Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The 411 on Protein.

Hello, hello! Long time, no talk! I'll spare you any sort of excuse as to why I've been MIA in the blog world, and get right to your main reason for visiting Everyday Eating; topics on how to better your health. 

Ready. Set. Here we go. 

This past Friday, I spent my afternoon at the Standard Process office in Westerville, listening to doctors and presenters talk about creative ways to improve the health of patients. (For those of you who aren't familiar with Standard Process, they are a supplement company that sells whole, natural food supplements). I share this little detail of my week with you guys because I left this forum with several ideas and topics that I can't wait to share and discuss on the blog. Awesome, right? Of course it is! So without further adieu, I bring to you, important information regarding.... PROTEIN!

Something that sparked my interest on Friday, was the topic of protein. The actual discussion probably lasted 2 minutes, at most, but it was enough to make me think.

Ask 10 people about protein, and I bet you a cup of coffee that at least 6 of those people will immediately think about protein shakes, bulging bicep muscles and the stereotypical "meat head" image.

Ask those same 10 people, and I bet you another cup of coffee that at least 5 of those people have no idea whether or not they're getting enough protein in their daily diet.

So how much protein do we need on a daily basis?
What happens if you don't get enough protein?
Is there such thing as too much protein?
Lucky for you, I'm answering ALLL those questions...

Daily Protein Amounts.
The RDA suggests that for every kilogram of body weight, you should eat 0.8 grams of protein. For all you illiterate math people (me included) that's about 0.32 grams of protein per pound of body weight. A 120 pound female would need about 38 grams of protein a day. A 210 pound male would need about 67 grams of protein. And as always, more protein may be needed depending on your physical activity.

Not Enough Protein.
Protein helps build new cells and tissue - all cells and tissue - not just muscle. It's the building block for bone, muscle, skin, hair and blood. When your body doesn't get adequate protein, your immune system suffers. You get sick quicker and more often. You feel fatigued and lack energy. Your muscles begin to deteriorate, as will your sleep. In some cases, you may start to feel moody or even depressed if you aren't getting adequate amount of protein in your daily diet.

Too Much Protein.
Too much protein in our daily diets will cause stress on other parts of our body. The excess protein will cause build up of ketones in the body, which will cause the kidneys to be stressed and excrete more water, which will then lead to dehydration, and you don't want dehydration.

Over the weekend I took a look at my typical diet and realized that I don't eat nearly as much protein as I should. In realizing this, I decided to do a little experiment. I made sure to include a good source of protein in each of my 3 meals Saturday and Sunday. I took the less creative route and stuck with chicken, tuna and salmon (typical go-to protein sources). In those 2 days, I noticed I was more full and satisfied after each meal, I snacked less, I fell asleep faster, I stayed asleep throughout the night and I even felt more refreshed throughout the day. Try it! You'll be surprised how much protein you don't eat once you keep track.

I've rambled far too long to go into further info about protein, but I am planning an upcoming post about different sources of protein, and sources not just limited to meat. I know vegetarians sometimes have an awful time trying to enough protein into their diet without going crazy from lack of ideas... so sit tight, I'll have more info in the upcoming weeks :)

Until then.... get your protein in!

Stay Healthy,

1 comment:

  1. This was a very interesting topic, thanks Erin. I once calculated that I need 55 grams of protein a day, being an active young female (weighing more than your example.) I almost never reach this, but I try to usually get to about 35 grams. I of course struggle with protein being a vegetarian. It is easy to add protein drinks, bars, and powders to your diet BUT everything is better consumed as a whole food, so I try to get my protein from food, not supplements. There are really surprising ways to get protein like cottage cheese and quinoa and chickpeas and almonds and greek yogurt. Yum!!!!