How Much Protein Should You Eat?

Smoothies, shakes, supplements: There’s no shortage of products that come with promises to boost your protein intake. But do you really need that extra protein?

“I think a lot of people feel pressured by all the marketing out there, making them feel like their diet is protein-deficient,” says Douglas Paddon-Jones, Ph.D., a professor of nutrition and metabolism at the University of Texas Medical Branch.

Before you start eating extra steak or mixing protein powder into your smoothies, it’s important to assess what your protein requirements actually are and the best ways to get the right amount.

How Much Protein Do You Need?

Protein is the building block for most of our cells; dietary protein helps us build muscle and maintain healthy bones. It also boosts energy and helps us feel full.

According to the Dietary Reference Intakes from the USDA, most people need about 0.4 grams of protein per pound of body weight. So someone who weighs 150 pounds would need about 60 grams of protein each day. (For a more individualized estimate of how much protein you need, you can enter your height, weight, and age into the USDA’s calculator.)

Considering that one 170g skinless, cooked chicken breast contains 54 grams of protein, achieving the recommended daily intake isn’t a high hurdle for most. Despite the crowded market for protein supplements and all the manufacturers touting the high protein content in their products, “most of us are already getting an adequate amount in our diet,” says Paddon-Jones.

Certain people, such as very strict vegans and those who lack access to healthy food in general, may have a harder time hitting those modest goals. (See “What Are the Best Protein Sources?” below for ideas on how to get more.)

Who Needs Extra Protein?

If you’re trying to build muscle mass or you’re a serious athlete, your daily protein needs can be up to double the average. Paddon-Jones cautions that this doesn’t really apply to someone who hits the gym a few times each week. “We’re talking about a small group of people who are working their bodies hard, every day,” he says.

Dieters also sometimes increase their protein intake in order to achieve a feeling of fullness without adding the empty calories of, say, refined carbohydrates. If you’re trying to lose weight, research suggests that aiming for 0.7 grams of daily protein for every pound you weigh might help.

After age 60, getting at least 0.6 grams per pound daily can help prevent age-related muscle loss, or sarcopenia, which increases the risk of disability.

If you have certain medical concerns—you’re recovering from broken bones or a severe burn, for example—your doctor may advise you to up your protein intake. The nutrient could help with regrowth and cell generation, and might speed the healing process.

What Are the Best Protein Sources?

Animal proteins are often touted as “complete proteins” because they contain all eight amino acids—which assist in healthy metabolism and body function—that your body doesn’t produce on its own. Plant-based protein sources lack some of these acids, but you can mix and match (e.g., combining brown rice and beans, or putting peanut butter on whole-grain bread) to make a complete protein.

Paddon-Jones says you shouldn’t spend too much time fretting that your protein sources are incomplete; it’s more important to eat a generally balanced diet. “If you’re getting your protein from spinach and beans, you’re getting all sorts of great nutrients that more than compensate for any lacking amino acids,” he says.

In general, shoot for a diet that includes a variety of protein sources, such as lean meat, seafood, eggs, yogurt, tofu, quinoa, nuts, and beans. These types of whole foods aren’t just good sources of protein; they’re also rich in vitamins, minerals, and other beneficial nutrients.

Federal dietary guidelines show that Americans—particularly men and teenage boys—get most of their protein from meat, poultry, and eggs. “It’s always smart to aim for a variety of nutrient sources in your diet,” says Maxine Siegel, R.D., who heads CR’s food-testing lab.

In general, avoid using protein supplements and shakes. Though protein-packed meal-replacement shakes can seem convenient, they’re often packed with unwanted sugars and other additives, and they generally lack the key nutrients you get from whole foods. And independent testing has shown that some protein products contain high amounts of arsenic, cadmium, and other dangerous heavy metals.

Can You Overdo It?

Research has shown that the body has a limited capacity to process large amounts of protein all at once. One study in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics found that someone who ingests 90 grams of protein in a meal gets roughly the same benefits as someone who ingests 30 grams.

It’s better to space out your protein intake over the course of the day in order for your body to use it all effectively. Start with, say, yogurt or eggs in the morning, get some tuna for lunch, then move onto a lean meat at dinner. You can supplement throughout the day with smart protein snacks like hummus and veggies or peanut butter on crackers or sliced apples.

For most healthy adults, there isn’t a significant danger to getting more than the recommended amount of protein naturally in your diet.

“Unless you’re [genetically predisposed to] kidney issues such as advanced type 2 diabetes and kidney disease, there are few established health risks of ingesting too much protein,” says Jamie Baum, Ph.D., an associate professor of nutrition at the University of Arkansas.

Some research has shown potentially adverse effects of excess protein intake, such as straining the kidneys and the liver. But that’s generally only among people who are upping their intake with supplements. And if your protein is coming predominantly from animal sources, you could face corollary risks associated with high-meat diets, such as higher rates of coronary heart disease.

“As with so much else in diet and nutrition, the key to healthy protein intake is balance and moderation,” says Siegel.

Source: Consumer Reports

Intermittent Fasting

We are super excited to reveal that we have  incorporated a fasting protocol into our 4 week program at www.4weekfatflush.com as well as some new super easy recipes for the first few weeks to make the transition as easy as possible for the whole family.

I intermittent fast pretty much every single day, and find it a very natural approach, which is what a paleo (low carb, healthy fat or ketogenic) lifestyle promotes, as once you are fat adapted, you stop the hunger cravings for food, as you are supplying the body its key nutrients in the most natural way, which in turn makes this way of eating cheaper and quicker.

The whole notion of 3 small meals throughout the day and snacking in between (recommendation of the Dietitians Association of Australia) is not based on evolutionary science but created to help the multinational food industry stay in business by keeping the population craving carbs and not being able to maintain a healthy weight or to stay healthy.

These days I generally eat 2 good meals a day and sometimes just one depending on how I feel (I eat when I am hungry.)  The other thing to consider, is the more exercise you do, the more you generally want to eat. Which is why we provide a at home fitness plan, when your body adapts and you have the energy, then you can increase your activity do the activities/exercises that make you happy including some resistance exercises and running (see bottom of post for who intermittent fasting may not be suitable for and to always consult with your health professional prior.)

Here is a little information from the recipes/meal planning area of the program.

Your Week 1 Meal Plan

Our suggested meal plans have been designed to be easy and affordable for all, whilst also considering that many of us live in differing regions with differing accessibility.

You will have access to your meal plan as soon as you join to enable you to purchase the required ingredients at your local supermarket, butcher, health food shop or farmers market. Don’t be afraid to be adventurous in your cooking and experiment with your new way of cooking

Fasting

Fasting is the ultimate way to limit and help control the body’s insulin production. The latest scientific research suggests that fasting could play a part in the prevention of many conditions, especially obesity and type 2 diabetes. New research suggests that restricting the number of insulin-spiking carbohydrates and excess protein, by intermittent fasting, is one of the best ways we can live a healthy life. It’s only in the last 50 years that fasting has stopped being used as a healing modality in the western world, but it’s free and easy. All you need is a little bit of information to get going.

What fasting does is stop the body from needing to produce insulin for the period of the fast. By fasting intermittently, we are able to normalise our blood-sugar levels and lose weight. Fasting teaches our body to produce only the insulin it needs to function – something our bodies do naturally, unless the process is disrupted by too many starchy and sugary foods.

A low-carb lifestyle works in a similar way, offering an impressive 70 per cent of the insulin-lowering ability of fasting. Used in tandem, the two are very effective: a low-carb diet makes fasting easier. Because you’ve already turned on your fat-burning switch, fasting enables your body to get the maximum benefits from eating in this way. Several programs pairing fasting with a low-carb lifestyle have had success with helping people with metabolic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, manage their condition more effectively.

If you choose to fast, it can be either breakfast or dinner;

If you want to fast at breakfast, eat your evening meal before 6pm and delay your first meal of the next day until 10am, so you fast for a period of 16 hours overnight. This can be done daily as there are no negative health consequences to eating only during eight hours of the day. If you don’t think you can skip breakfast entirely, then try one of our bone broths or fat smoothies instead.

If you find that you get hungry in the morning, try fasting at dinner. Make yourself some breakfast, have a late lunch and then skip dinner.
If you are comfortable with intermittent fasting then adopt it for the whole 4 weeks of the program.

Of course, it’s best to work with your healthcare professional to find a way of fasting that’s right for you, especially if you take regular medication. Note that fasting is not recommended for babies, children, teenagers, elderly people, pregnant or breast feeding women, type 1 diabetics or those with hypoglycaemia.

To join the 4 Week Fat Flush go to www.4weekfatflush.com/the-program

 

 

 

Paleo Chicken & Coriander

For relish:
– 1/4 cup chopped coriander
– 1/4 cup of chopped red or yellow or combo of capsicum.
– just under 1/4 of olive oil. Your pick
– salt/ pepper
– crushed garlic
– a few tsp of lemon
– lemon zest
Mix all together and let sit for half hour.

Coriander aioli;
– make a mayo with a handful of coriander and roasted garlic.
When done, add quarter cup of chopped coriander some additional lemon zest and roasted garlic. Let sit and always taste for flavor.

For chicken;
– 2 tsp of cumin, sweet red pepper, garlic, salt, cardamon, oregano, honey
– 4 tsp of coconut aminos
– a gentle pour of EVOO or olive oil
– rough chop of coriander
– crushed garlic.
Mix all in a zip-lock bag and massage bag occasionally. I used 6 chicken legs and pocked with fork all around so we get flavor in. Or you will need two days to sit in bag.
Heat oven to 190 and bake for 25 min then turn legs and cook for 10 min, turn again and cook for 5-7 min.

To plate
Four aioli across plate, add chicken legs or whatever you like (I cut breast and thighs in half), pour relish across top and finish with some slice tomato in between. Voila and enjoy!