‘Healthier’ Fast Food Options for Kids May Not Be


Promises of healthier kids’ meals have drawn increasing numbers of families back to fast food restaurants, but most kids are still being served unhealthy options, a new survey finds.

Nine out of 10 parents had purchased lunch or dinner for their child in the past week at one of the big four fast food chains in 2016, up from 8 of 10 parents in 2010, the results showed.

This increase was driven in part by fast food claims that they’ve replaced sugary sodas and greasy french fries with healthier options in kids’ meals, said lead researcher Jennifer Harris, director of marketing initiatives for the University of Connecticut’s Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity.

But children are still dining on kids’ meals full of fat, sodium and calories, with no sign that the healthier options are making much of a difference, Harris added.

“It’s a marketing tactic on the part of these restaurants to make parents think their products are healthy,” Harris said. “If they can make parents think it’s actually a healthy choice to take their child there, then it’s good for their business. That’s what we found, even though what kids are getting really hasn’t changed.”

Since 2013, the four largest fast food restaurant chains — McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s and Subway — have introduced policies to offer healthier drinks and sides with their kids’ meals, Harris said.

To see whether these policies have made a difference, the Rudd Center conducted an online survey with approximately 800 parents regarding lunch or dinner purchases at one of the big four chains.

Published Sept. 27, the Rudd survey found that 74 percent of kids still receive unhealthy drinks or side items with their kids’ meals when they eat fast food:

  • Only 6 out of 10 parents who purchased a kids’ meal received a healthier drink such as low-fat milk or fruit juice, indicating no change between 2010 and 2016.
  • Two-thirds of parents chose a healthier drink for a preschool-age child (2-5), on average, but only half chose a healthier drink for an older child (6-11).
  • Half of parents received a healthier side with a kids’ meal in 2016, such as yogurt or apple slices. However, 6 out of 10 received an unhealthy side like french fries or chips, since some restaurants now offer two sides with kids’ meals.
The healthy-option policies have made a difference in one critical way, however.

Nearly all of the parents said they plan to purchase fast food for their child more often because of restaurants’ healthier kids’ meal policies, researchers found.

“When you ask parents about that, they think it’s great that kids’ meals are healthier now,” Harris said. “But there really hasn’t been any change.”

About one-third of parents didn’t even bother with a kids’ meal for their children. They purchased regular menu items, which include adult-sized portions and tend to be less nutritious than kids’ meal items.

The Rudd Center argues that policymakers should follow the lead of communities in California, Colorado, Kentucky and Maryland, where laws or regulations have been adopted to require that all restaurants automatically provide healthy drinks and sides with kids’ meals.

Restaurants can help by promoting healthier choices and discontinuing the practice of offering unhealthy sides alongside healthier sides, the Rudd Center added.

But parents also need to step up, said registered dietitian nutritionist Malina Linkas Malkani, a spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

“Until there is more widely enacted legislation that requires the restaurants to automatically offer these healthy choices, the responsibility falls pretty squarely on parents and caregivers to make the healthier choices and to teach their children how to make those choices for themselves,” Malkani said.

Parents should teach kids to avoid foods heavy in added sugars, sodium and saturated fat, Malkani said. They also should promote foods rich in protein, calcium, vitamin D, iron, healthy fats and vitamin C.

Malkani said it was “disheartening to hear the high percentage of children who received the less healthy beverages and sides, but I did think it was good news that there are healthier beverages and sides available.

“I have to give so much credit to the chains that are offering the healthier choices automatically. I hope this is a trend that takes off,” she said.

How Much Protein Do You Really Need?


It’s important food for your cells, but is it possible to overdo it?
Protein-You-Really-Need_Feature

With so many protein bars, shakes, and supplements on the market, it’s kind of been hammered into our heads that protein is the wonder nutrient.

It is an important building block for our cells, essential to repair old ones and build new ones. Which is why we think about it most commonly as a post-workout muscle-builder. Recent compelling studies have shown that a higher-protein diet may potentially help with weight management—particularly by helping us feel more satiated, and helping burn fat mass and maintain lean muscle. It also may have benefits for your heart. But the research is small and far from conclusive.

So how much protein should you eat? And can you ever eat too much? We talked to nutritionists and scoured studies to find out how much protein is healthy to pack into each day.

First of all, there’s no easy one-size-fits-all recommendation on how much protein you should get.

The current USDA Dietary Guidelines recommend protein make up somewhere between 10 and 35 percent of your daily calories (but some nutrition experts think 35 sounds really high). A lot of people automatically think of 2,000 calories a day as the standard, but that might not be right for you—you may be eating more or less depending on your weight, fitness level, weight loss goals, and if you’re pregnant.

“Your [ideal amount of protein] will vary based on caloric needs and whatever else you have going on,” Kristen F. Gradney, R.D., director of nutrition and metabolic services at Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, tells SELF. “For example, if you work out and lift weights three or four days a week, you’re going to need a little more than somebody who doesn’t. It varies.”

You can also use the calculation from the Institute of Medicine, which says the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of protein for adults should be 0.8 g/kg body weight. To calculate it, divide your weight in pounds by 2.2, then multiply by 0.8. “So for a 130-pound woman, that would be 47 grams of protein,” explains Jessica Fishman Levinson, R.D., founder of nutrition counseling company Nutritioulicious. For an even more personalized look at your protein needs, use this handy USDA nutrient calculator, which also takes into account your height and activity level.

Let’s be honest: all of the different calculations make it a bit confusing. But in the end, you’ll get a very similar result no matter which way you think about it. Just remember that your recommended grams means grams of protein in your food, not the serving size. So for example, a 4-ounce piece of sirloin steak has 24 grams of protein.

Complicated math aside, chances are you’re getting the right amount of protein without even thinking about it.

According to the 2015 USDA dietary guidelines committee, most people are getting just about (or just under) the recommended amount of “protein foods,” meaning meat, poultry, and eggs. Here’s the rub: “protein foods” doesn’t include dairy, soy, or grains, so if you’re eating those things (which you probably are), it’s likely you’re right in the middle of the recommendations without really trying.

Research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition following a protein summit of over 60 nutrition experts found that the average American currently gets 16 percent of their daily calories from protein, but that we could eat more than that. The suggestion to increase protein intake isn’t widely accepted though, and more research needs to be done to determine if the benefits are enough to make sweeping recommendations.

There is a chance of overdoing it, and over time that can lead to some adverse health effects.

“You can always have too much of anything,” Levinson says. “But [overloading on protein] is more common in athletes and body builders, especially those who use protein powders multiple times a day in addition to the other protein they’re getting from their diet,” Levinson explains.

Most nutrients have a certain level that the average person can eat in a day before experiencing negative effects, called the “tolerable upper intake level.” Right now, there isn’t one that’s known for protein because we don’t have enough research to show what it would be.

Eating too much protein over time (months or years, depending on genetics) can lead to kidney problems, though. “Protein is a very big molecule that your body has to break down,” Gradney explains, so overloading puts unnecessary pressure on the kidneys. If your protein sources are animal-based, eating too much can also mean eating too many saturated fats, which can affect your heart and weight negatively.

Other downfalls of eating too much protein: “If intake of protein is more than needed, it won’t be burned and instead will be stored in the body and can lead to weight gain,” Levinson says. Also, eating too much protein might make you eat less of other important nutrients, making your diet unbalanced. If you’re replacing carbs, which your body burns for fuel, your body may start to burn protein instead, which can lead to bad breath, she adds. It can also, weirdly, make your sweat smell like ammonia—it’s one of the by-products when the amino acids in protein are broken down.

In the end, the types of protein you eat (and when) matters the most.

In general, according to the 2015 Dietary Guidelines, we’re eating enough protein. However, Levinson says, we’re not necessarily getting it from the best sources. Many people (especially boys and men) are getting too much of it from meat, poultry and eggs, and not enough from seafood and legumes, which count as both a protein and a vegetable.

Eating a variety of proteins will also ensure you’re not missing out on the other nutrients your body needs, or going overboard on calories. And it’s pretty much impossible to overeat protein on a plant-based diet, so it’s more likely you’ll naturally stay within your ideal intake range versus if you’re only getting protein from red meat and poultry.

Spacing out your protein intake throughout the day may help enhance protein’s effects on your muscles. “Research is showing that protein should be spread out throughout the day rather than the majority being consumed at one meal, which is usually what people do when they eat most of their protein at dinner,” Levinson says. She suggests getting no more than 30 grams in one meal.

Protein: The Missing Piece to the Diabetes Puzzle


If you take insulin for diabetes, you might have heard that you can eat protein-rich foods and not need insulin to cover them. Also, if you have type 2 diabetes and do not use insulin, you may find that eating protein raises your blood sugar.

Learning how to manage your blood sugar levels while getting adequate protein is important because protein intake is non-negotiable. As the US Department of Health and Human Services states, every cell in your body contains protein and is an essential part of your diet, as it is needed for cellular repair and division. Protein is also vital for growth and development in children, teens, as well as pregnant women.

In this post, we’ll explain how protein raises blood sugar, stimulates the production of insulin (or raises the need for insulin intake), and share tips on how to manage dietary protein if you have diabetes.

WHY Do Blood Sugars Rise After Eating Protein?

Proteins are composed of amino acid building blocks and are regarded as the workhorses of the cell. They serve numerous vital cellular functions, ranging from DNA replication to glucose metabolism.

They stimulate the secretion of insulin and glucagon. Insulin lowers blood sugar and glucagon raises it.

These two hormones work together in those without diabetes to keep their blood sugars tightly controlled at all times.

In those with diabetes, glucagon is secreted but insulin isn’t (or it’s insufficient) and this causes blood sugar to rise.

Protein and Insulin

Besides regulating our blood sugar levels, it’s important to know that insulin is required to build and maintain muscle.

We know that body builders wanting to gain muscle strive to consume great amounts of protein in their diet and we know that protein requires insulin to metabolize. Those who seek to lose weight often strive to lower insulin levels by eating adequate protein but limiting carbohydrates and fat until their weight gets to a healthy level. Limiting carbohydrates versus protein makes sense because protein is necessary and there is currently no empirical proof that we require carbohydrates to thrive.

Though it may be stressful for people with diabetes to manage blood sugars with protein at first, it is important to eat an adequate amount of protein and administer the correct amount of insulin for that protein intake.

Research shows that if you’re trying to lose weight, raising your protein intake is beneficial. In a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers compared four diets and found that the high-protein Akins Diet resulted in more weight loss in premenopausal women. Another study published in The New England Journal of Medicine concluded that “In this large European study, a modest increase in protein content and a modest reduction in the glycemic index led to an improvement in study completion and maintenance of weight loss.”

The Effects of Protein Intake on Glycogenolysis and Gluconeogenesis

Protein intake stimulates glucagon secretion, which can promote the release of additional glucose into the bloodstream by increasing the rates of both glycogenolysis and gluconeogenesis. Glycogenolysis is the process by which the liver breaks down stored glycogen, branched sugar molecules. Gluconeogenesis refers to the de novo production of glucose from non-carbohydrate precursors, including amino acids.

Our liver is always secreting various amounts of glucose by breaking down stored glycogen and our body is constantly working to refuel for that process. If this process didn’t occur, we’d have to eat all the time. It’s just the body’s way of supplying itself a constant source of energy.

To put it another way, amino acids from the protein you consume stimulate the release of glucagon. This causes stored glycogen from your liver to be secreted when the appropriate counteracting dose of insulin is not taken.

What happens next is that the released glycogen will trigger a need for the liver to refill its glycogen stores and this process drives gluconeogenesis. So if you give enough insulin for your protein foods, you’ll limit the rate of gluconeogenesis, since insulin counteracts the actions of glucagon, suppressing both glycogenolysis and gluconeogenesis.

The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism published a paper about a study which revealed that no matter what you eat, gluconeogenesis is occurring–even when we don’t eat. As for our liver turning glycogen into glucose, this happens to a lesser degree when someone eats very low-carb because on a very low-carb diet, the body uses fat for energy.

Here is a graph indicating these findings:

Glucose and fat supply the body with energy. When we are not consuming carbohydrates, fat becomes the body’s primary energy source. If we have extra body fat, that is what will be used for energy, and if not, sufficient dietary fat is necessary to provide adequate fuel.

The bottom line is that glucagon will raise blood sugar after eating protein-rich foods but administering a sufficient insulin dose will prevent blood sugar levels from rising more than necessary. Very low carbohydrate intake allows for fat to become the body’s source of energy and this means that less glucose will be secreted by the liver via the metabolic process called glycogenolysis.

Continue reading for information specific to handling dietary protein whether you have type 2 diabetes or type 1 diabetes.

Type 2 Diabetes and Dietary Protein

In those with type 2 diabetes, there may be a substantial rise in blood sugars after a protein-rich meal, leading to frustration and protein avoidance. Research has shown that those with type 2 diabetes have insulin resistance and thus altered insulin signaling which causes this blood sugar rise from protein.

In a study by the Joslin Medical Center and Havard Medical School, researchers explain what they think causes insulin resistance: “In rare cases, the cause is genetic, but in most others, insulin resistance is triggered by cellular perturbations, such as lipotoxicity, inflammation, glucotoxicity, mitochondrial dysfunction, and ER stress, which lead to deregulation of genes and inhibitory protein modifications, resulting in impaired insulin and IGF-1 action.”

It may help to take in adequate protein to limit this blood sugar rise since the amino acids in protein stimulate the secretion of insulin. In a study published in the Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism researchers looked at the glucose and insulin responses of 50 grams of protein on those with type 2 diabetes compared with those without diabetes.

This graph shows their findings:

The researchers concluded that “increasing the protein content of the diet with a corresponding decrease in the carbohydrate content potentially is a patient empowering way of reducing the hyperglycemia present with type 2 diabetes mellitus, independent of the use of pharmaceutical agents.”

That means they found that eating more protein and fewer carbohydrates seem to help lower blood sugar levels in those with type 2 diabetes.

The amino acids in the protein intake stimulate more insulin secretion, and this may help someone with type 2 diabetes better manage their blood sugar levels.

Type 1 Diabetes and Dietary Protein

The rise in blood sugar from protein may be most noticeable in those with type 1 diabetes who eat a low carb diet because they notice that while they don’t need much insulin to cover the limited carbohydrates in their food, they still need an extra amount for their protein intake or blood sugar levels will rise post-meal.

In those who eat more carbs with their food, because it’s harder to match greater amounts of fast-acting insulin with carb intake and carb intake affects blood sugars much more potently, there may often be a higher than ideal post-meal blood sugar and it won’t be as clear that the protein took a little part in the rise. In addition, consuming fewer carbohydrates may also increase the rate of gluconeogenesis.

In other words, lowering carbohydrates makes it more obvious that protein requires insulin. Protein requires insulin whether you do or don’t have diabetes.

When a type 1 tries to eat a “free” snack of just protein, they will often wonder how they ended up with high blood sugar later.

Those using a fast-acting insulin in an insulin pump will sometimes use a different type of insulin dose that is split up into more than one part. Or those taking shots will add an additional insulin shot an hour or more after eating to combat the small rise in blood sugar from a high protein meal.

A woman with type 1 diabetes named Mary Williams shared her experience: “Until I found out that protein impacted blood sugars, my low carb diet was not as useful as I hoped it would be. Once I learned to cover my protein intake, I was happy to find that my blood sugars were much steadier after meals. It was the missing piece of the puzzle for my diabetes management.”

 

Dr. Bernstein’s Recommendation for Type 1 Diabetes

The information on protein and the way it works with insulin and impacts our blood sugars has much to do with the recommendations put forth by Dr. Bernstein, author of Dr. Bernstein’s Diabetes Solution. It’s worth sharing that remarkable blood sugar stability is observed in those who follow his methods outlined in the book and online in his Diabetes University video sessions.

Dr. Bernstein recommends people with type 1 diabetes eat very low-carb and for use with that diet, he recommends Regular “R” human insulin in conjunction with a basal insulin. The action of this older insulin when given before a low-carb, high-protein meal matches the subtle rise from the protein very closely and helps to keep blood sugar levels stable.

Below, you’ll see a graph that indicates how R insulin works with his low-carb recommendations:

Protein is digested more slowly, giving a much slower rise in blood sugar levels while leaving us more satiated.

RD Dikeman holds a PhD in physics and is the father of a child with type 1 diabetes as well as a member of the Type1Grit support community on Facebook that follows Dr. Bernstein’s dietary and diabetes management recommendations.

Dikeman explains how the blood sugar rising actions of protein and carbohydrate are very different. For example, a cookie from Starbucks that contains 60 grams of carbohydrate requires about the same amount of insulin as a 12-16 oz steak. However, a crucial distinction should be made over the fact that because the steak digests over about 8 hours and the cookie in about 1-2 hours, the blood sugar response is very different. And of course, there is real nutritional value in protein foods versus cookies.

About the use of R insulin for his son he adds that “using R to cover low carb, high protein meals is a revelation and makes going from breakfast to lunch and lunch to dinner NEARLY set it and forget it.”

If following a low-carb diet is not for you, then the fast-acting insulin types like Humalog, Novolog, and Apidra are necessary to counteract the carbohydrate action of foods.

Bottom Line: Don’t Forget Protein

People with diabetes tend to focus immensely on the carbohydrate content of their foods but it pays not to forget about protein and the biological processes that influence our blood sugars.

It may also help people with diabetes to check blood sugar levels often in order to catch them before they continue to rise, as well as to learn how different foods impact blood sugars.

For some, the small rise from protein in foods may not move them out of personal blood sugar goal ranges but if you want to manage your blood sugars more tightly, it pays to know that protein raises blood sugars and that there are ways to improve blood sugar management whether you have type 1 or 2 diabetes.

Regardless of how many carbohydrates you consume, remember that protein intake is necessary for good health. Look for high-quality sources and make sure you get enough at each meal.

How Much Protein Can Your Muscles Absorb In One Sitting?


How Much Protein Can Your Muscles Absorb In One Sitting?

It would seem logical that the more protein you pack away during a meal, the bigger your muscles would grow.

But your body doesn’t work that way. There’s a certain amount of protein your muscles can absorb in one sitting.

Fast Bodyweight Workouts From Men’s Health That Are So Intense, They Rip Away Body Fat!

“Skeletal muscle protein synthesis is maximized by 25 to 35 grams of high-quality protein during a meal,” says Doug Paddon-Jones, Ph.D., a professor of nutrition and metabolism at the University of Texas Medical Branch.

“Protein synthesis” is basically a fancy way of saying “building and repairing muscle.” Exercise creates microtears in your muscles. The harder you work, the more tears. Protein helps repair these tears, causing your muscles to grow bigger and stronger.

If your muscles receive fewer than 25 grams of protein in a sitting, however, muscle tears brought on by exercise persist due to lack of building materials.

But if your muscles receive more than 35 grams of protein, they have all the building materials they need and the protein goes to other parts of your body—or into the toilet. (For a deep dive into workout nutrition, check out What and When You Should Eat to Build Muscle.)

The magic amount of protein your muscles are capable of absorbing during a meal seems to be about 25 to 35 grams.

You could get that from:

1 cup cottage cheese (28 grams protein)
1 cup Greek yogurt plus a handful of nuts (25g)
A palm size portion of steak, fish and/or poultry (28g)
3 whole eggs + 3 egg whites (27g)
1 scoop of whey protein (25 g) (Use the scoop in any of these 20 Healthy, Protein-Packed Shakes.)

So chewing through an entire side of beef may not benefit your muscles any more than taking down a smaller portion of tenderloin.

In fact, if you’re piling your plate with too much protein, you might be pushing other vital nutrients out of your diet from foods such as vegetables, fruits, healthy fats, and whole grains, that can help with muscle recovery and weight loss.

And you don’t have to down a huge shake or omelet after a workout. Studies on protein timing show muscles’ elevated sensitivity to protein lasts at least 24 hours, says Alan Aragon, M.S., Men’s Health nutrition advisor.

In fact, one 2012 review study by McMaster University showed that muscle protein synthesis may continue for 24 to 48 hours post-workout. “The effect is higher immediately after exercise and diminishes over time, but that certainly doesn’t imply a magical window closes after an hour,” says Aragon.

Related: The Best Exercise and Diet Plan For Losing Weight While Gaining Muscle

What matters most is your total protein intake throughout the day. Reframe how you think about protein, especially if you’re trying to build muscle. Instead of eating 60 grams of protein during three meals a day, trying eating 25 to 35 grams of protein four or more times a day. Consume one of these meals within one to two hours pre- and –post workout so you cover your bases, says Aragon.

Exactly How Much Protein To Eat At Breakfast To Burn Maximum Fat


Toast eaters, it’s time to change your ways. A new study in the International Journal of Obesity shows that eating tons of protein in the morning—think at least double what you’re eating now—can help you consume 400 fewer calories throughout the day and burn more fat over time.

How much protein are we talking about here? The overweight young adults in the study who experienced the perk ate high-protein breakfasts with 350 calories and 35 g of protein—that’s the protein equivalent of almost 6 eggs—for 12 weeks. Those who ate an average breakfast with about 13 g of protein or skipped the morning meal altogether didn’t fare so well, eating 400 more calories throughout the day while experiencing more hunger and, overall, gaining more body fat.

The likely reason for the high-protein perk? Improved glycemic control, says Heather Leidy, PhD, study author and assistant professor in the department of nutrition and exercise physiology at the University of Missouri. Basically, these people had more stable blood sugar, which contributes to reduced desire to eat and improved body composition.

But do you really need 35 g of protein to reap all those benefits? Fortunately, recent data suggests that a more doable range of 24 to 30 g of protein in the morning will have similar positive effects, says Leidy. Here are 3 delicious—and speedy!—ways to achieve just that.

Omelet in a Mug: 30 g protein
Spray a large mug with cooking spray. Add 2 to 3 whisked eggs; 2 oz sliced deli ham, chopped; 2 Tbsp diced bell pepper; and salt and pepper to taste. Mix well and microwave on high for 1 minute. Stir and break up any large chunks with a fork, then cook again on high until eggs are set, about a minute. Top with a sprinkle of cheese.

Protein-Boosted Overnight Oats: 24 g protein

In a jar with a lid, combine ½ cup rolled oats, ¾ cup milk, 1 scoop whey protein (we like Source Organic Whey Protein Concentrate), and toppings like blueberries, slivered almonds, and cinnamon. Mix well and store in the refrigerator, covered, overnight.

Here’s How Much Protein You Should Be Eating + Why


People on a high-protein diet often find it easier to manage their cravings and weight, as protein increases satiety and helps curb the appetite, keeping them fuller for longer.

We need to consume protein to maintain a healthy lifestyle, but knowing how much we should be eating and where we should be getting it from can be hard to figure out.

There’s a lot of information out there with differentiating opinions on how much protein we should be eating, and some of it can be misleading or downright wrong.

Why do we need protein?

Protein, when consumed, is broken down into amino acids and is used throughout your entire body, from head to toe. It’s important for the structure and function your cells.

Active proteins are used as a catalyst to promote chemical reactions within a living cell while structural proteins contribute to structural properties of the cell and overall organism, such as keratin, the main structural component of hair, and collagen, key structural component ofbone, skin, and connective tissues.

On top of all that, protein helps our bodies build and maintain muscle, advanced muscular movement, improve our immune system, and helps to carry oxygen throughout our bodies.

Although the body produces some amino acids, the majority, or the essential amino acids, come from our diet.

How much protein do we need?

The amount of protein needed differs from one person to the next, as there are many factors that can change how much an individual should consume.

Sex, age, weight, and activity level all determine how much protein you should be consuming.

According to the DRI (Dietary Reference Intake), from the Institute of Medicine of The National Academies Press, the average adult should be consuming about 0.8 grams of protein for every kilogram of body weight (0.36 grams per pound) every day.

For those of us who are more active, this suggestion may be a little on the low side. Athletes, on average, need to be consuming more protein in order to keep up with their body’s demands.

Strength athletes should be consuming 0.64 to 0.82 grams of protein per pound of body weight daily, and endurance athletes should consume of 0.54 to 0.64 grams per pound of body weight.

Good sources of protein

Our main source of protein can come from animal-based sources such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and dairy.

It’s often thought that being meat-free and still getting enough protein can be challenging when in fact, there are many other foods that can be used as an alternative protein source.

Foods like vegetables, beans, grains, nuts, and seeds, when combined, can provide you with enough protein to live a healthy life.

No matter where you receive your protein from, it’s imperative that you’re getting your protein from clean, high-quality sources. If you’re getting your protein intake from an animal-based source, look for animals that are hormone-free and on a healthy, natural diet themselves.

Healthy animal means healthy you.

This same concept should be applied to plant-based protein. Go with organic, chemical-free, and pesticide-free whenever you can.

Can you get too much protein?

Protein intake is crucial, and high protein intake can be beneficial, but there is such a thing as too much protein.

On average, protein should make up about 15 to 16 percent of your total calorie intake. Exceeding 35 percent of an overall calorie intake may be dangerous, leading to chronic hydration, bone mineral loss, and kidney damage.

The United States Department of Agriculture has a useful onlineinteractive DRI, so you can get a good idea of how much your daily protein intake should be in a healthy diet based on your sex, age, weight, activity level, and other factors that can affect how much protein your body needs.

People on a high-protein diet often find it easier to manage their cravings and weight, as protein increases satiety and helps curb the appetite, keeping them fuller for longer.

We need to consume protein to maintain a healthy lifestyle, but knowing how much we should be eating and where we should be getting it from can be hard to figure out.

There’s a lot of information out there with differentiating opinions on how much protein we should be eating, and some of it can be misleading or downright wrong.

 Why do we need protein?

Protein, when consumed, is broken down into amino acids and is used throughout your entire body, from head to toe. It’s important for the structure and function your cells.

Active proteins are used as a catalyst to promote chemical reactions within a living cell while structural proteins contribute to structural properties of the cell and overall organism, such as keratin, the main structural component of hair, and collagen, key structural component ofbone, skin, and connective tissues.

On top of all that, protein helps our bodies build and maintain muscle, advanced muscular movement, improve our immune system, and helps to carry oxygen throughout our bodies.

Although the body produces some amino acids, the majority, or the essential amino acids, come from our diet.

How much protein do we need?

The amount of protein needed differs from one person to the next, as there are many factors that can change how much an individual should consume.

Sex, age, weight, and activity level all determine how much protein you should be consuming.

According to the DRI (Dietary Reference Intake), from the Institute of Medicine of The National Academies Press, the average adult should be consuming about 0.8 grams of protein for every kilogram of body weight (0.36 grams per pound) every day.

For those of us who are more active, this suggestion may be a little on the low side. Athletes, on average, need to be consuming more protein in order to keep up with their body’s demands.

Strength athletes should be consuming 0.64 to 0.82 grams of protein per pound of body weight daily, and endurance athletes should consume of 0.54 to 0.64 grams per pound of body weight.

Good sources of protein

Our main source of protein can come from animal-based sources such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and dairy.

It’s often thought that being meat-free and still getting enough protein can be challenging when in fact, there are many other foods that can be used as an alternative protein source.

Foods like vegetables, beans, grains, nuts, and seeds, when combined, can provide you with enough protein to live a healthy life.

No matter where you receive your protein from, it’s imperative that you’re getting your protein from clean, high-quality sources. If you’re getting your protein intake from an animal-based source, look for animals that are hormone-free and on a healthy, natural diet themselves.

Healthy animal means healthy you.

This same concept should be applied to plant-based protein. Go with organic, chemical-free, and pesticide-free whenever you can.

Can you get too much protein?

Protein intake is crucial, and high protein intake can be beneficial, but there is such a thing as too much protein.

On average, protein should make up about 15 to 16 percent of your total calorie intake. Exceeding 35 percent of an overall calorie intake may be dangerous, leading to chronic hydration, bone mineral loss, and kidney damage.

The United States Department of Agriculture has a useful onlineinteractive DRI, so you can get a good idea of how much your daily protein intake should be in a healthy diet based on your sex, age, weight, activity level, and other factors that can affect how much protein your body needs.

Should I Be Eating Egg Yolks Every Day?


In an earlier post, I revealed that one of my weight maintenance tricks is to eat a whole egg as one of my morning snacks pretty much every single day (generally hard boiled or deviled). They keep me feeling full, and the protein keeps my cravings down.

But I couldn’t help but notice that there are egg-white omelets on the menu at practically every breakfast spot in Los Angeles, and there is a large segment of Angelenos who are notoriously health-conscious. Why does it seem that everybody is avoiding eating the yolks? I started wondering:  ”Am I doing something wrong by eating the yolks? Is it healthy for me to be eating egg yolks every day? Could this be a dangerous habit?”

To get an expert opinion, I consulted LIVESTRONG.COM’s resident registered dietician, Kelly Plowe, M.S., R.D. Here’s what Kelly told me:

“If I were to create a top 10-superfood list, eggs would hands-down make this list every single time. There is irony in this because for so long the egg was one of the most misunderstood foods (believed at one point to contribute to heart disease), which research has now cleared up.

“Eggs, specifically egg whites, have become a mainstay in many diets thanks to their lean, satiating protein. Many are still surprised to learn however, that the yolk itself has about 3g of protein, almost half of the protein found in an entire egg. The yolk is also where all of the cholesterol (about 185mg) is found. The American Heart Association recommends keeping cholesterols intake to less than 300mg a day, which makes including an egg everyday, as part of an overall healthy diet doable. I’m an advocate of including the yolk because this is where the majority of the nutrition in the egg is found. Aside from protein, the yolk is packed with vitamin D, phosphorus, riboflavin, choline, and selenium in addition to a number of other vitamins and minerals.”

Kelly’s expert info definitely made me feel confident that eating an egg a day (yolk and all) was A-OK. But what if I wanted to eat more than one egg in a meal?

“To enjoy more eggs in your day,” Kelly says, “I’m a fan of the 3:1 ratio – three egg whites to one entire egg.”

Here’s one of Kelly’s go-to breakfasts, which will keep you full until lunchtime.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kelly’s Veggie Protein Scramble
(For full nutritional information, here is a link to the recipe we created in MyPlate)

Serves: 1

Ingredients:
* 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
* 1/2 cup spinach
* 2 tablespoons onion, chopped
* 1 egg
* 3 egg whites
* Cooking spray
* Salt and pepper

Directions:

1. Spray a small nonstick pan with a coat of cooking spray and place over medium heat.

2. Cook mushrooms, spinach and onions until soft and the spinach is wilted, about 5 minutes.

3. Season with salt and pepper and stir. Transfer to a small bowl and wipe pan clean.

4. Whisk egg and egg whites in a medium bowl until well combined. Coat pan with cooking spray and pour eggs into pan and cook.

5. Once edges of egg start to form, transfer veggies from bowl to the pan and begin to fold into the egg. Continue to fold until eggs are cooked throughout.

 

– Jess

Readers – Do you eat eggs every day? Are you a fan of egg whites or yolks? What’s one of your favorite egg recipes? Leave a comment below and let us know.

Read more: http://www.livestrong.com/blog/should-i-be-eating-egg-yolks-every-day#ixzz3diB7tQqH

Scientists discover ‘unknown’ immunity boosting protein molecule


A “game changer” protein that promotes the body’s immunity to cancer has been discovered by scientists, offering fresh hope the often deadly disease will be conquered in years to come.

Reuters / Stefan Wermuth

Researchers at Imperial College London discovered a “completely unknown” molecule, proven to improve the body’s immune system to fight off chronic illnesses.

The protein has been branded “unknown” because it doesn’t resemble any other protein, nor does it have a known function.

Researchers say the discovery could “open the door” to new therapies, and might potentially defeat cancer and other deadly viruses.

When a person develops cancer, the body fights the deadly virus with T cells, although it often loses the battle.

However, a protein called lymphocyte expansion molecule (LEM) allows the body to produce enough T cells to potentially overcome cancer and other viruses.

The protein was discovered while mice with genetic mutations were being screened. The test revealed that mice with a specific mutation made 10 times the number of T cells. It linked to the protein, which also exists in humans.

The experiments in mice and human cells have proved the protein promotes the proliferation of cytotoxic T cells.

Scientists hope to begin trialing a new genetic therapy on humans in three years, the Daily Telegraph reports.

Professor Ashton-Rickardt, from the Section of Immunobiology in the Department of Medicine at Imperial, who led the study, is certain this discovery could be a “game-changer.”

He says the new protein has the potential to treat “a number of different cancers and viruses.”

Rickardt says the discovery is “exiting” as they have unveiled a “completely new way” to use the immune system to defeat cancer.

Dr Mike Turner, head of infection and immunobiology at The Wellcome Trust, says the discovery is “fascinating.”

However, Turner argues that before the protein is tested on humans, a “further investigation in animal models is needed.”

There is potential for a new type of treatment that capitalizes on the immune system’s innate ability to detect and kill abnormal cells,” he added.

Dr Alan Worsley, senior science information officer at Cancer Research UK, says the test on mice is “exiting”, although it only looked at one type of cancer.

Cancer often finds a way to suppress the immune system, but drugs that overcome this and allow immune cells to target cancer show great promise,” he added.

To develop “more effective treatments” Worsley says more research should be done into the biology of the immune system, as it could increase the number of cancer-killing immune cells.

Worsley says the researchers should now “figure out how to develop drugs that target this molecule” and investigate whether doing so would be effective and safe in cancer patients.

The discovery follows the unveiling of a new treatment being tested at the University of Kansas that could defeat cancer.

Dr Liang Xu and his team of researchers spent three years testing a chemical cocktail, which inhibits a naturally occurring protein called HuR.

The inhibitor was tested on lab cultures in mice and has been successful against the deadliest types of cancers.

Dr Xu said the inhibitor is a “very promising” treatment which could “potentially lead to a new therapy for cancer.”

Gene Used In Embryogenesis Can Repair Adult Tissue.


There are some amazing genes and cellular processes active during embryonic development that are never seen again later in life. Though some insects and amphibians are able to carry those traits into adulthood, mammals have a dramatic decrease in the ability to regenerate tissue after birth. A new study has shown that one embryonic protein can be used to help regenerate adult tissue in a living organism, not just in a dish.

The protein Lin28a typically only contributes to processes during embryogenesis, affecting things like metabolism and the pluripotency of stem cells. A study published Nov. 7 in Cell has shown that these proteins can actually be used in adult tissue and help in the regeneration of cartilage, hair follicles, bone, and mesenchyme, a type of undifferentiated connective tissue. It works by binding microRNA in the cell’s nucleus to inhibit let7. Let7 encourages cells to mature and lose the regenerative abilities.

Mice that had been genetically altered to produce Lin28a throughout life had outstanding regenerative power. Though regular mice typically stop producing new hair at around 10 weeks, those with a continued presence of Lin28a kept growing fur throughout their lives. Lin28a also boosted regeneration of limbs. During development, Lin28a is commonly found in the limb buds, but is hardly expressed in those regions after birth. For the mice over expressing Lin28a, some digits that were amputated early in life grew back nearly completely. This ability was diminished as the mouse approached adulthood. Because cardiac tissue also wasn’t regenerated by the presence of Lin28a, there could be other unknown proteins that regulate body aging.

Lin28a was also shown to promote prompt healing of damaged ears, increase metabolism, and contribute to cell proliferation and migration, which are necessary for tissue repair. Unfortunately, some of these attributes can also lead to tumorigenesis, which has been the focus of a great deal of recent cancer research.

This discovery is a long way off from having clinical significance as a miracle “fountain of youth” treatment. Because Lin28a binds to RNA, not the surface of the cell, current drug delivery systems would be very ineffective. Also, because the protein affects so many different tissues in the body, it would be incredibly difficult to target only the desired area. In the future, however, this could be used as a treatment for diseases like alopecia and for tissues that have been injured or are degenerating.

A Bio-Patch Regrows Bone Inside the Body.


Researchers from the University of Iowa have developed a remarkable new procedure for regenerating missing or damaged bone. It’s called a “bio patch” — and it works by sending bone-producing instructions directly into cells using microscopic particles embedded with DNA.

In experiments, the gene-encoding patch has already regrown bone fully enough to cover skull wounds in test animals. It has also stimulated new growth in human bone marrow stromal cells. Eventually, the patch could be used to repair birth defects involving missing bone around the head or face. It could also help dentists rebuild bone in areas which provides a concrete-like foundation for implants.

To create the bio patch, a research team led by Satheesh Elangovan delivered bone-producing instructions to existing bone cells inside a living body, which allowed those cell to produce the required proteins for more bone production. This was accomplished by using a piece of DNA that encodes for a platelet-derived growth factor called PDGF-B. Previous research relied on repeated applications from the outside, but they proved costly, intensive, and more difficult to replicate with any kind of consistency.

“We delivered the DNA to the cells, so that the cells produce the protein and that’s how the protein is generated to enhance bone regeneration,” explained Aliasger Salem in a statement. “If you deliver just the protein, you have keep delivering it with continuous injections to maintain the dose. With our method, you get local, sustained expression over a prolonged period of time without having to give continued doses of protein.” Salem is a professor in the College of Pharmacy and a co-corresponding author on the paper.

While performing the procedure, the researchers made a collagen scaffold in the actual shape and size of the bone defect. The patch, which was loaded with synthetically created plasmids and outfitted with the genetic instructions for building bone did the rest, achieving complete regeneration that matched the shape of what should have been there. This was followed by inserting the scaffold onto the missing area. Four weeks is usually all that it took — growing 44-times more bone and soft tissue in the affected areas compared to just the scaffold alone.

“The delivery mechanism is the scaffold loaded with the plasmid,” Salem says. “When cells migrate into the scaffold, they meet with the plasmid, they take up the plasmid, and they get the encoding to start producing PDGF-B, which enhances bone regeneration.”

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