Quality Carbs and Protein = Key to Weight Loss Success
The current trend of eating low-carb for weight loss is very popular. However, carbs are very important, in fact crucial for health and weight loss, but it must be the right types of carbohydrates – It is the quality of the food that matters most.
Excessive intake of carbohydrates creates a diet disaster that typically results in weight gain and health conditions. Excess carbohydrate intake triggers the fat storage hormone insulin and insulin tells your body to store and generate more fat. More importantly, it also prevents your body from burning fat that is already stored. When insulin is constantly elevated, because of a metabolic disorder or because of chronic ingestion of nutritionally empty dietary carbohydrates, the body stores fat and blocks fat from being used as energy. This metabolic situation prevents weight loss, promotes weight gain, and contributes to fatigue and low energy levels. Reducing nutritionally-empty carbohydrates such as: sugar, processed junk foods, and white flour products, will reduce both calories and carbohydrates and may provide health benefits that go beyond weight loss.
Go Slow. Vegetables are a complex carbohydrate and are burned ‘slow’ and don’t spike your blood sugar. These slow carbs or low-starch carbs that come from plant foods such as: broccoli, eggplant, green beans, onions, lettuce, red bell peppers, onions, mushrooms, asparagus and many more. In addition, more starchy ‘slow’ foods such as brown rice, lentils or sweet potatoes are metabolized slowly. All of these ‘slow’ veggies and foods come loaded with nutrients, fiber, and a broad array of phytochemicals. Broccoli and potato chips are carbohydrates, but the body metabolizes both vastly different.
Unfortunately, even healthy carbohydrates such as oats, quinoa or brown rice are typically eaten in excess… and here is where the problem begins; we have an excess intake of starchy carbohydrates as well as refined carbohydrates such as crackers, cookies, candy, bagels, bread and most all processed and packaged foods.
Enter protein. Protein is an important nutrient for weight loss and a leaner body. Protein and healthy fat combined with reduced carbohydrate intake, boosts metabolism, reduces appetite, stops hunger and cravings and changes several weight-regulating hormones. Hormones such as CCK that is a natural appetite suppressant and protein reduces levels of the hunger hormone ghrelin. Protein combined with the right quality carbohydrates and healthy fat, will transform your body and health.
Also, as you are losing weight, your body loses both muscle and fat -> if there is not an adequate amount of protein in the diet. We want to preserve muscle as muscle burns fat – the more muscle you have, the higher your metabolism.
To begin shedding weight, reduce excess carb intake, add delicious ‘slow’ carbs and add protein to every meal.
Below are 9 Easy Ways to Add More Protein to Your Diet
- Eat Greek yogurt. Greek yogurt has half the calories and twice the protein of traditional yogurt, thus making it a great choice.
- Add protein powder to other foods. If you add plain or flavored protein powder to other foods – like oatmeal or smoothies, you’ll get the protein you need to keep you hunger free.
- Stock up on cottage cheese. Cottage cheese is another rich source of protein. In fact, 1 cup contains a whopping 28 grams. Mix in low-sugar fruit such as berries and sprinkle some almonds or chia seeds on top, and you are good to go!
- Consume lean meats. Chicken, turkey and other lean meats are a great way to get more protein.
- Start your day with eggs. Eggs, like lean meat and dairy, are an excellent source of protein. Research shows just 2 eggs in the morning stops hunger and cravings for hours.
- Add protein to salad. There are multiple ways to up the protein content of any salad. Add sunflower seeds, nuts, garbanzo beans are also a good source of protein, a sliced hard-boiled egg or chicken.
- Snack on nuts and nut butters. Nuts and seeds are a great source of protein and healthy fat that will help stop cravings by keeping blood sugar balanced. Find ways to incorporate nuts into your snacks and meals.
- Eat fish. Fish is very high in protein and healthy fat. Wild-caught fish can be an extremely healthy addition to your diet – and many of us don’t eat enough. Bake it, broil it or grill it.
- Add more plant-based protein sources. Though many people don’t realize it, plants and veggies can be a great source or protein. Beans, brown rice, broccoli, artichokes, onions, asparagus and spinach.