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The meat of the matter

Is having high amounts of protein the solution for losing those pounds?

By Anna Chua-Norbert

JUNE 2012

High-protein diets have become a popular way to lose weight because emerging research has hinted that protein may be able to satisfy hunger better than either fats or carbohydrates. But with the emerging trend, how is this affecting the rest of our body?

We need protein at all stages of life, for a variety of bodily functions. It's a major component of all cells, including muscle and bone. It's needed for growth, development, and immunity to fight off infections and protect the body.

How much do you need?

The U.S. Institutes of Health's Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) recommendations allow for a wide range of protein intake—anywhere from 10 to 35 percent of total calories—for normal, healthy adults. For example, on an 1,800-calorie diet, you could safely consume anywhere from 45 grams to 218 grams of protein per day.

For Filipinos, the recommendation by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute is 67 g of proterin per day for men and 58 g for women. There are no dangers associated with a higher intake of protein—unless you have kidney disease or high cholesterol.

The best protein sources

Not all protein is created equal. Be sure to look for protein sources that are nutrient-rich and lower in fat and calories, such as lean meats, beans, soy, and low-fat dairy.

Include lean and low-fat sources of protein in every meal as part of a calorie-controlled diet. Stock up on “smart carbs,” such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains, along with healthy fats like nuts, seeds, olives, oils, fish and avocado.

Good sources of protein listed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture include: meat, fish and poultry, eggs, milk, low-fat yogurt, soy milk, firm tofu, cheese, low-fat cottage cheese, peanut butter, nuts, kidney beans, lentils and other legumes.

Savory chicken sauté


2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
1 large onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp dried rosemary
1/2 chicken cube mixed with 1 cup water
Pinch of salt
Pinch of ground black pepper


1. Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat.

2. Sauté the chicken breasts in oil for four minutes then turn them over. Add the onions.

3. Cover and cook for another 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic, rosemary and chicken broth.

4. Cover and cook for 5 minutes and season with salt and pepper.

Makes four servings. Calories per serving: 217, 28g protein, 6 g carbohydrates, 8 g fat, 1 g saturated fats.

For more meaty information and recipes to try, grab a copy of HealthToday’s June issue, out now in newsstands and bookstores.

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