- People who want to lose weight often adopt a high-protein diet
- Animal proteins have all the essential amino acids
- Proteins should be eaten in combination with fibre and carbs
Like any other nutrient, even proteins are an extremely important part of our diet. Proteins are essential for growth and development, promote fullness, helps in quick weight loss, tissue repair and building muscle mass. They are made up of amino acids and they exist throughout the body, in muscles, bones, skin and hair. Delhi based nutritionist, Pooja Malhotra said, "The building blocks of proteins are amino acids. There are 20 amino acids in all. While some amino acids can be synthesized by our bodies, some of them can't be, we must obtain these from food, hence called essential amino acids." In the following article, let us talk about a high-protein diet and how one should follow it.
People who want to lose weight often adopt a high-protein diet. A diet high in proteins helps a person feel satiated for a long time which can lead to eating fewer calories overall. This in turn, helps in quick weight loss. Moreover, proteins help boost metabolism which is also essential for weight loss. In addition to weight loss, protein provides the body with some essential benefits.
The health benefits of protein include:
- Proteins provide the enzymes that help power thousands of chemical reactions throughout the body
- Proteins helps the body maintain and repair hair, skin, muscles and bones
- Certain proteins are necessary to produce hormones that help the body's organs to function smoothly
- Proteins help in boosting metabolism, growth and development
Here's how you should follow a high-protein diet:
Broadly speaking there are two types of proteins: plant-based proteins and animal based proteins. Most plant-based foods are incomplete sources of proteins but if taken in a combination, they can meet your daily intake of proteins. Some plant-based sources of proteins are lentils, certain whole grains, nuts and tofu. Therefore, vegans or vegetarians should eat these foods in combination. For instance, lentils and rice make for a perfect protein-rich meal. You can have tofu with some protein-rich vegetables like spinach or peas or quinoa with vegetables.
Animal proteins have more nutritional content than the plant-based proteins. They have all the essential amino acids and are considered as complete sources of protein. These foods include chicken, fatty fish, whole eggs and dairy products.
However, proteins should be combined with fibre and healthy carbohydrates to accelerate your weight loss goals. For instance, chicken with vegetables, eggs with whole grain bread, tofu or cottage cheese with vegetables, yoghurt with fruits, lentils and rice, whole grains with some vegetables.
To conclude nutritionist says, "For meat-eaters, a flexitarian approach works best. So restrict yourself to lean meats 2-3 times a week, eggs can be consumed almost daily, make sure your veg meals have cereal-pulse combinations, also include beans and nuts to get adequate protein and also obtain the benefits of both."
(Pooja Malhotra is a nutritionist based in Delhi)
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