein to build or maintain lean muscle mass, your body will begin to lose weight from the heart, muscle, and organs.
This type of dieting is unsafe and can prove fatal. So, how much protein do you need every day? Women need approximately 80-100 grams daily, while men need roughly 120-150 grams.
But as you incorporate protein into your diet, remember that not all protein is equal when it comes to calories. For example, a serving of prime rib has 1,500 calories! That’s why it is important to source your protein from healthy, lean protein sources such as fish, the white meat of chicken and turkey, and very lean sources of beef. If you can see the fat…cut it off before you cook it, and don’t eat it.