The Fantastic Functions of Protein
When you lower carbs in your diet, you're left with proteins and fats. So let's talk about protein. Amino acids are those compounds that function as the building blocks of proteins. In other words, proteins are made up of different strings of amino acids. Though there are 20 or so amino acids, we can break them down into two categories: essential and non-essential.

Non-essential amino acids are those that can be synthesized, or produced, by the human body. This, however, does not mean that those amino acids are any less important to your health, just that, because your body creates them on its own, it's not 'essential' that you get them from outside food sources. Essential amino acids, on the other hand, cannot be produced by the human body. These can only come from the foods you eat; hence the name, “essential”. A little more than half of all amino acids are non-essential. Nine amino acids are considered essential: histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan and valine.

Because you are teaching your body to limit its carb intake, it is very important that you compensate with the other two macronutrients, especially protein. Protein's most important jobs are to build up, maintain, repair and replace all lean muscle tissue in the body. Protein also helps your body by producing hemoglobin, the part of red blood cells that carry oxygen to every part of your body. It even produces important antibodies that fight off infection and disease.

But what most people don't know is that protein can actually help burn fat. Protein, along with exercise, aids in building lean muscle tissue…and lean muscle burns more calories and more fat. You see, muscle is metabolically “expensive” for your body. In other words, muscle requires more calories (energy) to maintain. So even at rest, with lean mass, your body is burning more energy off. It's that simple.

In addition, protein is very “thermic”, meaning that the body expends more calories digesting protein than it does digesting carbohydrates. This is because carbs are nature's fuel source. The human body was designed to digest carbs quickly and efficiently. So, with protein, not only do you feel fuller longer, but you're also burning more calories!

Because protein is typically found largely in animal products, which has a lot of saturated fat, people who consume too much of certain types of protein may be at risk for high cholesterol. This is why it is important to choose lean cuts of meat and not to forget about the other protein source, such as legumes and fish…and Doctor's CarbRite Diet Bars. Each delicious flavor has at least 18g of protein.