The High Protein Myth

Every other person, who starts hitting the gym, suddenly wants to go on an-all protein or a high protein diet! Now scientifically speaking – proteins are a fab part of our meals as they help us achieve that lean bod and burn fat. The scientific reason why most trainers insist on high protein is because during any form of intense exercise – where the body undergoes wear and tear, it leads to loss of muscle tissue. The amino acids (building blocks of protein) help repair our tissues and recover from the stress the exercise places on our body.

But most people instead of adopting a balanced, sensible approach towards protein intake, jump to consume excessive proteins. What they forget or rather not realize is that for proteins to really work to our advantage we need adequate supply of carbohydrates and fats in our diets too. If our diets do not include these – you just wasted those extra proteins and your money you spent on buying the expensive proteins.

So just because you are consuming a high protein does not mean that your body is reaping its benefits. Most people forget that our body is way too smart – when we feel we have done a smart thing by consuming higher protein and low carb, low fat meal – our body becomes extra shaana (smart 😉 ) – it does not store the protein for future use, it instead converts it to FAT by a process a deamination. This process takes place in the liver, where your protein just got broken down to glucose. There goes your plan of consuming High protein!

So when you consume your proteins, even if it is meat, it is always sensible to eat it as a part of the meal along with rice or roti and veggies and NEVER by itself. This way we ensure ideal absorption and assimilation of amino acids.

So, when it comes to eating – like I always insist, it is so much better to adopt a sensible plan instead of trying anything extreme 🙂

(Picture Courtesy – http://www.thebiosciences.com/cartoons/HighProteinDiet.png)

HighProteinDiet

Debunking Myths – Curbing Your Carbs…Really!!??

How often do we hear people around saying, “I am on Low Carb – High Protein diet” or “I am having no carbs for dinner” or “Carbs are oh-so fattening ” or How often do we read articles that so categorically state that Carbs are what make us prone to central obesity, diabetes, etc.?

How convenient is it to blame the CARBS and forget to look at our lifestyle – I mean, the fact that we were so occupied killing time on our lounge chairs or sofas or office chair or on our car seat – we were so busy stressing out over issues that really did not matter or even spend sleepless nights partying & drinking or watching movies or religiously completing assignments at the ‘last minute’. Oh! But all this is okay!! All  we need to do is cut our carbs.. Avoid rice and then all will be well. And we will be magically thin. Did we find Cinderella’s fairy godmother? And if we haven’t then let’s face some facts!!

Smile-and-carbohydrates

Let us start with considering the Chemistry of Carbs – what is a carbohydrate – when broken down to basics carbohydrates are a combination of Carbon, Hydrogen and Oxygen molecules. Now depending on how loosely or compactly they are tied together do they become simple carbs or complex carbs. And yes – our body needs both!

We find these simple carbs in all fruits and complex carbs in all grains including rice, dals/ pulses and lentils. These are natural foods. Now processed foods like cakes, biscuits, pizza, breads, ice creams, chocolates are also carbs, but these are not really complex because these are processed and refined (i.e.  The fibers from the grains have been completely peeled off and also have lots of added sugar). And yes, these are the carbs we need to restrict because they come with their share of the very popular trans-fats, sodium, preservatives, added colours and emulsifiers. They not only block, congest, clog and choke our arteries, they also raise our blood pressure, cause mood swings and YES, add to our girth – Central Obesity. So when indulging in such meals restrict to once a week and preferably before sunset, because that is when our digestive system is still in the ‘active mode’. ((I am so tempted to write about desserts here too, but I think I would leave that for another post & stick to my Carbs here!))

Did you know that our grains like rice, wheat, jowar, ragi, bajra, and the various dals and fruits we consume provide our body not just with energy-giving carbs [or calorie-giving carbs ;), hope you remember that calorie is nothing but unit of energy… Refer my last post on Calories] but also with essential fatty acids, amino acids, high fiber, water soluble B vitamins and loads of micro minerals like selenium, zinc, chromium and many other essential nutrients.

Are these not our doctor’s prescriptions for maintaining our youth and vitality… to improve our immunity… to help lower blood pressure? This in turn escalates peristalsis, improves fat burning and thus lead to a slimmer waist line and a definitely a healthier heart. Curbing your carbs diminishes your body’s ability to burn fat naturally. The key to success is MODERATION. Watch the quantity. Anything in excess is bad.