Complete Proteins Needed During Weight Loss

One of the key concepts in weight loss is that one wants to lose fat and not just weight. Losing fat is the goal while preserving other types of body tissue. In particular, we want to maintain as much of our muscle tissue as possible.

One reason to conserve muscle tissue is that it burns the most calories in the resting state. So if we are sitting around and have good muscle mass we will burn calories or energy off at a higher rate than someone with less muscle mass or tone.

The second reason is that weight loss causes a loss of muscle tissue, so we want to counteract that as much as possible by actually lifting weights or doing muscle taxing activities such as isometric resistance or something of that sort.

Again, we want avoid a lot of weight loss at the expense of muscle tone or tissue. If we want to lose weight, we also want to look great. So losing muscle tissue could cause us to look gaunt or under nourished and we don’t want THAT look, do we?

We need to pay attention to our muscles. There are two things that can help our muscles during weight loss.

One is the intake of enough protein or amino acids. The reason for this is that our bodies need a fresh source of amino acids (in combination they are called proteins) once every 8 hours or so. If the body does not have this amino acid supply once every 8 hours, it will start to take the protein straight out of our muscles, causing a loss of muscle mass.

The other consideration with this is that if we do take in a protein, it needs to be a complete protein. A complete protein is one in which all of the essential amino acids are present.

‘Essential’ in nutritional terms means that it is something our body cannot synthesize on its own. In the case of amino acids, a human body uses 22 amino acids, 13 of which it can produce on it’s own from other sources. The other 9 are essential, meaning they absolutely have to come into the body via eating. ( or intravenously, but we aren’t there, are we? ) If they aren’t in our food, our bodies will not be able to build new muscle proteins.

Technically speaking there are only 8 truly essential amino acids. One is semi-essential in adults. That means that there are only certain conditions when it becomes ‘essential’.

Anyway, you need a complete protein, one that has all of the essential amino acids in it. I mention this because we can’t just look at a food label and think we are getting what we need just because it says it has protein in it.

Animal meat and milk, including skim milk, have all of the essential amino acids in them. Soy milk does NOT have all of the essential amino acids. Keep that in mind. It is not a true replacement for cow’s milk for that reason.

If one is a vegetarian, he need not fear. There are food combinations that can help one get all of the essential amino acids at one meal. (I know some people don’t think they all need to be present at one meal, I disagree.) Anyway, as vegetarians, we ought to already know about food combining.

Weight bearing or strengthening exercises are necessary during weight loss to maintain muscle tone and mass. All of the essential amino acids must be present in our food approximately once every 8 hours. Eating should actually be more frequent than that for another reason.

Here are two additional sources for weight loss information aside from my free weight loss list:

Weight Loss E-Book         Weight Loss on Audio

This article is not meant to give advice. It reflects the author’s opinion only. Consult your physician if you need advice on weight loss or any other health issue.

David Snape writes for ToBeInformed.com. You can join his weight loss email list to have more weight loss articles sent to you.

Copyright 2006. All Rights Reserved (do not copy)

 

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