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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Eat Lean Protein With Every Meal

by Tony Gentilcore

Protein has the greatest Thermic Effect of Feeding (TEF) compared to fats and carbohydrates combined, which translates to more calories being burned during digestion.
Simply put, the body will burn more calories (upwards of 30%) assimilating and digesting protein than carbs (6%) and fats (3%). So for every 100 calories of protein ingested, the body will burn 30 calories just digesting it.

Additionally, protein provides essential (and non-essential) amino acids, which are the building blocks of precious lean muscle. Protein also takes longer to digest which will give you a greater feeling of satiety and prevent hunger pangs.

A Little Rant
If I hear one more registered dietician or physician mention that diets high in protein are dangerous, I'm going to go postal. First, let's make a list of things that are dangerous:
1. Putting your finger in an electrical socket.
2. Wearing a Yankees hat anywhere in downtown Boston.
3. Responding "yes" whenever your significant other asks you, "Does this make me look fat?"
4. Watching a Ben Affleck movie.
Those are dangerous. Diets high in protein are not dangerous. Many claim that high protein diets will strain or damage the kidneys. Thing is, there has never been one scientific study that has shown that diets high in protein harm the kidneys in any way in healthy individuals. I'm more likely to date Kate Beckinsdale than you are in finding a study which says high protein diets cause damage in the kidneys. (Read: Not gonna happen!)

And while there are some studies which do say that high protein diets cause renal (kidney) dysfunction, they were done on people who already had some sort of renal disease in the first place. Well, duh!

If I wasn't convincing enough, in a review titled "Dietary protein intake and renal function," published in Nutrition and Metabolism, Martin et al concluded:
"While protein restriction may be appropriate for treatment of existing renal disease, we find no significant evidence for a detrimental effect of high protein intakes on kidney function in healthy persons after centuries of a high protein Western diet."
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