The Science, the Scoop on Protein
We hear it and see it every where we go: gyms, diet plans, health blogs, Facebook, TV, articles, fitness magazines, etc…
EAT YOUR PROTEIN!
Protein at every meal. Protein shakes. Protein bars. Protein bites. Lean protein.
I tend to agree. We need our protein. Protein not only helps keep us full, helps regulate blood sugar, builds lean muscle, improves our immune systems and aids in hormone synthesis, but protein is also the source of building blocks for all of our cells, tissues, muscles and organs. We need protein to rebuild and repair what we break down during the day by using our bodies and via exercise.
But have you ever taken time to find what all this protein hype is about? Or just how much do you really need?
How much protein is really enough?
This depends on a number of things. Age, sex, activity level, job requirements, injuries, illness. In general, here is the rule:
**For every KG of body weight, the average human needs .8g of protein.
**For every KG of body weight, an athlete needs anywhere from 1.2 – 2.0g of protein. (This totally depends on training program, intensity, sport, duration of exercise)
Things to note here…
* YOUR body weight / 2.2 = kilograms of body weight
* The term athlete is a matter of perception. However, anyone who is highly active, training for a specific program or exercising daily at a moderate to high intensity would be considered an athlete.
So, let’s break this down a bit to understand protein intake more in depth.
Recommended daily dietary consumption for your macros should be somewhere in this range:
Carb = 45 – 55%
Protein = 10 – 35%
Healthy Fat = 20 – 35%
Take a 40yo woman who is avid exerciser,150 lbs, 5′ 8″ tall and wants to eat a very balance diet to maintain weight (with macro % being 50/25/25). She would need to eat about 2200 calories per day.
This breaks down to 1100 cals of carbohydrate ( = to 275g)
550 cals of protein ( = to 137g)
550 cals of healthy fats ( = to 61g)
To get adequate protein intake to rebuild and repair, this woman needs to be eating protein with every meal and snack during her day.
Now let’s look at a 45yo man, who is moderately active exercising about 4 times per week, is 220 lbs, 6′ 2″ tall and wants to lean out a bit and build some muscle (with macro breakdown being 45/30/25). He would need to eat about 2400 calories per day.
This breaks down to 1125 cals of carbohydrate ( = 270g)
750 cals of protein ( = 188g)
625 cals of healthy fats ( = 69g)
For reference purposes, let’s look at foods that are the highest source of protein:
lean meats (22g for 3oz)
fish (20g for 4oz)
beans (7g for 1/2 cup)
dairy (23g for 1 cup Greek yogurt)
eggs (6g for 1 egg)
nuts (5g for 1/4 cup)
You can also get LOTS of good protein from plant sources.
In all honesty, I was inspired to write on protein after watching the documentary, What the Health, a couple of weeks ago. In my past couple of blogs, I shared that I was going to try eating vegetarian for 2 weeks to see how I felt because the information in that documentary was so disturbing.
With that being said, I have not had any chicken, turkey or red meat for 8 days now and I feel great! I have, however, eaten fish and eggs (which I get from a local farm) for protein. Seeing as tofu just isn’t my thing and I know that my body needs good protein to refuel after the workouts that I do daily at Burn, I feel good and am sticking with fish and eggs for now 😉 I would find it very hard to get the protein I need during the day without these foods and my shakes.
Plus, I just love seafood. There is no way I would give that up!
Regardless of where you choose to get your protein, hopefully this helps a little bit with the scoop on protein.