- 1 What are the best high-protein carb sources, and how do they differ from meat proteins?
- 2 I’ve seen the words “net carbs” on product packaging. What does this term actually mean?
- 2.1 Recently there’s been some talk that saturated fat might not actually be that bad for us and may, in fact, be beneficial. What gives?
- 2.2 Are there any potential dangers or side effects when following a high-protein diet, and if so, can they be avoided?
- 2.3 What types of oils are the best for cooking with?
What are the best high-protein carb sources, and how do they differ from meat proteins?
An excellent option if you’re looking for a high-protein carbohydrate source is legumes. A legume is a plant that bares its fruit in the form of a pod, which of course differs from meat, an animal-based protein source. The great thing about legumes is that, in addition to being nutrient-dense, they are also loaded with fibre. For example, one hundred grams of lentils supplies roughly 350 calories, 60 grams of carbohydrates, 26 grams of protein, 30 grams of fibre, and virtually no fat. If you’re not a fan of legumes, consider pasta instead, even though it does pack less of a protein punch and nowhere near the fibre content offered by legumes. One hundred grams of plain, cooked pasta supplies 122 calories, 21 grams of carbohydrates, three grams of protein, and three grams of fat.
I’ve seen the words “net carbs” on product packaging. What does this term actually mean?
The term “net carbs” refers to the actual number of carbohydrates in the product that have been determined to have an impact on your blood sugar levels. The majority of the time, manufacturers will take the total carbohydrate count and subtract the number of fibre grams and sugar alcohols to arrive at a net carb count. These substances have little effect on blood glucose levels when compared to traditional sugars and starches. Much like the way your “net pay” is the money left over after subtracting all of your taxes and fees from your paycheck, your net carbs are those left over in the product that will impact your body, with regards to blood glucose levels. It’s always important to monitor your glucose levels because too much sugar in the bloodstream can damage vital tissues, harm blood vessels, and lead to long-term nerve problems. Talk to your doctor ifyou are concerned about your blood glucose.
Recently there’s been some talk that saturated fat might not actually be that bad for us and may, in fact, be beneficial. What gives?
There’s no question about it, saturated fat is a controversial topic. That being said, a recent review published in the July 2014 issue of Food & Nutrition Research may help us shed some light on the topic. In this review, results from 607 articles were examined, all of which centred on the effect of amount and type of dietary fat on body weight and diseases such as diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular disease. Reports showed that “convincing evidence was found that partial replacement of saturated fat with polyunsaturated fat or monounsaturated fat lowers fasting serum/plasma total and LDL cholesterol concentrations.” Scientists also determined that “there was convincing evidence that partial replacement of saturated SFA (saturated fatty acids) with PUFA (polyunsaturated fatty acids) decreases the risk of CVD (cardiovascular disease), especially in men.” Though this review is not the final word on this area of research, it does suggest that the old-school beliefs behind saturated fat still have some relevance. That does not mean, however, that you should entirely eliminate saturated fat from your diet, as it plays an important role in hormone production. The key is to get enough saturated fat to maintain healthy hormone production without overdoing it and negatively impacting your health. The average male should eat no more than 30 grams of saturated fat per day.
Are there any potential dangers or side effects when following a high-protein diet, and if so, can they be avoided?
It’s always important to remember that too much of a good thing can be a bad thing. For example, drinking two to three litres of water a day can go a long way to promoting good health and performance, but drinking 10 litres, especially over fewer than six hours, could be damaging. Too much of anything is bad, and protein is no different. Overconsumption can lead to ketosis — a state where the body uses fat for energy rather than glucose. Symptoms of ketosis may include nausea, lack of appetite, and a “funky” body and breath odour. With all this in mind, it’s best to stick with research-validated protein consumption guidelines for athletes, which range from 1.3 to 1.8 grams per kilogram of body weight per day, according to a 2011 review in the Journal of Sports Sciences. Also be sure to consume adequate amounts of carbohydrates, fats, and water to round out your daily macro profile.
What types of oils are the best for cooking with?
That really depends on your heat level. Oils with a higher smoke point, like avocado, sunflower, almond, and refined olives are generally your best bet when it comes to high-temperature cooking. When cooking with medium heat, a good-quality coconut oil makes a great choice, especially given the fact that it contains medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), which the body can potentially use for energy. If you’re cooking with a very low heat setting, an extra-virgin olive oil works nicely and, in addition to its health benefits, can give your food a nice flavour.