By Rakesh Sharma Jack

Protein is a necessity for your body to function properly. Protein is among the top three nutrients needed by your body. Since protein is so important I’m sure you have many questions. What is protein used for? How much protein is needed by the human body? What foods can protein be found in? I’m sure you’re probably thinking about this right now along a few other questions like; Are protein foods high calories? Are these foods high fat? Maybe you’re a vegetarian and you’re wondering if you are receiving the right amount of protein. Well let’s simplify things and learn about protein step by step.

Protein influences your physical well being. Without protein you can not build muscles as muscles consist mainly of protein. It consists mainly of amino acids. Your body uses protein to heal. This is interesting, but worthless information if you don’t know how much you need.

Recommendations for how much protein is need by your body vary. There is a wide range of suggested values. A good guide is 45 to 65 grams per day. This is usually determined by age and activities. For example a teenager needs more than an adult. An athlete needs more that his/her non-athletic peers. A pregnant or breast feeding woman needs more than anyone because she is supporting 2 lives. Also it is suggested that you eat more protein that you actually need; 25 to 35% more to be exact.

This extra consumption can help make up for any protein degradation you may suffer. Protein degradation occurs when the body does not have enough protein to repair damages. These damages must be fixed, so the body traces its’ steps to find where it placed the protein. Guess where it finds it? Your muscles! Now your body begins to breakdown your muscles, so that it will have the protein it needs. At best this lessens your ability to burn fat and cause problems with your hair and skin. At worst it can cause you to feel dizzy and shake. Shouldn’t the recommendation be raised if eating only what’s recommended can cause problems?

The recommendation is a guideline for how much protein you body needs to absorb. The more amino acids (protein) contained in a food the easier it is for the body to process and absorb protein. However, not all protein foods have the necessary amino acids. Proteins that contain all critical amino acids are most commonly found in lean beef, fish, and chicken breast. Only partial protein is found in beans or nuts. Also, water consumption is imperative in a high protein diet. Your body requires water to breakdown protein. If you do not consume enough water you can not process protein. In addition to this your body may damage your kidneys trying to handle the protein you have consumed.

If you feel you are not getting enough protein or are considering a high protein diet you should increase the amount of water you drink. If you have not yet made a decision on your protein intake consider this: Protein ought to be eaten at each meal in moderate portions. If you are not eating in this manner of not eating 3 times daily you probably are not getting enough protein. I know, you think that this will raise your caloric intake.

Proteins actually have fewer calories than carbohydrates. Almost double the amount in fact. If you’re eating more protein then you’re eating less carbs. This means that by changing to a high protein diet you actually reduce your caloric intake. In addition to helping you lower the calories you consume, you can improve your blood sugar levels. Both lowering the amount of carbs you consume and raising your protein ingestion helps control your glycolic index. This makes high protein diets an excellent suggestion for diabetics. So maybe you’re thinking that it is great to lower your calories and help your blood sugar, but are worried about fat.

Low fat foods are healthier than fatty foods and still have protein. Milk and lean meats are excellent sources and if you are a vegetarian there are protein powders available that are not high fat or high calorie. These make it as easy for a vegetarian to get protein as anyone who eats meat.

Many vegetarian foods contain protein supplements. This can be found in artificial meats made with soy and nuts. You can even buy protein fortified veggie chips so that you can get your protein while you snack. I’m not a vegetarian, but I tried both soy burgers and the veggie chips. They are great. Why would I try these foods if I’m not a vegetarian?

About 18 months ago I started on the South Beach diet. The diet is a high protein diet produced by Dr. Arthur Agatston. Dr Agatston is a cardiologist. His intention was to create a healthy diet, which was easy to follow. It is a three step program. The first focuses on adding protein and getting rid of carbohydrates. In the first step there are certain foods that are no-no’s, but the food you can eat far outweighs those you can’t. Part of the reason the South Beach diet is so successful is the abundance of foods in your menu. I had so much fun during these two weeks introducing my family to new, healthy foods that I decided to expand our choices. I bought foods that we had never tried before. I found recipes that were amazing. All while adding protein to make us healthier and losing weight. The second step was as easy and fun as the first.

The second step of the South Beach diet adds good carbs back to your diet. During this step you continue to eat a high protein diet while reintroducing the grains you love. I think my favorite recipe I came up with at this step was chicken parmesan with whole grain spaghetti. It was delicious, high in protein, and had the good carbs my body needed. We still eat it even though I’m no longer in the second stage.

The third helps keep your weight where you want it for as long as you are on the plan. You can use it forever. I’m living proof.

Rakesh Sharma “Jack” is a freelance copywriter, SEO writer and eBook expert based in India with more than 10 years of experience. He has written dozens of eBooks, hundreds of research reports and thousands of articles on various topics. He provides web content writing, article writing, and article marketing and directory submission services to his clients worldwide. To know more about him and his services, please visit: http://www.aurumwriters.com.

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