Protein 101

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Protein is an essential component of the diet. When you are trying to achieve a healthy weight, paying attention to the protein content of your meals can be helpful.

As we now understand the detrimental health effects of a diet consisting of primarily refined, “low fat” yet “high sugar” foods, recommendations for weight management (and health in general) are shifting toward being that which focus on a more balanced, protein rich diet accompanied by healthy, unprocessed plant foods.

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We've chatted to IsoWhey Dietitian and Nutritionist, Belinda Reynolds to find out everything we need to know about protein.

“The inclusion of protein at breakfast has been shown in studies to increase the energy expenditure after breakfast (i.e. metabolism), increase fat oxidation, balance blood sugar and insulin levels, and reduce hunger and thus calorie intake throughout the day," says Belinda.

"This range of benefits suggest that consuming protein sources at breakfast (and other meals of the day) may help to increase your chances of achieving a healthy weight. A great way to do this is by adding a good quality protein powder to a morning smoothie – my pick is the IsoWhey Brown Rice & Pea Protein.”

“If you are exercising, protein in the diet will also assist in supporting your muscles’ ability to recover and heal after your workout. This then helps to maximise the results you achieve. Improving your lean muscle mass will ultimately increase your metabolism, as muscle is “active tissue” and burns more energy than fat does. Huge amounts of protein aren’t required; simply consuming regular protein sources (providing around 25g protein) can be beneficial.”

“All proteins contain various combinations of amino acids and other nutrients, and therefore variety of healthy sources is great to maximise your intake of a diverse range of essential nourishment. Ideal protein sources which are also highly nutritious include fish, lean meats (aim for grass-fed beef), eggs, raw nuts and seeds and legumes.

"At times, it can be difficult to find the time to prepare a protein-rich meal, and therefore protein supplements can come in handy. Organic, sprouted, brown rice and pea proteins can be a nice, nutritious and easy-to-digest source of protein which can be added to a smoothie. Throw in berries, pomegranate and some natural probiotic-rich yoghurt for a great protein- and antioxidant- rich start to the day.”

“The main type of proteins to avoid are those that contain high amounts of damaging and inflammatory fats, or other less healthy ingredients. For example, an obvious example would be a hamburger on a white bun with a charred meat patty, sauce and cheese. High in protein, yes, but not as healthy as it could be. Opt instead for leaner proteins together with vegetables or whole grain sides which nourish your body, help to keep your blood sugar stable and are lower in overall calories.”

“Whole grain sides, fibre-rich vegetables, fermented dishes/natural yoghurt all also help to support your gut health and feed the beneficial bacteria that reside there. A healthy balance of bacteria is suggested to support weight management through the ability of the bacteria to influence energy metabolism and blood sugar control.”