As part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle, it is very important to consider eating adequate protein, low carbohydrate, and low fat meals that are high in nutritional value to maintain your body’s vital functions. Protein is life and everything that is vital in life comes from proteins. Therefore, maximizing protein intake is of paramount importance in maintaining a healthy weight and active lifestyle.
Too often, when people embark on a quest to either lose weight or begin a healthy life regimen, protein source is the first place where people make drastic changes. Naturally, due to many confusing opinions regarding the “best source” of protein in our daily lives, potential health optimizers or weight loss candidates look to eliminate meats as the primary source of proteins. Many people will attempt to engage in vegetarian sources of protein. There is a problem with this approach.
There is a huge debate about the efficacy of vegetarian source(s) of proteins. While it is generally true proteins derived from plants are generally lower in saturated fats, cholesterol, and are generally cleaner source of proteins and nutrients, there is a catch. Many vegetarian source of proteins suffer from the following issues:
Generally, the plant derived proteins are inadequate on a gross gram consumption level when compared to the “animal” counterparts.
Those plant based protein sources that are considered high in protein content generally also contain high levels of plant fats and carbohydrates.
You see, in order to lose weight effectively, you must take in at least half of your current body weight in grams of proteins. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, in order for you to maintain your body weight, and ensure maintenance of muscles (which burns fat and keeps you from getting fat), you must consume 75 grams of proteins. Even if you are trying to lose weight, you must maintain this basic requirement as to not lose any lean muscle mass during this period.
However, when someone starts on a weight loss program (it doesn’t matter if it is one of the nationally franchised businesses such as Weight Watchers or some book that you read), they begin to reduce calories and too often those calorie reduction comes at the expense of proteins. Since there are no weight loss programs that will allow you to eat standard 2000 to 2500 calorie diet and claim to help successfully lose weight, too often, proteins intake is sacrificed in favor of carbohydrates and fats.
Immediately, many dieters will turn to vegetarian foods to help guide them through their weight loss endeavors. The problem with vegetables is that in general it is lacking in essential amino acids and/or lacks in adequate protein content. More alarmingly, those who adopt vegetarian lifestyle utilize soy products or beans to help supplement adequate protein intake. For example, black beans contain roughly 39 grams of protein and 120 grams of carbohydrates for one cup serving size! What is this telling you? This particular high protein food has roughly 3.5X more carbohydrates than proteins. Yes, you did get high amount of proteins but you just hit your glycemic index load very hard by elevating your blood sugar level with rapid infusion of 120 grams of carbohydrates. Remember, in order to lose weight, you must watch and reduce your carbohydrate intake.
In general, it is a good idea to keep your carbohydrate consumption at each meal below 35 grams if you are attempting to lose weight. In fact, our patients at Camelback Health Care Weight Loss Clinic are not allowed more than 25 grams of protein at each meal.
I am not saying vegetables are not important. They are. They are rich in fibers, anti-oxidants, and offers some protein value. However, they are inadequate as a sole source of maintaining healthy weight or losing weight. There are some vegetables that should be avoided altogether if you are trying to lose weight. They are:
- All Legumes (beans) and Pea groups
- Starch groups (rice, pastas, and grains)
- Egg Plants
Instead, focus on green vegetables such as:
Brassica family; broccoli and cauliflower (avoid brussels sprouts)
Green bell peppers
Spinach, leafy lettuces (Romaine, Spinach, and Kale)
Cucumbers and Zucchinis
And the purest and the fastest absorbing protein is…. Tilapia! This is one fish group that even some staunch supporters of vegetarian diet might be willing to switch to. Regardless of what anyone’s opinion on Tilapia is, the fact is simple: It is one of the most efficient lean proteins that aids in weight loss. If you consume 8 oz tilapia per night at dinner, and avoid most of the pitfalls of carbohydrates and hidden problems with a vegetarian source of proteins, you will lose weight.
Success in weight loss starts with accepting foreign ideas that are based on facts and implementing them. Otherwise, everyone is a participant in the definition of “insanity”, that is, “doing the same things over and over again and expecting the same results”. If you are skeptical, just employ for two weeks what we discussed here on this blog. You will lose weight.
Resource: Watch how we have helped our patients lose weight and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
By: By: Dr. Brandon Kim CEO | Camelback Health Care