Drop pounds with protein

I’m fed up with these stubborn last pounds that refuse to budge. I’ve tried working out twice a day, slashing calories, cutting out sugar…they still hang on to my thighs like fleas on a dog. I visited a dietician last week who told me to try eating more protein and slashing carbs.

If you are a reader of my blog, you know that I’m a huge proponent of focusing on what you CAN have and not what you CAN’T. So, I decided to try to incorporate more protein at every meal. I did a bit of research to better understand how this works. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported that participants in a recent study felt more satisfaction, less hunger and experienced more weight loss when they followed a diet of 30 percent protein, 50 percent carbohydrates and 20 percent fat. This seems reasonable, right? According to the Harvard School of Public Health, the average American’s diet is comprised of 15 percent protein. This means if you eat like the average American, you’ll need to double up your protein intake.

It’s a lot better than Atkins or other high protein diets that ban carbs altogether. But, how much protein do you need? If you are eating a 1,500 calorie diet, you will want 450 calories from protein, 750 calories from carbohydrates and 300 calories from fat. This is not only pretty easy to do, but it will result in greater satisfaction than a diet higher in carbohydrates and lower in fat. A diet high in protein can increase your metabolism, keep hunger at bay and has a natural diuretic effect. Research also shows that the amount of quality protein directly results in increasing your metabolic rate, increasing weight loss, improving muscle fitness, enchanting insulin and leptin function and reducing the risk of diabetes. Sign me up!

But not all protein is created equally. Fish and poultry are the best sources of animal protein, while beans and nuts are the best vegetarian sources. A report on cancer prevention recommends less than 18 ounces of week of red meat and abstinence from processed meat (such as hot dogs and ham) to lower the risk of colon cancer. This same report showed that red meat consumption is directly correlated with elevated risk for cancer, heart disease and diabetes.
My dietician also recommended whey protein powder as a supplement to help increase my protein intake. I make a protein shake every morning with whey protein powder, spinach and frozen fruit to start the day with 30 grams of protein. I personally like the Unjury chocolate whey protein powder because it tastes great and has low sugar, low calories and a hefty amount of protein. Whey protein can enhance athletic performance, build strength and result in greater weight loss than diet and exercise alone. Just watch out for the whey protein powders and bars that have a high amount of sugar. Many of the commercial  protein bars are loaded with sugar and other unnecessary ingredients which negate the positive effects of the protein powder. I decided to make my own protein bars to ensure that I was only getting the best ingredients and not a bunch of added junk. Give these bars a try and let me know what you think!
Stacy’s Yummy Homemade Protein Bars
  • 3 scoops Unjury chocolate whey protein powder
  • 2 Tbsp. Trader Joes Blueberry Flax Seed
  • 1 mashed banana
  • 1/2 cup agave syrup
  • 1/2 cup natural peanut butter
  • 1 tsp vanila extract
  • 1 1/2 cups museli
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chunks
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds
Mix museli, protein powder, flax seeds, coconut, cherries and almonds together, toss lightly to coat. Add mashed banana, agave syrup, peanut butter and vanilla extract in the bowl and mix well. Add cherries and stir lightly to combine. Spread mixture in 9X12 baking dish covered in plastic wrap. Refriderate until firm. Cut into 15 bars and wrap in plastic wrap. Place in the freezer for up to a month.