Dairy foods such as low-fat or fat-free milk, cheese, yogurt and whey are convenient and cost-effective ways to power up with protein throughout the day. Dairy is one of the most economical sources of nutrition. Regardless of the type or variety of dairy product you choose – protein will be present.
Protein is essential in the diet on a daily basis because it is needed for growth and maintenance of muscle. Dairy’s whey protein has a natural taste and complements the flavor of the food it is added to. Whey protein is one of the best sources of naturally-occurring branched-chain amino acids, including leucine, which is unique in its ability to initiate muscle protein synthesis.
Top 5 benefits of adding whey protein to your diet:
1) Helps you maintain a healthy weight. Dairy foods that naturally contain whey protein help maintain lean tissue that burns more calories.
2) Calorie for calorie, whey protein helps you feel full longer than carbohydrates or fat.
As a result, you may reduce the extra snacking that is causing excess intake and weight gain.
3) Whey protein helps you get lean. Consuming dairy foods (such as milk, cheese, yogurt and whey protein) in combination with resistance exercise helps to restore a positive protein balance (more protein synthesis than protein breakdown) which is needed for muscle gain to occur.
4) Whey protein helps with exercise recovery. Whey protein provides the specific amino acids necessary for muscle repair and recovery after resistance training or vigorous exercise. Milk,
especially chocolate milk (because of its unique protein to carbohydrate ratio) has been shown to be an effective recovery drink for endurance activities.
5) Whey protein helps reduce loss of muscle mass. As early as age 40, we can lose muscle
mass if we don’t consume high quality protein along with adequate activity. Moderately increasing high qaulity protein consumption at each meal may help older adults retain muscle mass and thus help decrease weight gain as we age.
“…I know I should drink more milk, but I can’t. I am lactose intolerant…; It causes weight gain…; Humans weren’t meant to consume dairy…”
These and other objections are common reasons I have heard from my clients explaining why they do not consume dairy foods. Some of the information about dairy foods is frankly not been proven and is often misleading and/or inaccurate. Perhaps you have stopped consuming dairy products because of these type of fears, and would like more infomation on how you can begin to include a variety of dairy foods in your meals, Research has shown that even for someone who complains of severe lactose intolerance symptoms, they can almost always be brought up to the point of consuming three full glasses of milk per day without symptoms. The Creighton University Osteoporosis Research Center provides extensive replicable research on the health benefits of adding dairy-containing foods in your diet.
For example, the following link provides more information on lactose intolerance, and the evolution of humans consuming diary foods:
If you would like a program to help you include high quality protein foods, including dairy products, at each meal, working with a registered dietitian nutritionist can help you ensure you are meeting your needs and achieving your health goals.
Layman DK. The role of leucine in weight loss diets and glucose homeostasis [Review]. Journal of
Nutrition 2003; 133:261S-267S.
Leidy HJ, Carnell NS, Mattes RD, Campbell WW. Higher Protein intake preserves lean mass and satiety with weight loss in pre-obese and obese women. Obesity 2007; 15:421-9.
Campbell WW. Dietary protein and resistance training effects on muscle and body composition in older persons [Review]. Journal of the American College of Nutrition 2007; 26:696S-703S.
Hayes A, Cribb PJ. Effect of whey protein isolate on strength, body composition and muscle hypertrophy during resistance training. Current Opinions in Nutrition and Metabolic Care 2008; 11:40-4.
Esmarck B, et al. Timing of post exercise protein intake is important for muscle hypertrophy with resistance training in elderly humans. Journal of Physiology 2001; 535:301-11.
Houston DK et al. Dietary protein intake is associated with lean mass change in older, community-dwelling adults: the Health, Aging, and Body Composition (ABC) study.American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2008; 87:150-5.
Weigle DS, Breen PA, Matthys CC, et al. A high-protein diet induces sustained reductions in appetite, ad libitum caloric intake, and body weight despite compensatory changes in diurnal plasma leptin and ghrelin concentrations. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition2005; 82:41-48.
The year-end holidays are upon us! You know that stretch from Thanksgiving to January 2 where frequent nibbling and persistent overeating often ends with undesired weight gain. Following are strategies to help you make it through this blissful time of year, and still feel great in 2014.
Holiday weight gain tends to happen because more food is available – cookies and desserts at work; frequent gatherings involving food (and more beverages, too); and, endless buffets wherever you go. The problem lies largely in having a strategy for managing the amount of food available. So, how can you make sure you are able to successfully enjoy your holiday parties and manage your weight at the same time?
Set yourself up for success.
Eating less all day to “save up” for the party is not helpful. Skipping meals/snacks usually affects productivity, causes poor concentration, more difficulty with problem solving, and increased fatigue. It can also lead to overeating at the next meal or snack, such as at the holiday party or gathering. Take time to enjoy a bowl of soup, yogurt, vegetables and hummus, as an example of meal that will help meet your energy needs consistently throughout the day.
Take a plate.
Many individuals comment that they struggle with grazing or “picking” at foods left out at the party. By the end of the event, it’s hard to remember what or how much you ate. Learn to indulge intelligently at the buffet or appetizer spread by first scanning the buffet table to figure out which foods will be most satisfying for you. Make a plate balanced with some protein options, along with vegetables or fruit, whole grains or, and a dessert. This will help you be aware of portions and more conscious of how much you’re eating. Wait 20 minutes; and, if you decide you are still hungry, use your plate again to intentionally choose foods that will help you feel satisfied. Try to recognize when the food is "beckoning" you rather than thinking you are physically hungry. Getting involved in conversation or a game may be a helpful distraction. You may also want to try drinking water to ensure you aren't just thirsty (see below). As always, try to eat mindfully and savor these tasty holiday foods!
Location, Location, Location.
When you realize you are not hungry, step away from the food. Try to sit or stand away from the food table and near supportive people to decrease the urge to mindlessly eat. Take time to enjoy the folks you are celebrating the season with - participate in conversation, listen to stories, learn something new about a friend or relative. Most important, try to relax and have fun.
This is often the most common mistake people make (including me). On average, women and men need 2.7 and 3.4 liters of water per day, respectively. This does not include additional fluid needs for activity. Also, the hustle and bustle during this time of year may lead to decreased fluid intake. Thirst is often mistaken for hunger and can lead to overeating. Therefore, try to keep a water bottle with you at all times and drink frequently throughout the day – includingt the holiday party – with added limes, lemons, or cucumbers for extra flavor. An added benefit for some can be decreased headaches by avoiding dehydration. I know I feel so much better when I make this a priority!
Move your body!
Take time to include moderate, enjoyable movement in your day. Ideally 30 to 60 minutes of some cardio and strength training activity is recommended daily. If you already have an exercise routine, try and stay with it. You may also want to include less frenzied activity such as a yoga class or a peaceful leisure walk under the stars. To include the family (and unplug), consider walking together after a holiday meal; ice skating at a local park; going to a local museum or the zoo instead of sitting around.
Val Schonberg is a Registered, Licensed Dietitian who specializes in weight management, sports nutrition, disease