Take the Mystery out of the High-Protein,
by Cymber Quinn
HOW DO CARBOHYDRATES AFFECT YOUR WEIGHT?
Carbohydrates are healthy, filling, satisfying
and taste good, but they also can add weight.
Much of the epidemic of obesity is attributable
to a marked in crease in over-consumption
of carbohydrates. Your body uses carbohydrates
as fuel, and if you eat too many carbohydrates,
they are stored as fat.
Insulin, a natural hormone that your body
produces, plays an important role in converting
carbohydrates into fuel and fat. If you
understand how insulin works to create fat,
you are a long way towards reaching your
weight goals. Let?s get started.
Eating excessive carbohydrates causes an
over-release of insulin. Among its many
jobs, insulin signals the body to take in
food (it has been called the "hunger
hormone") and, once the food is consumed,
signals the body to store the food energy
in the form of fat. Too much insulin results
in too strong an impulse to eat, too often,
and a body that too readily stores food
in the form of fat.
The scientific term for this condition
is ?post-prandial reactive hyperinsulinemia?
which means too much insulin is released
after eating. Over time, people who are
hyperinsulinemic become insulin resistant.
That means the cells in their muscles, nervous
systems, and organs stop working with the
insulin to open the doors to these cells
and allow food energy (blood sugar or glucose)
to enter. At this point, you may experience
symptoms of low-blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia)
including irritability, shakiness, tiredness,
intense cravings, confusion, and headaches.
Once the blood sugar cannot easily enter
the muscles, nervous system, or organs,
much of the food energy gets channeled into
the fat cells and weight gain comes easily.
Over time, however, as high insulin levels
continue, even the fat cells can shut down
and the blood glucose gets trapped in the
blood stream bringing on the condition known
as adult-onset diabetes.
A high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet restricts
the intake of carbohydrates and reduces
the intake of those foods that stimulate
the production and release of insulin. You?ll
be able to lose weight and shake the cravings,
and look forward to a healthier life.
THE NUTS AND BOLTS OF THE HIGH PROTEIN,
LOW CARBOHYDRATE DIET
Increased protein consumption with restriction
of carbohydrates, especially simple sugars,
starches, reduces the stimulation of insulin,
which is the hormone that facilitates the
storage of fat. When sugar from carbohydrates
is unavailable, the body turns on its fat
burners and extracts energy from its own
stored fat. The consequences are rapid weight
loss and preferential fat loss. By supplementing
the diet with high levels of protein, vitamins
and minerals, you maintain muscle mass and
enjoy other health benefits, while losing
weight quickly and safely. Here?s how to
Eat 4-5 small protein portions (12-15g
of protein each) and one meal. Or eat 3-4
small protein portions and two meals. For
example, you might enjoy a protein shake
for breakfast, a protein bar a few hours
before noon, a shake and salad for lunch,
some soy nuts a few hours before dinner.
With this example, you can indulge in a
great-tasting and filling dinner consisting
of some of your favorite foods that are
high in protein and taste but low in carbohydrates.
Meals should consist of:
PROTEIN: as much as you want, preferably
skinless, lean white meats. Enjoy your favorite
cuts of meat or fish such as top sirloin,
chicken breast, pork chops or filet of sole.
Or make an omelet loaded with real cheese
and slices of fiber-rich vegetables such
as broccoli, cauliflower, fresh mushrooms,
green pepper, scallions, spinach and green
SALADS: consisting largely of greens and
selected vegetable such as radishes, mushrooms,
cucumber, celery and various peppers. Jazz
up your salad with slices of chicken, turkey
or cheese. Or pile it high with tuna, shrimp,
or crab meat.
VEGETABLES: choices, choices, choices including
bean sprouts, broccoli, cabbage, mushrooms,
green pepper, spinach, and lettuce. Stir
fry a selection of vegetables in olive oil
and add chicken, beef, turkey, or even tofu
(extra firm is best). Eat them raw, dipped
in olive oil or with a low-carbohydrate
If you are eating two meals per day, they
should consist of only protein and vegetables.
Be creative and remember to vary your selections
and try new dishes as often as possible.
Fruits should be limited, but if you must
eat fruit as a treat, peaches and plums
are preferred. However, try to eat these
fruits only two or three times per week.
Eating small amounts frequently throughout
the day helps speed up your metabolism so
that you continue to burn calories. Try
roasted soy nuts, protein bars, and soups
to help maintain steady blood sugar levels
and keep you feeling energized.
NO-NOS FOR THE DIET In order for this diet
to be successful, the following foods should
be eliminated: *Products containing simple
sugars, including fruit, sweets, and many
commercial sauces and dressings. *Products
made from white flour, breads, pastas and
cereals. *Naturally occurring complex carbohydrates
such as rice, potatoes, corn and grains.
Other carbohydrates that should be avoided
are those that are quickly converted into
simple sugars, such as carrots, beets, and
many fruits. They encourage the production
and release of insulin. Elimination of these
foods is critical to shutting off insulin
and reversing the body from an efficient
fat storer to an efficient fat burner.
Do not eat *Bread and all of its relatives,
crackers, cookies, pastries, doughnuts,
pies and muffins *Chick peas, dried beans,
lentils, pinto beans *Cereals, hot or cold,
sweetened or unsweetened *Most fruits, except
for plums and peaches *All products made
of white flour *Root vegetables such as
carrots, turnips, parsnips and beets *Snacks
including pretzels, potato chips, popcorn
* White rice, potatoes and corn
YEAH, RIGHT. WHO EATS LIKE THIS? Actually,
until very recently, all humans did. And
our ancestors used to get a lot more exercise
that we do. They chopped wood, carried water,
tended gardens, hunted animals and never
spent all day sitting at a computer. In
our wonderful world of progress, we have
created an environment perfect for getting
fat and unhealthy. We have grown up in a
lifestyle of luxurious, delicious carbohydrates
that our forefathers and foremothers never
heard of or ever dreamed about.
But we live in a world of today, and sticking
to this diet, especially in the beginning
can be challenging. There are several important
keys to making a change to your diet and
sticking to it.
Replace something you must give up with
something you love that you can eat. If
you just eliminate a food, you will spend
a lot of time thinking about how much you
miss it. Instead, plan to eat something
else that is ok. For example, when I gave
up wheat products, I substituted olives
and peaches, and ate as much as I wanted
until I didn?t miss the wheat any more.
Have a ?Cheat Day.? Plan that one day per
week, you can eat whatever you want. Completely
go off the diet for 24 hours and go hog
wild. Then the next day, get back on the
diet. Having a cheat day makes it easier
to transition into your new diet and slowly
say good-bye to your old carbo friends.
Here?s another benefit. Over time, you will
find that you feel pretty darn crummy the
day after your cheat day, and you won?t
want to cheat anymore. Thursdays were my
cheat days. On Thursdays, I ate pizza and
bread sticks, and drank beer with abandon.
In a surprisingly short number of weeks,
I started feeling miserable on Fridays,
like I had a terrible hangover. It wasn?t
long before I felt so terrible that I never
wanted pizza again.
Once you reach your weight goals, you can
reintroduce carbohydrates into your diet.
To keep your weight off for good, certain
carbohydrates should continue to be restricted.
This doesn?t mean you can never have a baked
potato or a plate of spaghetti again, but
it does suggest that products made with
white sugar, white flour and certain root
vegetables should be a rare culinary event.
You can phase in potato skins and whole-grain
pasta once you?re on to maintenance way
As you increase carbohydrates, concentrate
on small fruits with the highest antioxidant
power such as blueberries, grapes, strawberries,
plums, peaches and apricots. Leave behind
the bananas, mango, papaya, pears, melon
As with all new diets and nutritional changes,
make an appointment with your family doctor
and have a physical to rule out any underlying
medical conditions that could be aggravated
by this diet. If you are in good physical
shape, you may experience symptoms caused
by your body going through a carbohydrate
withdrawal such as weakness, dizziness and
nausea. Your body should adjust to the new
fat-burning metabolism within a few days
and the symptoms should disappear. Make
sure you?re drinking plenty of water because
water loss accompanies the first few days
of carbohydrate restriction. Many people
find eating small, high-protein snacks every
few hours as opposed to three larger meals
a day helps as well.
Cymber S. Quinn is a nutrition consultant
and business coach for Gr8Living. Please
contact her for more information on weight
loss and tips on changing your eating habits,
408-353-9775, or http://www.slimdiet4you.com.