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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Protein and carbs - get the balance right?


While some believe high-protein diets aid weight loss, cutting out carbs can be detrimental to health. Nutritional therapist Kerry Torrens explains why balance and moderation is key...

Various high-protein diets claim that cutting carbs in favour of protein can help you to lose weight faster while still feeling satisfied. However, losing carbs from your diet completely can be detrimental to health.







It's true that protein burns comparatively more calories than other energy sources when it's digested. And we all need some protein (whether from meat, fish, dairy or grains) for strong muscles and bones, hormonal health and immunity.

However, carbohydrates are the body's preferred source of energy, and our brains, in particular, need carbs to maintain alertness and concentration.

As with all diets, there are downsides. High-protein diets put an extra load on the kidneys and may cause calcium to be lost from your bones. Too much Prawn & tomato stew with gremolata topping high-fat protein may raise your cholesterol levels. A high-carb diet, meanwhile, can disrupt blood sugar levels, increase the risk of diabetes and lead to energy fluctuations and mood swings.

Moderation is the key. Protein and carbs both play a part in helping you shed extra pounds. Choose lean protein like chicken, turkey, fish and low-fat dairy - about the size of a deck of cards - and keep carb servings to the size of your clenched fist. Choose complex carbs, such as wholegrain versions of bread, pasta and rice, and include plenty of veg and fruit in your diet

 Protein


Muscle consists mainly of two proteins, actin and myosin. The turnover rate of amino acids in these proteins is high, and increases upon stimulation such as exercise. If the muscle is worked to maximum effort like during a correctly executed bodybuilding workout, turnover is extremely high. Hence, there is a large demand from the body's pool of amino acids. High carb fans say this demand can be met by only a moderately higher than normal protein intake. High protein fans argue very high levels of protein are needed to meet demand. Bodybuilders who have plateaued in their gains for long periods, have dramatically increased their protein intake and started making gains. Also anabolic steroids increase the rate of protein synthesis within muscle cells, further increasing demand for protein.

Carbohydrate


The argument for a high carb intake comes from the fact that we need energy to fuel our workouts and to recuperate and grow. This is certainly the case for athletes who may need as much as 60% of their energy intake from carbs. High carb advocates also say that a "normal" intake of high protein foods should be eaten, as starchy carbohydrate foods also contain some protein, which will increase protein intake sufficiently. The type of carbs that should be consumed is high fiber starchy ones like whole meal bread, brown rice, whole wheat breakfast cereals, etc.
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