Snacks Against Obesity, Part 3: How Plant Protein Defeats Obesity
High-protein foods are processed in the body more slowly than other foods, preventing sharp blood sugar dips (and accompanying hunger), while the body requires more calories to digest protein. Get any 3 high-fiber snacks from the list below and feel significantly better .
Protein is built from building blocks called amino acids. Our bodies make amino acids in two different ways: from scratch, or by modifying others. A few amino acids (known as the essential amino acids) must come from food and can't be produced by the body.
Animal sources of protein tend to deliver all the amino acids we need. Plant protein sources may lack one or more essential amino acids, which means you need to eat a variety of protein-containing foods.
How Does Plant Protein Defeat Obesity?
First, why protein?
- High-protein foods move more slowly from the stomach to the intestine. When your stomach empties more slowly, it means you feel full for longer and become hungry after more time has passed.
- Protein’s gentle, steady effect on blood sugar prevents sharp blood sugar dips (and accompanying hunger) that often occur after eating rapidly digested carbohydrates, like white bread or baked potato.
- The body spends more calories in order to digest protein than it does to digest fat or carbohydrate.
Second, why plant protein?
Some high-protein foods are healthier than others because of what comes along with the protein: healthy fats or harmful ones, beneficial fiber or hidden salt.
- For example, a 6-ounce broiled porterhouse steak is a great source of protein—about 40 grams worth. But it also delivers about 12 grams of saturated fat. For someone who eats a 2,000 calorie per day diet, that’s more than 60 percent of the recommended daily intake for saturated fat.
- A 6-ounce ham steak has only about 2.5 grams of saturated fat, but it’s loaded with sodium—2,000 milligrams worth, or about 500 milligrams more than the recommended daily sodium maximum.
- Alternatively, plant proteins come with antioxidants, fiber, minerals, vitamins and phytochemicals, and have virtually no saturated fat or sodium, cholesterol, added hormones or antibiotics.
Third, how does plant protein impact weight management?
- Researchers at Harvard School of Public Health followed the diet and lifestyle habits of 120,000 men and women for up to 20 years and found that plant protein may also help with weight control.
- Those who ate more red and processed meat over the course of the study gained more weight, about one extra pound every four years, while those who ate more nuts over the course of the study gained less weight, about a half pound less every four years.
How much plant protein do you need?
The FDA recommended daily allowance of protein is 46 grams per day for women over 19 years of age, and 56 grams per day for men over 19 years of age.
Most Americans get 88 g of protein per day, which is far more than enough protein.
However, the majority, 70 percent, comes from animal sources.
Fiber and Protein in the Top 20 Most Purchased Snacks
Ok, now that we understand what nutrients we need, let’s see, which snacks are best?
PLANETARIANS Chief Mixologist, Anastasia Tkacheva helped me make the table below, that has the protein and fiber content in the most popular snacks today. Which one has the most protein? Which one has the most fiber? Which one has both?
Want to test it? Challenge yourself!
1. Choose any 3 snacks.
2. Make sure that they total:
- 25g (for women), 38g (for men of fiber
- 46g (for women), 56g (for men) of plant protein
- 100-250 calories per snack
3. Have these 3 snacks between meals within a day (meals do not matter).
4. Let us know in the comments to this post if you feel better the next day.
If so, consider supporting PLANETARIANS efforts to make the ultimate snack against obesity: our sunflower chips have more fiber per serving than many veggies, and more protein by weight than meat!