According to the latest statistics, the obesity epidemic continues to grow worldwide and shows no signs of stopping anytime soon. An astonishing 59.6% of Australian and New Zealand adults are overweight or obese, while 30% of Australian and New Zealand children are clinically overweight. Those who have adequate amounts of protein in their diet, however, may find they’ve escaped being part of this alarming trend. That’s because the latest nutritional research indicates that protein has numerous dietary benefits that give a boost to weight-loss and weight-management efforts.
One of the principal advantages of protein is that it creates a feeling of fullness and satisfaction in the body that makes overeating much less likely. Besides being filling, protein is a smart addition to any weight loss or weight management program because of the effect is has on carbohydrate cravings. As nutritional research has documented, carbohydrates trigger the brain to crave more carbohydrates, leading to a cycle of carbohydrate eating that becomes hard to control. Protein can block that triggering effect in the brain. If you eat protein with a carbohydrate it will reduce the cravings caused by eating the carbohydrate.
You can see why simply adding protein to a meal provides you with an incredible advantage in your quest to lose or maintain weight. But protein provides more than just weight benefits – it provides you with an important necessity as well. Adequate daily protein intake is essential for building and maintaining lean muscle mass. It may sound like a term that applies only to athletes, but in fact, everyone has a certain percentage of lean muscle mass, in their body. The higher your percentage of lean muscle mass, the more calories you can burn in a day.
Besides determining how many calories you burn each day, lean muscle mass also serves a vital function for those trying to lose or maintain their weight. If your diet does not contain enough protein to build or maintain lean muscle mass, your body will begin to lose weight from the heart, muscle and organs. This type of dieting is unsafe and can even prove fatal. So how much protein do you need every day? Women need approximately 100 grams of protein a day while men need approximately 150 grams of protein a day. But when you incorporate protein into your diet, remember that not all protein is equal when it comes to calories. For example, a serving of prime rib has 1500 calories!
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