Tag Archives: soy milk

Eating the Correct Kind of Protein

Protein is the ‘it’ word of fitness.  Protein shakes, bars, supplements are all going to get you the protein your body needs to recover after a workout and help maintain a healthy weight, but with so many choices on the shelves, how do you know what to eat?

Protein, made from amino acids, is a macronutrient found in meats, dairy, nuts and beans that promote healthy skin, hair, fingernails, and muscles.  The best place to get protein is from whole food sources, but supplements can make getting your daily dose of protein a little bit easier.  It’s important to know the different types of proteins available out there and how you might find them packaged.  Here’s an overview of things you might see on the label of a protein powder and what’s inside that package.

Protein Concentrate versus Isolate:  Protein concentrate come from removing the non-protein parts of a whole food protein source and results in a roughly 80 percent pure protein powder that also contains fat and carbs.  Isolation is more intense than concentrate, removing more of the non-protein part of a food and making a powder that is up to 95 percent pure.

Complete versus Incomplete Protein:  There are over 500 types of amino acids, and those that cannot be produced by the human body are known as essential, or indispensable, amino acids.  Complete proteins contain all 10 of these essential amino acids, while incomplete proteins do not.

Whey protein:  This most popular and often most wallet friendly protein comes in a wide variety of flavors and has been shown to help with lean muscle growth, fat loss and maintaining healthy metabolism.  The lactose found in whey protein is an allergen for some and can make it impossible to eat.  Carefully choose flavors with whey protein because they can contain artificial sweeteners and be aware that whey can lead to gassiness and bloating, so slowly building up your intake is important.

Soy protein:  Plant food sources offering essential amino acids are hard to find, but soybeans fit the bill.  Offering all 10 of the essential amino acids, soybeans can improve bone health, help prevent certain cancers, and promote healthy immune function.  Soy has recently been genetically altered for larger crop yields and come under fire, plus it is already found in lots of foods.  Adding more soy to a diet already rich in soy might make another choice more appropriate, though it is a great choice for vegetarians.

Have questions about getting more protein in your diet?  Want help planning what to eat after your gym session?  Ask us!  Info@FitNicePT.com

A Balanced Diet Part VI: Milk, Yogurt and Cheese

We all love ice cream, milkshakes, and cheese trays, but making the right dairy choices in the dairy group, as well as all other food groups, is the key to maintaining a healthy diet.  The dairy group includes cheese, milk, yogurt, soymilk, and all the products made from them.  Lots of important nutrients come from dairy products, but it is possible to have too much of a good thing when it comes to things like cheese and ice cream.  Getting the proper amount of dairy products may reduce the risk of osteoporosis, and has been shown to improve bone health.  Calcium is especially important during childhood, as bones are growing and mass is accruing.  Good dairy intake is also a source of reduced risk for cardiovascular diseases and type 2 diabetes, as well as having been shown to lower blood pressure in adults.

Milk, yogurt and cheese all contain calcium, protein, potassium, and vitamin D.  Calcium serves as the building blocks for bones and teeth by helping them grow and maintain their mass.  Vitamin D works with the body to help it absorb calcium, reduce inflammation and boost immune function.  Dairy protein, just like the protein found in the Meat Group, helps build muscle and provide energy, while potassium can help maintain healthy blood pressure.

Choosing low-fat or fat-free dairy products is best because they contain little to no solid, or saturated, fat.  Saturated fats contain high levels of LDL (low-density lipids), bad cholesterol, and a diet high in LDL can increase risk for coronary heart disease.  Whole milk and many cheeses are high in saturated fats, so limiting dairy choices to low- and non-fat options is important when trying to control your intake or empty calories.

Even when consuming low- and non-fat dairy products, following the suggested guidelines for daily servings, and adjusting based on increased activity, is part of maintaining a balanced diet.  For the Dairy Group, three servings are recommended each day, though dairy products should not exceed 30% of caloric intake per day.  One serving is considered one cup of milk [fat-free (skim) or low-fat (1% or 2%)], one eight ounce container of yogurt, 1½ ounces of hard cheese, one third cup of shredded cheese (cheddar), two ounces of processed cheese (American), one cup of pudding made with milk, one cup of frozen yogurt, 1½ cups ice cream or one cup of calcium-fortified soymilk.

It can be hard to make good choices, but here are some ways to make it simple.  Order lattes and cappuccinos with fat-free milk, add fat-free or low-fat milk to oatmeal instead of water, use yogurt as a dip for fruits and vegetables, and use low-fat cheese to top casseroles and soups.  Be sure to avoid raw (unpasteurized) milk, chill perishable foods promptly and keep separate raw and cooked foods.  Follow these guidelines and you’ll be sure to make good Dairy Group choices to help you maintain your balanced and healthy diet.

To learn more about the Dairy Group, visit http://www.choosemyplate.gov/food-groups/dairy.html.  Then make sure to come back for next week’s Food Group: Fats, Oils and Sweets.