The Value of Protein in Weight Control

Protein is a well-known component for overall health.  But how does it work and how much does one need? Frankly not as much as some diet gurus proclaim.

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Some new diet plans encourage the dieter to consume 40%+ of their daily diet in protein, mostly meat protein. Why? Unless one is a body builder, this is not only unnecessary but dangerous! Meat is acidic and too much produces a dangerous pH level that is susceptible to chronic illnesses such as heart disease and various cancers.

Most dieters should be aware that vegetables, legumes, beans, corn, wheat, nuts all contain beneficial protein. As many know, rice or corn with beans is considered a complete protein with no saturated fat.

Protein foods only last in the body for 2-4 hours. Fatty meats, such as spare ribs, bacon, prime rib, rib eye and bratwurst are very high in saturated fat and are considered more of a fat than a protein. Of course there’s protein but the body is also absorbing 60% of fat with every bite.  Visualize that as pure lard and suddenly it’s not so enticing.

Remember anything is acceptable in moderation, meaning “once in a while,” as is professed in 1 Corinthians 10:23. Select wisely. Pair higher fat choices with a high fiber baked potato, baked apples, corn on the cob, baked beans or a salad rather than coleslaw, macaroni or potato salad. These high fiber foods help escort fat out of your system faster. (Fat lasts in your system for 5-7 hours.)

As in any metabolic functions, balance is key. Some form of protein should be eaten at each meal for ultimate weight control but 6-8 ounces of meat is all anyone needs daily. Consume too much protein and it affects the kidneys and liver.  Too little and the body breaks down muscle tissue for energy. Protein builds muscles, repairs tissues and promotes good mental health. But of the three major food groups of protein, fats and carbohydrates, protein is the lesser one we need, about 15-20%. Surprised?

Protein can factor into weight loss metabolism if one uses common sense. Let me give you an example. Yogurt is a packed with protein but full-fat yogurt contains 50% fat. Low-fat (1%)  yogurts has only a 20% fat content. The body doesn’t need to work as hard to break down the fat before it utilizes that valuable protein.

Protein helps burn up fat in three important ways:

  1. When you consume a protein food, you’ll use 25-35% of caloric energy to digest it.
  2. Protein helps to suppress the appetite simply by the fact that it stays in your system longer (2-4 hours) than sugary carbs (1-2 hours) and thus slows down glucose metabolism. When insulin levels remain steady, it reduces hunger. You’ll have fewer cravings, remain in control and eat less.
  3. Then, of course, protein builds muscle and muscle burns fat. It’s like a car engine that produces energy while you drive it or even as it idles at a stop sign.

So what are the best high protein foods?  Try these for maximum health: Spinach, avocado, baked beans, broccoli, white cheese, asparagus, carrots, chicken, beef filet, fish, cottage cheese, low fat milk, tofu and peanut butter.  But you also might be surprised to find potatoes, coconut, whole wheat bread, pasta, hummus, nuts, oranges, eggs and bananas on the list! Supposedly “off-limits” food!

God gave us an abundance of quality food for an enriching life. Enjoy a healthy life!

“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31)

Coming soon: How specific nutrients found in protein burn fat.

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12 thoughts on “The Value of Protein in Weight Control

  1. Great article, and don’t know if it was here or elsewhere, but we need to start viewing meat as a side dish rather than the main course.

    My find of last year was kefir. This is the easiest stuff to work with. It is almost idiot or foolproof. Way easier than yogurt to prepare. I have yet to botch a batch. I just leave it on the counter and forget it for a few days or even a week. I have used powdered milk too, and that works. Very easy forgiving pro-biotic. I use it in all kinds of things, dressings, dips, smoothies to name a few.

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  2. Good information, and confirms what I thought about “stacking” the protein. I am gluten-free, though, and it’s helped both me and my dad in surprising ways. I found that what I thought was making me feel too full (meat) was really all the bread I was eating :-).
    Overall, carbs are my biggest enemy to weight loss – not necessarily the natural ones, but the grains and crackers and sugars :-). I do have more energy when following a Paleo diet and avoiding grains altogether…getting carbs from fruits and veggies. One common thread: the more natural the food is, the more easily your body will process it.
    And balance is definitely the key, along with being informed. Thanks for sharing, Ellie!

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    • Thank you Mary, I appreciate your compliment and hope you’ll still like me after my exhortation and honesty here as I felt lead to do to warn you of certain truths. It is very true that God made us uniquely, each with a different chemical make-up. (Every diet plan works for certain people.) We live under grace and can pretty much follow whatever plan we desire. I wondered if that bread you were addicted to was a high fiber one or something like Wonder Bread with none? I urge you to search for high fiber options!

      Since I view everything through a Biblical perspective, I will never be a fan of the Paleo diet. Adam and Eve were never cavemen. Why is it okay to endorse sausage, bacon, rib eyes and other high-fat, processed meats on this diet plan but not potatoes, legumes, beans, buckwheat, quinoa, and other high fiber foods created by God in the Garden of Eden? Without fiber one risks parasites, worms and other toxins (and notice yogurt is also forbidden) as well as becoming acidic which invites cancers and other illnesses to dwell within our holy temple God gave us. .Satan delights in that!

      There’s a huge difference between sugary simple carbs and complex carbs with high fiber which escorts toxins out of your system. The acidic Paleo diet plays Russian roultette with serious illness. However it is almost like a cult and I get chastised by those who idolize this plan. Remember as well, that the brain feeds primarily on glucose, a carbohydrate. Therefore I highly recommend a 1 Corinthians 10:23 diet plan such as the Mediterranean, the DASH or Volumetrics diet plan with a balanced approach to health. Blessings back to you for ultimate Health, for it is worth more than weight loss,

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      • Thank you, Ellie, just reading this today, and with perfect timing. I appreciate you taking time to respond honestly and bluntly, that’s the way I like it :-). To clarify, I have never been strict paleo – mostly avoided starchy, processed foods – but I did eat more meat. Now I’m backing off a bit. What you say makes sense and resonates with me. Then I remembered something else.

        Over the past few years, I attended two retreats where we ate regular, balanced meals – meat, potato, vegetable – including a good breakfast. Ate dinner several hours before bed time and not much evening snacking. Both retreats I came back two pounds lighter. That came to mind recently as I continue to struggle to lose weight. So it could be a quantity (portion) thing for me, or eating too late, or hormones. I’m praying God will help me figure it all out. It’s just very frustrating that no matter what I do, including exercise, I don’t lose weight!

        I definitely have a gluten sensitivity, but that’s only wheat/rye/barley, not other grains. I love rice, potatoes, beans (especially black bean pasta!), and quinoa…and eat them regularly. Have felt it’s OK to do so.

        Thanks again for your comment, glad I came out to check your blog today. Blessings!
        Mary

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  3. I just started my own blog at Brylindantonio.com called A traveling tragedy. I love how you incorporated God in this post and throwing scripture just to plant the seed. I would love to start doing that as well. I loved this piece. Thank you!

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  4. Ellie your posts on food and weight control are concise and very informative. Many don’t realize that protein helps curb hunger and can aid in weight loss if eaten in proper portions and intervals. You’re incorporation of God in your posts, make them that much more ‘tastier’. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hahaha, oh D.G.you’re so cute! “tastier!” – that’s what I’m going for, a tasty blog. Actually, that is what New Creations Ministries is all about. based on 2 Corinthians 5:17 and 1 Peter 1:16. We need to honor our Lord with our bodies and worship Him, not food. But many make an idol out of food. I love my Lord more than chocolate or fried foods. Might seem silly but it’s so true in many Christian lives. Thanks D.G. I so enjoy your comments! Blessings,

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