Which advice do you take when looking at what to eat, how to get a balanced diet or lose weight?
Do we need to eat a diet high in protein like some common diets suggest?
In this post I will focus on protein. Why we need it and how much of it we need. I will discuss carbs and fats a little because all 3 need to be addressed but check out my other posts for more on fats and carbs in detail.
Firstly protein is just one of the 3 macronutrients we need for a balanced diet. Protein keeps us fuller for longer, repairs muscles and is essential for cell growth.
Protein and carbohydrates contain 4cal per gram. Fat has 9calories a gram and alcohol has 7.
From that you can see you can eat more protein and carbs, and be eating less calories than fat. Your diet should make up all 3, and from that 50-60% coming from carbs, 15-20% from protein and the rest fats.
People who decide to take on more protein in there diets tend to then have lower carbs. From a training point of view I always worry when people consume low carbohydrate and high fats and proteins.
Some people go low carb believing eating higher fats and protein causes less bloating and weight loss. However a lot of weight lost is water.
You need carbs for everything from energy to thyroid and digestion. Without carbs symptoms of headaches, hormone imbalances, fatigue and mood swings can pursue.
Who can train and get a good workout feeling like that?!
Also when you start to eat carbs again (because lets face it low carb is not always sustainable) any weight loss (water) soon returns.
High protein diets are useful for men training very hard when muscle building. The amount of calories they need to consume can be too much to eat, and they supplement with protein shakes to get extra calories and protein. This helps to repair muscle after workouts, reduce fatigue and feed the body.
Many studies show you do not need extra protein if hitting the gym. You can get all your protein from lean meats, eggs and fish. Quality is more important for maximising muscle repair. Animal sources are best as they are complete proteins. They contain all the essential amino acids that the body requires. Plant proteins do not and you would have to eat 25% more plant proteins to do the same job. Putting protein powder Into porridge, oats, shakes etc could be taking your protein intake too high and actually making you gain weight. Any protein not used by the body will be stored as fat.
The body can only synthesis 30g protein at a time. Research suggests people who ate 15% protein in there diet snacked less than people who ate 10%. However increases of 25% didn’t show much difference from 15%.
So how can you work out how much protein your body needs? Easy…
Your weight or ideal weight in kg x0.8-1.8
Use 0.8 if sedentary
1-1.8 if under stress, pregnant, or recovering from illness, or train consistently using weights or endurance training.
How to get protein into your diet
So a 65kg lady would need 65grams minimum if exercising 3 times a week for example.
Breakfast = small pot of Greek yoghurt (170g) = 15g
Lunch = boiled egg and tuna (100g) salad = 36g
Dinner = chicken breast 4oz = 32g
Easily hitting over 65grams needed a day.
How does your diet compare? Are you getting enough protein or are you struggling to eat right? Are you taking protein powder when you do not need to? I personally would rather eat my calories than drink them, it’s more filling and rewarding.
Being a nutritional therapist I can help you eat healthy and feel great.
Meals need to be fuelling you for your life and provide you with the energy to train, work and move.
If your tired, snack and pick at food, but always feel hungry your not eating correctly.
Please Contact me for help and advice.