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Thursday, January 15, 2009

Complete Protein

At some point or another, you've probably heard that having adequate amounts of complete protein in your diet is necessary for weight loss. Protein is the basic building blocks of our muscles. We need protein to help keep, maintain and build muscle.

The more muscle we have, the more calories our bodies burn while at rest (when you're not working out). If we don't get enough protein in our daily diets our bodies ability to grow and maintain muscle becomes inhibited which then can lead to a slower metabolism.

So you may ask, what type of protein should I eat? You want to make sure you're comsuming complete protein. A complete protein is one that contains all 9 of the essential amino acids. Our bodies manufacture 12 amino acids and the other 9 (the essential amino acids) must come from diet.

Animal protein such as meat, poultry, seafood and dairy is complete because it contains all the essential amino acids. Soy is also a complete source of protein. Incomplete protein comes from plant-based foods such as grains, rice, legumes (with the exception of soy) and vegetables.

If you're vegetarian or have a hard time eating meat, there is good news! Combining some incomplete proteins do make a complete protein. However, be careful consuming a lot of these incomplete protein combinations because they are high in carbs. Also, they yield very small amounts of protein.

Examples of incomplete protein combinations to get a complete protein:
whole wheat grains and peanut butter
whole wheat pasta with veggies
rice and beans
whole grain cereal and nuts

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