Research On Protein And Health
Available evidence indicates that its the source of protein , rather than the amount of protein, that likely makes a difference for our health. You can explore the research related to each disease in the tabs below, but heres the evidence-based takeaway: eating healthy protein sources like beans, nuts, fish, or poultry in place of red meat and processed meat can lower the risk of several diseases and premature death.
Research conducted at the Harvard Chan School of Public Health has found that eating even small amounts of red meatespecially processed red meaton a regular basis is linked to an increased risk of heart disease and stroke, and the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease or any other cause. Conversely, replacing red and processed red meat with healthy protein sources such as beans, soy foods, nuts, fish, or poultry seems to reduce these risks. One of the reasons why plant sources of protein are related to lower risk of cardiovascular disease compared to protein from red meat and dairy is because of the different types of fat in these protein packages. Plant-based protein sources are more unsaturated, which lowers LDL cholesterolan established risk factor for heart disease. Also, plant sources contain no cholesterol. Other factors are likely to contribute to the lower risk, but this is a key factor.
When it comes to cancer, once again, the seems to matter more than quantity.
Nutritional Value Of Protein
The nutritional value of a protein is measured by the quantity of essential amino acids it contains.
Different foods contain different amounts of essential amino acids. Generally:
- Animal products have all of the essential amino acids and are known as ‘complete’ protein .
- Soy products, quinoa and the seed of a leafy green called amaranth also have all of the essential amino acids.
- Plant proteins usually lack at least one of the essential amino acids and are considered ‘incomplete’ proteins.
People following a strict vegetarian or vegan diet need to choose a variety of protein sources from a combination of plant foods every day to make sure they get an adequate mix of essential amino acids. If you follow a vegetarian or vegan diet, as long as you eat a wide variety of foods, you can usually get the protein you need. For example, a meal containing cereals and legumes, such as baked beans on toast, provides all the essential amino acids found in a typical meat dish.
Protein Foods To Eat Before Bed
Maybe you’re hoping to curb your late-night hunger cravings on a weight loss diet, or you’re trying to eat more protein to fuel your overnight muscle recovery. Either way, choosing to eat healthy protein snacks before bed can help you feel full at night and energized in the morning.
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Eating a healthy protein snack before bed can help you lose weight, curb late-night hunger pangs, build muscle and speed up post-exercise recovery. Aim to eat lean meats, seafood, low-fat dairy, protein powders and plant-based proteins like soy, legumes or whole wheat grains as a snack before bed.
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Foods And Beverages To Consume In Limited Quantities
The foods on this list can be included, but they shouldnt be the main focus if you want to lose weight. Although many of them are nutritious, their protein percentages arent high. Depending on what you like and the way you eat, you can enjoy them in small quantities on a frequent or even daily basis.
- Cheese: Cheese is delicious, low in carbs, and a great source of calcium. However, it doesnt provide a lot of protein per calorie. Additionally, some people find that eating cheese causes cravings for more.22If you follow a keto or low-carb diet, feel free to have a small portion daily, if you like.Protein percentage range: 39% to 20%
- Nuts: They provide crunch, flavor, and enjoyment at meals and when snacking. Unfortunately, they dont provide much nutrition per calorie.Also, once you start eating nuts, it can be difficult to stop. Eating too many nuts can increase your caloric intake, making weight loss more difficult.23Aim for no more than a small handful no matter what type of nut you choose. Also, portion them out and eat them in a small bowl rather than from the container.Protein percentage range: 18% to 4%
- Low-protein processed meats: Yes, theyre flavorful and convenient. But foods like bacon, sausage, and salami contain far less protein than other meats. Can you still lose weight if you include them in your diet? Absolutely. But try to choose the processed meats listed in the foods to eat section most of the time.Protein percentage range: 23% to 14%
A Healthy Protein Diet
The “don’t eat after 7 p.m.” rule may not work for everyone. For those who are afraid of eating anything after dinner, even when the hunger pangs are real, research shows that in some cases, it may be beneficial.
In one small January 2014 study with 11 participants published in the British Journal of Nutrition, researchers found that eating protein or carbohydrates at night increased morning resting energy in active young men. It also improved their metabolism.
Another small May 2018 study published in the American Journal of Physiology measured whether eating 30 grams of casein protein, with or without leucine before bed affected post-exercise recovery overnight. In that study, 36 young men went through a resistance exercise in the evening. They then ate 30 grams of casein protein a half an hour before bed.
When measuring the participants’ blood and muscle tissue samples, the researchers analyzed their protein net balance and protein synthesis rate. They found that late-night protein intake improved whole body protein balance, and the amino acids were incorporated into muscle cells.
While whole body protein balance increased overnight, the study concluded that more evidence is needed to prove that these changes result in overall muscle gain. However, a March 2019 study published in Frontiers in Nutrition found that eating protein before bed actually did stimulate muscle protein synthesis overnight, which led to muscle gain.
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Easy Ways To Increase Your Protein Intake
Getting enough protein is important for your health.
For this reason, the Daily Value for protein is 50 grams per day.
However, some researchers believe that many people should be eating significantly more than this amount .
A high protein intake offers several potential health benefits and could help increase weight loss, enhance muscle growth, and improve your overall health.
Here are 14 easy ways to eat more protein.
Cheap And Healthy Sources Of Protein
Luckily, there are many delicious choices that suit every dietary need.
However, some people may find healthy protein sources to be too costly. While some sources of protein are expensive, there are also many affordable alternatives.
Here are 17 healthy protein sources that wont break the bank.
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Chia Seeds Vs Flax Seeds Vs Basil Seeds
Chia, flax, and basil seeds have similar nutritional profiles, and all can be part of a balanced diet.
Flax seeds generally contain more calories, protein, and fat than basil and chia seeds. Chia and flax seeds are particularly high in Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids. Chia seeds contain more fiber than basil or flax seeds.
The nutrient content of 100 g of flax, basil, and chia seeds is as follows:
How Sprouting Decreases Antinutrients
Sprouted grains also have lower numbers of antinutrients.
While phytic acid has some antioxidant benefits, when present in higher amounts it can bind minerals such as zinc, calcium, magnesium, and iron and prevent them from being absorbed. Sprouting modestly reduces phytic acid content .
Enzyme inhibitors are also present in seeds. They protect the seeds from spontaneously germinating but may also make the nutrients found in the seeds harder to access. Sprouting deactivates some enzyme inhibitors .
Another benefit of sprouting is that it reduces the amount of gluten, a protein found in wheat, spelt, rye, and barley. Many people have gluten-related disorders and therefore must avoid consuming gluten .
As a result of the reduction in antinutrients, Ezekiel bread may provide better nutrient bioavailability, or absorption, than bread made from grains that have not sprouted.
Sprouting increases nutrient levels and availability in grains and seeds. Sprouting also decreases the levels of some antinutrients that can reduce the absorption of nutrients from grains and seeds.
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Recipes And Cooking Tips
People can eat chia seeds raw by adding them to a variety of foods, such as cereal, yogurt, smoothies, and as a topping on salads.
It is also possible to soak chia seeds in a liquid, which turns the seeds into a gel-like substance. This can make them useful for thickening desserts, such as chia seed pudding.
To make a strawberry chia seed pudding, mix the following ingredients in a blender:
- 11.5 cups of frozen strawberries
- 3 tbsp of chia seeds
- 1 tbsp of coconut nectar or maple syrup
- a pinch of salt
- 1 teaspoon of lemon juice
- 1.5 cups of dairy or non-dairy milk
Chill the mixture in a refrigerator for an hour or so before eating.
It is also possible to use chia seeds as a substitute for eggs in baked goods, such as muffins and cookies. This can be helpful for people with egg allergies or intolerances, or for those following a vegan diet.
To use chia seeds as an egg substitute in baking, try mixing 1 tbsp of whole chia seeds, or 2 tsp of ground chia seeds, with 3 tbsp of water. Let them sit for a few minutes. When the mixture has become a gel, use it to replace 1 egg.
Chia seeds are generally safe to consume. Some people may have a chia seed allergy, but it is not common.
A 2019 study notes that chia seeds have structural similarities with other foods that people can be allergic to, such as sesame seeds and hazelnuts. For some, this may lead to cross-sensitization. However, it is unclear how many people are affected by this.
Other Sources Of Protein
While most of us can hit our protein goals through whole-food sources, there are some scenarios where protein powders or other protein-enriched foods can be useful. People starting an intense endurance- or strength-training program, recovering from surgery, or dealing with other health issues may need to boost their protein intake, says London. In these situations, be sure to talk with your health care provider to create a personalized nutrition plan.
That said, there may also be more in-the-moment times where you need some extra help on the protein front. On busy mornings where you barely have time to brush your teeth let alone cook breakfast, WWs protein-packed lattes can be a great solution. Each 8-oz can provides 11 g of protein and 20% of the Daily Value for calciummaking them convenient and nutritious breakfast additions. Ultimately, all foods are on the menu and WW members should do what works for them, which could include using a protein powder or protein-enhanced drinks, says Goscilo.
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Why You Need Protein
Protein is vital for three major functions. It helps you grow and repair muscles and other soft tissues. It is also a building block of enzymes and hormones, which help regulate processes in your body. Thirdly, protein is a fuel that your body burns for energy.
Your bodys protein requirement depends on your weight. The average adult needs about 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day . So, a 140-pound person needs around 50 grams of protein every day. The National Academy of Medicine recommends that protein make up between 10% to 35% of your daily calories.
Protein is the building block of numerous body parts, including:
Fish is also high in protein. Three ounces of Atlantic salmon contain 22 grams of protein, while the same amount of cod contains 19 grams.
Any kind of bird raised primarily for meat and eggs is considered poultry.
Chicken is one of the most common poultry sources of protein. A 3-ounce serving of chicken breast contains an impressive 26 grams of protein. Turkey has slightly less protein, with 25 grams in 3 ounces.
One serving of beans provides the same amount of protein as 1 ounce of meat about 7 grams. Beans also keep you full for longer because, unlike animal sources of protein, they are rich in fiber.
5. Dairy Products
Greek yogurt is another protein-rich dairy product. It contains two to three times the amount of protein in regular yogurt.
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Protein is the most satiating macronutrient it makes you feel fuller than fat or carbohydrates and its also the most thermogenic, meaning a high-protein diet speeds up your metabolism and helps you lose more weight.
In addition, protein helps you build and maintain muscle, which is especially important if youre trying to slim down. When youre dieting, you want to eat a large amount of protein to make sure you keep your muscle mass while losing fat.
Heres a list of 13 high-protein foods that are great for weight loss, along with nutrition facts and recipes so you can choose the best foods to help you lose fat.
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How Much Protein Do I Need
The National Academy of Medicine recommends that adults get a minimum of 0.8 grams of protein for every kilogram of body weight per day, or just over 7 grams for every 20 pounds of body weight.
- For a 140-pound person, that means about 50 grams of protein each day.
- For a 200-pound person, that means about 70 grams of protein each day.
The National Academy of Medicine also sets a wide range for acceptable protein intakeanywhere from 10% to 35% of calories each day. Beyond that, theres relatively little solid information on the ideal amount of protein in the diet or the healthiest target for calories contributed by protein. In an analysis conducted at Harvard among more than 130,000 men and women who were followed for up to 32 years, the percentage of calories from total protein intake was not related to overall mortality or to specific causes of death. However, the source of protein was important.
Its important to note that millions of people worldwide, especially young children, dont get enough protein due to food insecurity. The effects of protein deficiency and malnutrition range in severity from growth failure and loss of muscle mass to decreased immunity, weakening of the heart and respiratory system, and death.
May Help Increase Hdl Cholesterol
A 2021 review of 10 clinical trials found that chia seeds increased the amount of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol and lowered low-density lipoprotein cholesterol. HDL cholesterol is also known as good cholesterol, while LDL is known as bad cholesterol.
The authors concluded that chia seeds have a protective effect on the balance of lipids in the blood and a neutral or beneficial effect on other markers of cardiovascular health.
These findings may mean chia seeds could be a good addition to the diet of those who want to lower LDL cholesterol or raise HDL cholesterol. However, it is important to note that no single food can treat high cholesterol.
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How Is It Used
There are various ways to use carob powder, and it is particularly common in healthier recipes. These include recipes for baked goods, drinks, and no-bake treats.
Although carob peaked in popularity during the 1970s health food trend, it has come back into fashion in recent years.
Carob is sweeter and less bitter than cocoa, so people may need to use less sugar when using it as a substitute. This makes it a useful ingredient in foods such as pancakes, oatmeal, and milkshakes.
Additionally, people can use carob chips in place of chocolate chips.
Examples of desserts containing carob powder include:
- carob molasses cake
Dr Michael Mosley On The Importance Of Routine For Sleep
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Sleeping through the night is not something everyone is always able to do, and there is a lot of advice to be found around improving your quality of sleep, and adopting healthy sleep routines. If you have insomnia for less than three months, it is called short-term insomnia. Insomnia that lasts three months or longer is called long-term insomnia. For most, sleep problems tend to sort themselves out within about a month, according to the NHS.
Egg Sandwich With Pastrami And Swiss
Protein Punch: 27 gramsYou’ll Need: Butter, pastrami, eggs, milk, salt, pepper, low-fat Swiss cheese, whole-wheat English muffins
While most breakfast sandwiches are filled with protein-packed meat, that doesn’t always mean those ingredient choices are the best in terms of calories or even your daily energy. In this recipe, we choose our ingredients with more care. The combination of pastrami and Swiss has long been confined to the realm of the lunchtime deli counter, but we think it works beautifully with soft scrambled eggsâespecially because pastrami trounces both sausage and bacon in the calorie department. Give it a try.
Get our recipe for our Egg Sandwich With Pastrami and Swiss.