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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

To protein or not to protein?

To protein or not to protein?

Research findings published yesterday by the University of Sydney which found that higher protein diets produced superior weight results results compared to high carbohydrate, low fat diets comes as no surprise to weight loss practitioners. A diet with a greater proportion of protein (25-30%) is known to improve appetite, helps to control insulin levels, improve the intake of essential nutrients including iron, zinc and calcium whilst being exceptionally easy to follow.

What is important to remember when the concept of ‘high protein’ is bantered about is that we are not talking about a ‘low carb’ diet, in which the majority of carbohydrate containing food including bread, rice, cereal, pasta, fruit and starchy vegetables are eliminated. Rather we are talking about a more subtle shift in which a small amount of wholegrain carbohydrate is combined with protein at each meal and snack to help regulate appetite and calorie intake.

A higher protein diet tends to be more filling, helps to prevent the sugar highs and lows many people experience when their diet is filled with processed carbs and fruit and is easily adopted into everyday life. It includes subtle shifts from cereal to toast with eggs or cottage cheese for breakfast, snacks of nuts, protein snacks and natural yoghurt rather than fruit and biscuits, and swapping heavy bread, rice and pasta for lighter salad and meat or fish based meals with a little wholegrain carbs in the form of crackers, grains or beans.

The diet of the average Australian, in particular our children is largely high carbohydrate in nature – white bread, processed breakfast cereal, snack bars and heavy rice and pasta base dishes dominating our daily food intake, and for a society which remains relatively inactive, weight issues are common. A gentle shift to a higher protein, more nutrient dense diet is an easy way to improve your nutrition and help control your weight on a daily basis.

Standard High Carb Diet High Protein Diet

BR: Just Right and milk with banana 2 eggs + 2 slices Burgen toast

MT: Fruit Cheese and crackers

L: Ham and salad sandwich Salmon salad with sweet potato

AT: Fruit yoghurt Nuts and Bodyforwomen shake

D: Chicken stir fry Grilled steak with greens