In the Low-Carb, Ketosis-Based world we live in, emphasis is on eating less carbohydrates, no sugar, and more fats. Protein plays a very key role in weight loss and metabolic health, and not many people realize this. I found it out just this morning.
I was doing my annual work-related health biometric screening, and afterwards met with a P.A. who knew a lot about nutrition. I learned a few important things, and one is about protein and the way carbohydrates are broken down with the help of protein.
Carbohydrates, proteins, and fats are digested in the intestine, where they are broken down into their basic units:
- Carbohydrates into sugars.
- Proteins into amino acids.
- Fats into fatty acids and glycerol.
Protein and carbohydrates work together to keep your body healthy and functioning. The carbs you eat give you energy, while the protein builds muscles, skin, and hair. Both are needed in order to stabilize blood sugar and are best when eaten together.
Eating food can boost your metabolism for a short while. That’s because the body uses energy (calories) to digest and make use of the nutrients in foods. This is referred to as the thermic effect of food (TEF).
However, not all foods are the same in this regard. In fact, protein has a much higher thermic effect (20-35%) than fat or carbs (5-15%), and a high protein intake has been shown to significantly boost metabolism and increase the amount of calories you burn. This can amount to 80 to 100 more calories burned each day.
One study on protein during overfeeding found that a high protein group burned 260 more calories per day than a low-protein group. This is equivalent to an hour of moderate-intensity exercise per day!
Broken down into amino acids, used to build muscle and to make other proteins that are essential for the body to function. Broken down into fatty acids to make cell linings and hormones. Extra is stored in fat cells. After a meal, the blood sugar (glucose) level rises as carbohydrate is digested.
In a nutshell, yes-nuts are a great source of protein, when I decide to eat high-fiber yet also high-carb cereal for breakfast, while trying to remain low-carb, adding some vanilla protein powder to my unsweetened almond milk is a GOOD thing. I could also eat a side of cottage cheese, an egg or sausage.