17 November 2011

You are what you eat...

Ah, those cute little proteins - is there another good reason to stock up?

Seriously, I guess we are pretty much all aware that choosing protein-based food sources can be a helpful thing for weight loss, as long as they are also low in fat that is.

After all, high-protein foods move relatively slowly from your stomach to intestines, so by choosing a sensible amount of protein as part of your meal you'll tend to feel fuller for longer. What's more, protein has a nice steady-as-it-goes effect on blood sugars (as opposed to some carbohydrates, particularly the more processed varieties), helping to avoid rapid rises followed by the 'I'm hungry and I want to nibble' slump. Even better, the body apparently has to use up more energy (thus burn more calories) to digest protein than it does to digest fats or carbohydrates.

But  research recently published in the journal Neuron adds a little something else to this...

It appears that a meal/snack incorporating amino acids (the building blocks of proteins) prods little cells in our bodies called orexin cells into action. Why does this matter? Well, these orexin cells stimulate wakefulness (making us feel less dopey and more alert) and, more importantly from a weight loss perspective, they also instruct the body to burn calories.

To quote the researcher, Dr Denis Burdakov, from the University of Cambridge, "For now, research suggests that if you have a choice between jam on toast, or egg whites on toast, go for the latter! Even though the two may contain the same number of calories, having a bit of protein will tell the body to burn more calories out of those consumed."

For more information see 3pm slump?

OK then, having been given another reason to choose some 'good' proteins to munch on I'd say that reduced fat cottage cheese may make even more of an appearance at lunchtimes than it has up to now.

Now if you'll excuse me, I may just pop off and boil myself a nice egg.


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