Boost Your Metabolism – Part 3: Eat More Good Quality Protein

On my personal countdown to better fitness, I’ve been evolving my diet not only as I’ve read articles, books, and scientific papers, but also as I’ve made scientific observations about how food affects me personally.  Amazingly, or so I thought at the time, when I increased my protein and kept carbohydrate and fat consumption the same, I lost weight.   This has happened several times since October 2009.

How can this be?

Insulin and Weight
It wasn’t so amazing at all when I learned the truth about what makes people gain weight.  Insulin.  Key to regulating glucose metabolism in the body, insulin, a hormone, stops the burning of body fat as an energy source in the body.  Therefore, when one eats carbohydrates and they are broken down into simple sugar (glucose) molecules, insulin is pumped into the bloodstream to cause cells to take up glucose from the blood as an energy source, instead of burning the body’s fat.  When insulin is present in appreciable amounts, most of the food eaten at that time will be stored as fat.  Refined carbs, like flour and sugar; starchy fruits and vegetables, like bananas and potatoes; or too many fruits and vegetables can cause large spikes in insulin, telling the body to store most of the food as fat.

Food Combinations
The proper food combinations are the key to weight loss and weight management.  To properly regulate one’s level of blood glucose, reducing the amount of food stored as fat, one should eat healthy protein and fat with all carbohydrates.   Besides, helping to regulate blood sugar, protein has a special property.  Digesting protein takes almost 3 times the energy as does digesting fat or carbohydrates, so you automatically get a boost in metabolism when you eat protein.  Protein is also needed to build and repair muscle tissue.  If you are looking to lose weight, you don’t want to lose muscle.  Lean body mass (muscle) gives a boost to metabolism, resulting in more fat being burned.  Make sure to eat good quality protein for overall health.

Good Quality Protein
What do I mean by “good quality protein”?

Not all protein is equal.  Soy (a legume) protein, for example, is very bad because it contains toxins, anti-nutrients, and phytoestrogens.  (Too much estrogen causes various problems in men and women.)  Legumes as a whole contain toxins and anti-nutrients.  (See my article “The Trouble with Eating Grains and Legumes.”)  Another example of troublesome protein sources are grain-fed animal products.  Due to the animals’ unnatural diets, the animals’ food products contain an overabundance of omega-6 fatty acids, which cause various diseases in humans.

Healthy Pastured Pork and Chicken

Pastured and Grass-Fed Animal Products
For these reasons, along with ethical ones, my family and I are getting almost all our protein from local farm-raised, grass-fed and pastured animal products.  We’ve been buying our pastured pork and chicken from Live Springs Farm and our beef from Missouri Grass Fed Beef.  The meat from both these local farms is much healthier, supplying more vitamins, minerals, healthy fatty acids, and other disease-fighting nutrients.  This meat is also lower in fat and saturated than grain-fed products.  (See my article comparing factory farm-raised animals to grass-fed and pastured animals.)

For anyone interested, Live Springs Farm is going to have whole and half hogs available for purchase.  Simply fill out the whole and half hog order form and send it in.  A deposit must be paid by August 25.  Go in with friends and relatives and save a large sum of money by buying either one of these options over purchasing single cuts of meat.

Live Springs Farm is now selling its meat at local restaurants, at Ferguson Farmers’ Market in Florissant, Missouri, and through its CSA (Community-Supported Agriculture) partners.  (See Pastured Meat Price List for selected cuts and chickens.)