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Friday, November 22, 2013


The human need for protein is so powerful that they tend to overeat to consume more, according to a research published in Obesity Reviews.
Our bodies need daily nutrients — and one of the most important ones is protein, found in meat, fish, legumes, eggs and tofu. Protein alone doesn't do our body much good, but when digested, it is broken down into essential amino acids that our bodies need to function properly. Protein is crucial to the body's make-up. It helps build bones, muscles, skin, and blood, as well creating enzymes, hormones, and vitamins.

It's not that we don't enough protein, though. “We are definitely usually getting the right amount of protein, it’s just that we are eating it in the wrong balance with other foods,” said Dr. Alison Gosby, a University of Sydney postdoctoral research fellow. “The strength of our nutritional drive for protein is frightening within our current nutritional environment, where a large number of low-protein, high-calorie foods are consumed on a regular basis.”
“We found that regardless of your age or BMI, your appetite for protein is so strong that you will keep eating until you get enough protein, which could mean you’re eating much more than you should,” Gosby said in a press release.

People on low incomes are particularly at risk of over-weight and obesity, and may have the most trouble affording protein-rich foods. “When the proportion of protein in a food is low, it is generally cheaper,” she said. “This works on two levels to dilute dietary protein: through the food industry and also through the consumer.”

A study in which Dr Gosby was involved found that, when people dropped the proportion of calories they got from protein from 15% to 10%, their overall energy intake shot up by 12%, or about 1000 kilojoules.
They also appeared to shift towards snacking on savoury snacks. “We think they were looking for protein,” she said. However, she cautioned that diets above 20% protein produced only small declines in energy intake, and studies on animals indicated they could be unhealthy in the long term.

There are plenty of studies using high-protein diets for weight loss, and they do seem to work very well, but only in the short term, as people don't seem to be able to maintain the increased intake in the long term anyway,” she said. Dr Gosby's review found the drive for protein seemed to be spread over a one- or two-day period, so not every meal needed to have a high protein content. It is thought a woman of average weight needs at least 46 grams of protein each day, while an average man needs at least 64 grams.

“We are not sure whether there is also a carbohydrate target that needs to be reached, or whether it's just the [current nutritional] environment pushing us away from protein.”Gosby concluded.

Calories provided by protein
Protein and carbohydrate provide about 17 kJ per gram consumed, whereas fat provides about 37 kJ per gram.


Sources: http://www.smh.com.au/