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A high protein diet prevents muscle loss

A high protein diet is essential to preserve lean body tissue, especially if one is restricting carbohydrate intake. Any diet that is protein deficient may result in a loss of lean muscle tissue, which in turn, could lead to a soft flabby body. If you are concerned about preserving muscle mass while losing weight, you must follow a high protein diet.

High quality proteins contain all the essential amino acids in adequate amounts. Essential amino acids are those amino acids that the body cannot make and must be derived from your diet. Protein of animal origin, for example, meat and egg proteins, are high quality. The proteins in plant foods are gernerally lower quality, which means that they are low in one or more of the essential amino acids.

Amino acids are the basic units from which proteins are assembled. A high protein diet supplies the necessary amino acids which build, repair, and maintain body tissues that are vital to everyday body function.

For example, protein functions as enzymes and in muscle contractions. Muscle protein is essential for movement.

If tissue protein is degraded to a great extent, body functions can be severely compromised.

A diet containing high quality proteins are also of paramount importance to ensure that individuals maintain a zero nitrogen balance. Nitrogen balance is the difference between the amount of nitrogen taken into the body each day (mainly in the form of dietary protein) and the amount of nitrogen containing compounds lost in the urine, sweat, and other excretions.

If more nitrogen is lost than is obtained from the diet, the person is said to be in negative nitrogen balance. A negative nitrogen balance is caused by two distinct conditions: a diet with too little protein, or a diet with protein that has too little of one or more of the essential amino acids.

The reason the lack of essential amino acids causes a negative nitrogen balance is that, the body needs a complete complement of the 20 common amino acids to synthesize its proteins. An essential amino acid that is in short supply will limit the total amount of protein made. If a negative nitrogen balance persists for too long, proper body functioning will be impaired because of a net loss of critical proteins.

A healthy, high protein diet containing the proper protein sources will provide an adequate supply of all essential amino acids. A high protein diet is necessary to preserve muscle integrity and to maintain normal body functioning, especially when one is following a low carbohydrate plan.

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