Protein: Why? How Much? When? What?

Protein is the macro-nutrient that women tend to eat in the smallest quantity.

After reading this, my hope is that you’ll double down on your intake and here’s why….

First of all, what does protein do? Why do you need to eat it at all?

Let’s break it down…

❓Why do I need protein?

• Building blocks for the body
• Composed of amino acids
• There are 8 essential amino acids & 11 non-essential amino acids
• Complete proteins contain all 8 essential amino acids
• Food source proteins take approximately two hours to digest
• All sources are 4 calories per gram

❓How much protein do I need?

A team of researchers sought out to discover some stuff about protein:
J Am Diet Assoc. 2009 Sep;109(9):1582-6.
A moderate serving of high-quality protein maximally stimulates skeletal muscle protein synthesis in young and elderly subjects.
Basically, researchers wanted to see if a 90 gram serving of protein (about the equivalent of 12 oz of grilled chicken breast) would elicit a greater muscle building response when compared to a 30 gram serving (approximately 4 oz of grilled chicken, beef, etc).

The conclusion:  Typically, the body can utilize approximately 30 grams of protein for muscle building purposes at a time. Elite athletes and bodybuilders, can possibly use a bit more.

What we can, however, learn from this study is a very general rule:

It’s best to have a little protein with every meal and snack because there seems to be an upper limit to the amount of protein that the body can use toward rebuilding or building muscle at any one time.

In addition, you’ll want to consume in the ball park of .7-1.2 g of protein per pound of body weight on a daily basis.

❓When should I have protein?

As the study above suggests, it’s great to spread your protein through out the day. You’ll get the benefit of controlling blood sugar, energy surges and dips and suppressing hunger as well.

After an intense workout is a great time to have protein too. A ratio of 1:1 carbs/protein is a good mix to down in liquid form after your workout for quick recovering and rebuilding of tissues.

❓What are examples of quality protein?

Here are some of my favorite protein ideas (not including animal protein: beef, fish, chicken, pork, etc):

✅Greek yogurt (plain) + protein powder (just a little for flavor) + fruit
✅Hard boiled eggs or eggs of any sort cooked any style
✅Beef/turkey jerky (look for low sugar)
✅Cottage cheese
✅Quinoa (higher in carbs and 8 grams protein per cup)
✅Broccoli – who knew? 5 grams protein per cup
✅Hemp seeds
✅Chia seeds
✅Protein bars (preferably home made – bought bars I use sparingly, I love the RX brand most)
✅Protein powder (mostly in smoothies with veggies and other good stuff)
✅Canned tuna/salmon (I can’t stomach sardines, but those too)
❌Nuts – use sparingly – they’re higher in fat/calories than in protein

Need more direction with your nutrition?

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