Monday, July 25, 2011

The Power of Protein

I'm going to start off with saying that this is not the Atkins diet nor in MY OPINION should you follow the Atkins perscription. I believe a body in balance is more important. But protein is a powerful weapon in the fight against obesity! And in most of the cases, those who have had WLS are told that the key to your weight loss is PROTEIN! There's a reason one of the biggest rules to follow is: PROTEIN FIRST!

Top reasons you should be enjoying protein include:
  1. Protein provides greater satisfaction
  2. Less hunger after a protein rich meal
  3. Combined with exercise it will enhance fat loss & helps to maintain lean muscle tissue
  4. Diets in which 60% is lean protein show a reduction in Blood Pressure, LDL levels (bad cholesterol) and Triglycerides
So before you go out gnawing on a T-bone steak, remember that not all protein is created equal. You will still want to look for lean cuts of meats. Always chose nutrient rich foods that are lower in fats & calories.

So how many grams of protein should you be eating? Some experts recommend you should eat between 0.5-1.0 grams per body weight. And some of you just said *&%# I can't eat that much! Well, they (not me) say to eat toward the high end if you are heavily active and on the lower end if you are trying to lose weight. For me at my current weight and multiplying by the lower number, it is perfect. But most of you SHOULD have received guidelines from your surgeons on the optimal amount of protein to consume. My nutritionist gave me the guidelines of minimum 50-65 for women and 60-75 for men. Of course to lose weight you will need to consume a little more than the minimum requirements.

So where do we get our proteins from? And how do you take in that much? It really isn't as complicated as most think it is. PROMISE! What foods will help you whittle your waist while providing a high protein punch?
  1. Skinless white chicken breast (3oz-25g)
  2. Turkey (3oz-25g)
  3. Seafood (between 30-30g depending on your choice of fish)
  4. Low fat Dairy (8-22g depending on your choices)
  5. Lean Beef (3oz-25g)
  6. Lean Bison (3oz-40g)
  7. Lean Pork Tenderloin (3oz-24g)
Look for foods that provide 1-3 grams of fat per 50 calories when choosing your protein source.

So how should you break it down daily to maximize the benefits? Donald Layman, PhD, a professor of nutrition at the University of Illinois states that you should aim for at least 30 grams at breakfast. After fasting all night your body is running on empty and may start drawing on muscle tissue for fuel if you don't replenish it's protein stores first thing in the morning. Other studies have found that a protein rich breakfast can regulate your appetite for the remainder of the day! I'm hearing the groans from many of you and seeing the thought bubbles above your head! I know many of us can't eat first thing in the morning. I say to you-where there's a will, there's a way! Here is how I make is happen in the morning. I drink a 16oz cup of tea on the way to work and sometimes when I get to work I need another cup of it. Then I'm ready for breakfast. My choices range from scrambled eggs with cheese mixed with ground turkey w/taco seasoning (33g protein) or Greek yogurt w/ teaspoon of Peanut Butter (or 2 tbsp Peanut Flour 25g protein). Lunches run along the lines of salads w/ either chicken, salmon or shrimp in them. Or I make taco salad w/ ground turkey. My salads always have about 25-30 grams of protein. Other favorites are Chili or if I go out to lunch with friends it is a Chicken Burrito Bowl from Chipotle. Again all around 25-30 grams of protein. Dinner for me usually is FISH! I love fish and Barramundi is my favorite. Halibut is another favorite! I enjoy my fish with different salsas on top! Delicious! Or I make a mean stir fry with shrimp & scallops too! For sides I usually have quinoa or risotto and veggies. Eat your quinoa and you'll get even more protein.

So what about protein on the go or for snacking?  Most of us like veggies and dip right? How about making that dip with plain Greek yogurt instead of sour cream? I mix Lipton Vegetable soup mix with plain Oikos Greek Yogurt and I'm satisfied and it's a protein boost! Friends of mine mix the dry ranch dressing mix with their Greek yogurt and enjoy it as a dip also. So what else is there?
  1. Turkey Jerky (most are 80 cals/11-13 protein)
  2. Light String cheese (60 cals/8 protein
  3. Turkey Sticks (45 cals/ 4 protein -eat two!)
  4. Roasted Soy Nuts (1/4 cup 17 grams of protein-nice change from almonds)
So basically you should break up your day into :
  • Breakfast 20-30 grams
  • Lunch 20-30 grams
  • Dinner 15-25
  • Snacks 5-10
And what about those protein bars and drinks? The advice given to me by my nutritionist was always to make sure that they are 200 calories or less, 15 grams of protein or more and less than 12 grams of sugar. She suggested we stay away from protein drinks (accept for post banding beginning stages and preop) unless you are having difficulty getting protein thru solid foods. I try to stick to this rule unless I need a drink to refuel me after a workout and I won't be having a meal for awhile or if Banderella is tight as can be and no solids are going down.

So remember, the moment you eat that protein it starts working on your waistline. It takes your body more time to digest, metabolize and use it which means your body burns more calories processing it! It also takes longer to leave your stomach (not pouch) so you feel fuller longer. So enjoy protein at every meal and watch the pounds drop off!

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