The Secret to Healthy Eating. Part 2 – Protein
Posted on 25th January 2016 at 11:12
Today I’ll shed some light into the broad variety/selection of protein choices you actually have, how much protein you should be having, and why you should avoid eating too much.
We have all heard about the importance of protein for health and fat loss. You can’t pick up a health magazine today without seeing the word protein plastered everywhere. Even with all the exposure about the benefits of protein, we still seem limited in the choice with what to eat. There are more ways of getting protein into your diet than eggs, chicken and tuna.
First, let’s quickly recap on why protein is so essential for health and, ultimately, fat loss.
Fundamentally, if you don’t have adequate protein intake, your body can’t function properly. Protein is critical in your body’s ability to create enzymes, hormones, neurotransmitters and antibodies. As we all know, Protein is also used for growth and repair of cells within the body, but it might surprise you to learn that protein actually helps you feel fuller for longer! Diets low in protein can cause your muscle mass to drop which, in turn, will slow down your metabolism and ultimately make fat loss harder.
Now enough of the formal introductions let’s get to the stuff you are here for.
When people start a nutrition plan they often complain that they quickly get bored. Understandable when all they consume are eggs, chicken and tuna on a rotation -enough to drive anyone nutritionally insane.
To the right is an example food plan that I give my clients to address this issue.
The food plan gives you a rough idea how much of each meat/fish you would need to eat consume 30g of protein. Hopefully it’s evident that I like to give me clients a huge amount of choice when it comes to their protein intake – after all, variety is the spice of life.
“Why is it all from animals” I hear you cry?
Protein is in fact made up of amino acid molecules. These molecules combine together to form different proteins. Essentially protein is just a catchy name we use to describe these groups. But it’s the makeup of the protein that we are interested in – the so called ‘amino profile’. Animal protein is a more complete protein vs plant protein and contain more essential amino acids. Essential amino acids are defined as those that we can’t produce ourselves and so must obtain them from our diets for optimal health. Plant proteins on a vegetarian diet also require more calories to get adequate amounts of protein. Which sounds great, more food! However living on beans and tofo means you are constantly eating carbohydrates which as we learned a few article ago plays a huge part in insulin resistance and fat gain
Please note, that all weights shown in this chart are a guide and may change depending on cooking method. However, if you always go by this weight then at least you have a bench mark to guide you rather than relying on guesswork. Also note that I am not saying vegetarians can’t get into great shape, because they can. But due to the lack of essential amino acids in their diet it requires a lot more supplementation and is a lot harder.
So, here are my guidelines on how much protein you should be eating, how to avoid eating too much protein and what type of protein is best at what time.
* How much protein should I be eating? Below is a simple equation I use to work out how much protein you should be on.
Your weight in lbs x (0.8 for females) and (1.2 for males).
So a 132lbs (60kg) female should be aiming to get 105g of protein a day (132 x 0.8). Once you have your number simply divide it by the number of meals you have in a day and this will tell you roughly how much protein you should be consuming per meal. To use the female above 105 / 3 meals a day = 35g per meal.
These numbers are at the lower end of the scale. I aim to build my females up to 1 and my males up to 1.3-1.5 grams per lbs. But I start low for a reason -see next point.
* Take a digestive enzyme. If you have been eating a low protein diet and go straight in at the deep-end you will soon become constipated. This is simply because your body doesn’t have the enzyme capacity to break down the protein efficiently enough. This is why my clients are encouraged to take a digestive enzyme for the first few months of starting my nutrition plans. This simple supplement helps your body break down and use the protein. Over time your body will start to up regulate its own production and this supplement will no longer be necessary.I personally recommend a supplement called Nutrigest by Nutri. I have no affiliation with them and I get no money from you buying this product.
* Have lean protein with carbs. Wild and game meat shown on the plan is extremely lean especially when you buy it in mince form (weight on chart is for mince). It’s a good idea to have lean protein with your carbs as you don’t want the fat from the protein to slow down the release of the carbs. In some cases you do. However keep it simple. Salmon and fatty meat/fish with fat meals only. Lean protein with carb meals.
There should be more than enough information presented here to get you started.
This weeks ‘home learning’ to building your own healthy nutrition plan is simple.
Find out how much protein you need and, using my chart, try and have protein with every meal you have. Next week we will be looking at fats!
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