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How Do Protein And Carbohydrates Relate to Weight Loss?

If you’ve been dieting, the terms, “protein” and “carbohydrate” are probably very familiar to you. A few short months ago many new diets such as Atkins and South Beach became popular. These diets are typically very high in protein and low in carbohydrates. Foods such as bread, cereal, pasta and fruit are usually eliminated. These diets may result in temporary weight loss, but are often not nutritionally sound. They are high in saturated fat and cholesterol, and have the potential to cause other health problems. These “do it yourself ” diets have no medical monitoring to take care of problems if they arise, and offer nothing to change the eating habits that led to the weight problem in the first place.

If you don’t eat carbohydrates your body will not produce adequate levels of insulin. Likewise, if you eat a lot of protein your body will produce too much glucagon. Eating a balanced diet helps keep your body’s blood sugar levels constant and will increase the sue of stored fat as fuel. Eating too many carbohydrates may cause your insulin levels to increase and store excess carbohydrates as fat, instead of using them as fuel.

Let’s look at protein and carbohydrates more closely. Most Americans get more protein in their diets than necessary. The recommended Daily Allowance is 8 grams of protein per kilogram of ideal body weight. This means that a woman with an ideal weight of 132 pounds would require 48 grams of protein per day. This could be supplied by eating the following foods in one day: four ounces of meat, one cup of milk, four slices of bread, and two servings of vegetables. A man with an ideal weight of 176 pounds requires 64 grams of protein per day. Five ounces of meat, two cups of milk, five slices of bread and two servings of vegetables would meet a mans daily needs. Many people greatly exceed their protein needs with intakes of over 100 grams per day. Since the body doesn’t store excess protein, this extra amount is converted to energy and may end up stored as fat.

Now we come to carbohydrates. If you’ve been avoiding these, it’s going to take you awhile to get used to the idea that they’re “OK”. They even play a crucial role in weight loss. What are the functions of carbohydrates? Besides being the body’s primary and preferred source of energy at only 4 calories per gram, carbohydrates also do the following:

* Protein sparing – When carbohydrates are provided, the body won’t break down muscle tissue for energy.

* Fat Metabolism – Carbohydrates assist in the chemical reactions that break down fat for energy. Biochemists have a saying, “fat burns in a flame of carbohydrate.”

Despite all the hype, research confirms that low-carb diets do not perform better in the long term when compared to diets that incorporate essential carbohydrates. Leading nutrition and medical groups caution against the use of low-carb diets because of the increased risk for such serious health problems such as kidney and liver disorders, gout, coronary heat disease, diabetes, stoke and several types of cancer. Although weight loss is an important goal, choosing a healthy way to lose the weight is what really matters.

Glenn Freiboth is a Certified Health Advisor lives in Illinois and has helped many overweight and obese people lose weight and keep it off.
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