« | Home | »

Protein FAQ

By Anne Keckler | February 16, 2008

I’ve gotten a few questions about protein, since I last posted about it a couple of days ago. Here are some answers for you.

Okay, really now, how much protein do I need?

How do I know if I’m getting too much protein?

Which foods are high in protein?

Which protein supplements are best?

How many servings of protein should I eat each day?

How much is a serving, anyway?

How can I add protein to my diet without raising my cholesterol?

How can I add protein to my diet if I’m a vegetarian?

 

 

 

Okay, really now, how much protein do I need?

I wish I could answer that definitively. Anyone who gives you a pat answer is either misleading you, or hasn’t read the scientific literature on the subject.

But you want an answer. Someplace to start, at least.

Assuming you want to be lean and muscular, and based on the studies I have read, I can safely recommend 1 gram of protein per pound of lean body mass per day, but not more than 30% of calories from protein, for healthy active individuals. There are exceptions to this rule of thumb, but without a personal consultation and full medical history, as well as ongoing regular assessments, this would be my recommendation. If you have a metabolic disorder, or renal problems, you should consult your doctor, as a high protein diet may be detrimental to your health in certain cases.

How do I know if I’m getting too much protein?

Several people expressed concern about this after I mentioned that excessive protein consumption can reduce testosterone production.

It appears that any severe decrease or increase in calories will interfere with testosterone production. This gives us yet another reason to make gradual changes in lifestyle, rather than crash dieting. The study that I read concluded that when protein consumption exceeds carbohydrate consumption, testosterone excretion in the urine increases. This does not necessarily mean that the bioactive fraction of testosterone decreased, because that was not directly measured. More research is needed in this area.

It seems safe to say that an individual can consume up to four times the US RDA of protein per day without harmful side effects. Noticeable, early symptoms of excessive protein consumption would include nausea and diarrhea.

Keep in mind that a high-protein diet increases your risk of dehydration, so drink more water.

Which foods are high in protein?

All meat and animal products contain complete protein. These include milk, cheese, eggs, fish, beef, pork, chicken, and game. Plant foods contain incomplete proteins, and should be combined for best effect. Nuts, seeds, legumes (beans, including soybeans), seaweed, and algae contain moderate amounts of various amino acids, the building blocks of protein.

Which protein supplements are best?

Many bodybuilders swear by isolated whey protein powder. It doesn’t taste all that great, but it delivers protein that is rapidly absorbed by the body. This is considered optimum for your post-workout protein supplement.

If you need more protein, a casein protein powder is considered a good choice for a late night snack. It takes a long time to digest, and will deliver protein to your system over several hours.

Many protein supplements, including bars and shakes, contain artificial sweeteners, which I try to avoid.

How many servings of protein should I eat each day?

The USDA recommends 2 – 3 servings of fish, poulry, or meat daily. For someone who is trying to gain muscle, or simply maintain lean mass while losing fat, I recommend eating small portions of protein foods throughout the day. Five or six small meals per day would be a good idea for many people. This gives you a consistent supply of protein, as well as calories. It promotes satiety, thereby preventing hunger.

How much is a serving, anyway?

Many people have tried to answer this question, in varying ways. I love visual cues, as discussed in a recent post by MacDaddy over at Get Fit Slowly. Ultimately, though, you’re going to have to base it on how much protein you want per day, and divide that by the number of servings you intend to eat. So if you intend to consume 120 grams of protein each day, and you want to eat six small meals, you will want 20 grams of protein per meal. A three-ounce serving of fish, poultry, or lean meat will satisfy this requirement. Three ounces of meat or poultry, or fish such as tuna or salmon steak, will be about the size of a deck of cards, according to Lisa R. Young’s, The Portion Teller: Smartsize Your Way to Permanent Weight Loss. That’s about one-half of a chicken breast.

How can I add protein to my diet without raising my cholesterol?

Many people continue to recommend a low-protein diet, or at least a low-fat diet, thinking it will reduce serum cholesterol levels. This has not been proven, and it actually appears that our bodies will produce a set amount of cholesterol regardless of how much we consume.

The best ways to reduce your cholesterol levels are to exercise daily, consume enough fiber, and avoid trans-fats. Trans-fats are those “partially hydrogenated vegetable oils” you find in the ingredients list of most prepared foods. It’s what margarine is made from. I’ll discuss this more when I write about fat.

How can I add protein to my diet if I’m a vegetarian?

Soy protein has long been touted as the ultimate solution for vegetarians. We now know, however, that soy reduces testosterone levels, which can interfere with muscle gains. For more information regarding protein and a vegetarian lifestyle, I recommend that you read one of the vegetarian sites, such as Vegan Bodybuilding and Fitness or Vegetarian Bodybuilder, Steve Holt.

Vegetarianism is not a lifestyle I adhere to, as I don’t believe humans are vegetarian by nature. Supplements of B-12 are necessary, as this essential nutrient is only available from animal sources. If the vegetarian lifestyle interests you, I suggest you take a look at the websites I link above, and Google for more. Find someone who is willing to research the latest scientific findings. As with all areas of health and fitness, there are a lot of myths that get repeated everywhere as if they are absolute truth.

Related posts:

  1. Nutrition: Protein
  2. Best Diet
  3. Meal Planning
  4. How to Lower Your Cholesterol
  5. 146 Reasons Why Sugar Is Ruining Your Health _Not!

Related posts:

  1. Nutrition: Protein
  2. Best Diet
  3. Meal Planning
  4. How to Lower Your Cholesterol
  5. 146 Reasons Why Sugar Is Ruining Your Health _Not!

... Stumble it! ... Save to del.icio.us

Topics: Most Popular!, Nutrition | No Comments »

Comments

"about"the weekender cialishttp://www.ojeandalucia.org/gisk/buying-zovirax-online-ukhttp://www.ojeandalucia.org/gisk/buy-tetracycline-500mg-onlineclickestrace 2mghttp://www.ojeandalucia.org/gisk/viagra-with-dapoxetine-reviewstriamterene hctz 37 5 25 mgpay for concert tickets with echeckcomo comprar adopamina sin recetaamerican express viagrabig sky pharmacy canadahttp://www.ojeandalucia.org/gisk/where-to-buy-orlistatcanada accutanehttp://www.ojeandalucia.org/gisk/lowest-priced-doxycyclineperfectpharmacyrxhttp://www.ojeandalucia.org/gisk/buy-retina-no-prescriptionhttp://www.ojeandalucia.org/gisk/no-precreption-viagra-paypalviagra discount on linehttp://www.ojeandalucia.org/gisk/viagra-online-generic
xenistat vs xenicalretin a online purchunicure remedies viagrafluoxetine 20mg online no prescriptionorder alesse no prescriptioncan i buy beta blockers in europeviagra 800 goldmexican pharmacy oxycontinis there a generic for cymbalta 60 mgpharmacy rx one order statuscanadian 24 pharmacyreal viagra pfizer for saleorder zanaflex overnitealli shipping overseasanxiety medications onlinelevitra genericobuy viagra online paypalzpack online next day shippinhsyntehtic viagra paypalvaltrex from canada