Where's the protein?
Years ago, a famous fast-food restaurant featured commercials with elderly consumers asking, “Where’s the beef?” as they opened their hamburgers to find a diminutive piece of hamburger meat. The question poked fun at competing chains which sported smaller pieces of meat hidden underneath layers of lettuce, tomato, and bun. However, there was another underlying question that many Americans missed — where was your protein?
Protein is an essential macronutrient just like carbohydrates and fat. For a healthy body, you need to feed your body with all 3 macronutrients but not necessarily in the same quantity. The American diet features all 3 macronutrients in lopsided proportions. Carbohydrates, specifically the bad carbohydrates, fill up more than a quarter of our plate while protein shrinks from one-quarter of the plate to barely existent.
The protein shrinkage is not accidental. The US Government greatly subsidizes the growth of foods such as corn, soy and wheat which is used in many unhealthy foods such as candy, soda, and high fructose corn syrup. Many restaurants pad their plates with these low-cost foods, otherwise known as simple carbohydrates. In turn, they serve smaller portions of the healthier macronutrient, protein, which is more expensive. To create flavorful and marketable dishes, restaurants also add extra salt, sugars, and fat. Consumers assume that they are being served a balanced meal and devour everything on their plate. Soon, restaurant meals result in unwanted pounds. The vicious cycle of dieting, vigorous exercising, living off of fiber bars, drinking green teas, ingesting metabolism enhancer pills, and juicing begins. However, the path to a healthier body is not a cycle, nor temporarily or completely sacrificing foods you enjoy. It takes time, perseverance and commitment to healthy living. Don’t worry, there is no reason to remove all the sweet and delicious foods out of your life to achieve your goals. Here are tips for building a healthy body through exercise, healthy life choices, and eating more protein foods.