So often, people think they need to go hungry in hopes of getting lean; they think they need to do lots of cardio, eat a lot of salads and give up on favorite foods such as meat. That is so far from the truth. Are you tired of going hungry? What if I told you that if you wanted to reach your goals you needed to eat more meat and protein, would you believe me?
I will keep it as simple as possible and I will try my best to help you learn why protein is one of the best things you can add to your diet when you want to lose weight and gain muscle.
What exactly is Protein?
Did you know that amino acids create the protein that our body uses to preform many of its vital functions?
There are eight essential amino acids that we need to get from consuming them in our diets, because they aren’t something that our bodies can make by itself. In addition, there are four amino acids that are considered ‘conditionally essential’ – which means our bodies can’t always make them due to stress, surgery or trauma.
Amino acids are used for just about everything our bodies do, and if we aren’t giving our bodies what they need, they will take whatever they can (cannibalize) from our existing enzymes and our structure proteins, which are our muscles.
We need to continuously replenish our amino acids so our bodies can use them to produce enzymes, hormones, neurotransmitters, and antibodies that fight infections or illness (the immune system). Protein helps replace worn out cells, transports various substances throughout the body and aids in growth and repair. According to Precision Nutrition, consuming protein can also increase levels of the hormone glucagon, which can help control body fat. Glucagon is released when blood sugar levels decrease, which causes the liver to break down stored glycogen into glucose.
How much protein do I need?
The minimum protein requirement is 0.8 grams per kilogram of weight (or 0.36 grams per pound, but this amount is only to prevent protein deficiency. The most we need to consume is 1.4-2.0 grams per kilogram. Active individuals who are doing high intensity training, such as bodybuilders, rely on 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight, which translates to 150 grams per day for an individual who weights 150 pounds.
How much protein is too much?
It has been said that a high protein intake can harm the kidneys, however this is widely recognized as a myth. Precision Nutrition, for example, indicates that normal protein intake poses little to no health risk in healthy people, and even a high protein intake (2.8 grams per kilogram, or 1.2 grams per pound) doesn’t seem to impair kidney status or renal function in people with healthy kidneys. Plant proteins, not surprisingly, are particularly safe.
What should I be eating to get enough protein in my diet?
Make sure you’re getting enough protein in your diet to support proper immune function, metabolism, weight management, satiety and strong performance. The protein sources with the highest content are meat, poultry, eggs, fish, milk and cheese. Plant proteins should be varied, as some plants may not contain high amounts of each essential amino acid, which makes them an ‘incomplete protein.’ They need to be combined with another plant protein in the same meal to create a complete protein.
How often do I need to eat protein?
Protein dense foods should be consumed with each meal, as our bodies can only store a certain amount of protein at a time. That’s why we need to continuously add more as we eat during the day. So as long as you are eating enough, you won’t have to worry about going hungry and you will be getting closer and closer to your goals.
Do you have a favourite dish that is rich in protein? Share the recipe in the comments below to give other people new ideas of how to get more protein into their diets!
Get serious about your results. The first step must begin with you!
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