I’m sure you've heard of it. When it comes to nutrition, everyone talks about it.
But even with all this chatter…do you REALLY understand protein?
We're going to share a brief introduction to this builder of lean tissue. Why? Well, because, let’s be honest, you don’t need to know EVERYTHING but a super basic understanding will help you nail your nutrition and health goals on your epic journey.
WHAT IS PROTEIN?
Protein is one of the three main groupings of food that we need to survive and thrive. This grouping is called a macronutrient (protein/fat/carbs). Protein = 1 of your macronutrients
WHY DO OUR BODIES NEED IT?
Our bodies like protein because it is made up of amino acids. These are used in just about every bodily function and are part of the structures of our muscles, tendons and bones. The human body needs amino acids hence the body needs protein.
Our body makes some types of amino acids, but not all types. There are certain types of amino acids that only come from food. If we don’t provide an adequate supply of amino acids, our body will take it from other structures (muscles, bones) in our body.
It also makes up structures such as hair, nails, nerves, organs. If you think about it, you ARE protein!
WHAT DOES PROTEIN DO FOR US?
- It helps to build AND rebuild muscles.
- It helps in the production of hormones and the transportation of chemicals within the body.
- It is higher on the Satiety Index which means it helps you to feel FULL for LONGER.
- It is low on the Glycemic Index which means it won’t SPIKE your blood sugar that way carbs will.
Very simply, it helps you build muscle, get toned, consume less calories, regulate hormones, and feel AWESOME! Do those sound like some of your goals?
HOW MUCH SHOULD I HAVE EVERYDAY?
It will depend on your weight, activity level and your goals, but we recommend that, on average, you should consume between .36g – .74g of protein per pound of body weight. Roughly 1/3 to 2/3 of your bodyweight in grams.
This amount may seem like a large amount, but keep in mind that most people don't consume an adequate about of protein and that the .36g per pound of bodyweight is the MINIUM for healthy body function.
CAN I EAT TOO MUCH?
The short answer is yes… but as long as you aim to have balanced diet of vegetable, protein, fats and carbs you will most likely get full before you over eat on protein. For most people the chances of going overboard are HIGHLY unlikely.
WHAT ARE SOME LEAN PROTEIN OPTIONS TO ADD TO MY DIET?
Ground Turkey or chicken or lean ground beef**
Plain Yogurts – plain because it is low in sugar but you can add fruit to spice it up
PB2 – peanut putter alternative
Beef Jerky – careful with choosing lower sodium options
**Food items with the largest amount of protein
HOW MUCH PROTEIN FOR FAT LOSS?
Protein is a solid choice for fat loss for all of the reasons I mentioned above. But how much do you ACTUALLY need?
First, you MUST understand that when it comes to fat loss the MOST IMPORTANT factor is burning more calories than you consume. This will ALWAYS be the #1 Rule for fat loss!
That said, protein is going to be your secret weapon. It will
- Help you maintain and build muscle
- Increase your metabolic rate
- Keep you satiated
- Help you look toned when you get leaner
Once you nail your caloric deficit, we recommend aiming for somewhere between 1/3 and 2/3 of your bodyweight in grams of protein. For example, if you weigh 150lbs anywhere between 50 grams and 100 grams is a good minimum target. If you're able to nail your deficit and you're training pretty hard and trying to burn those last layers of fat we recommend getting in as much as your bodyweight in grams of protein!
If your goal is fat loss, the rest of your calories should be made up of good decisions. And don't forget the deficit!
WRAPPING IT UP
Protein is absolutely essential for not only life to exist but for you to stay strong, lean and toned to be able to stay active and live your best life! It is a great tool for both building muscle AND burning fat which always makes it an important component in each meal.
And although it's important for fat loss, it's not as important as staying in that caloric deficit!