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Protein That Packs A Punch

April 15, 2014

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Protein is one of the most versatile nutrients that we have. Not only is it the building block for bones, muscle, blood, skin, etc but it can help in weight loss and management. The misconception is that you have to eat a lot of protein to maximize the effect. According to the CDC adult women need minimum of 46g and adult men need about 56g per day. Seeing as though a cup of milk has about 8g it is not too hard to get in those minimums. Now if you are an athlete, breastfeeding, or working, you will want to talk to a dietitian to see how much you need to add. The general consensus is to add 10-20% to the above number.  The issue that most people have is not getting enough protein but getting this important nutrient from the right sources. In the next couple of paragraphs I will talk about good sources of protein and why it is such a great help in weight loss and management. 

The source of your protein is just as important as the nutrient. For instance, a double baconator burger from Wendys has more than twice as many grams of protein as 3 oz piece of grilled salmon (50 vs. 20) but it also has 350% more calories (700 vs. 200). A bad source of protein will not help build your body stronger. Good sources of protein are: milk, soy milk, tofu, beans, grilled chicken, grilled fish, greek yogurt, eggs, almonds, cashews, peanuts, lentils, etc. Protein shakes/bars/supplements are okay in moderation but natural sources of protein are better than processed although processed proteins may be necessary in certain situations. 

Protein is a vital nutrient when it comes to weight loss and management because of it’s flexibility. Not only does it boost your metabolism which helps burn calories but it also keeps you fuller longer which means you don’t eat as many calories throughout the day. Each meal and snack should have a protein component. We’ve all had a couple pieces of toast and an hour later been starving; adding an boiled egg to the toast will keep you full longer without adding a lot of calories. 

We have all seen the bodybuilder that drinks 5 protein shakes and eats 3 whole chicken (exaggeration) and thought “Wow! Is that what I need to be eating??!” You do not have to do that to be healthy. As a matter of fact, the jury is still out on whether or not the body endures long term damage from eating “too much” protein. My experience is that if I eat more than normal I get gassy and my stomach hurts for a little while. To prevent that “over-proteined” feeling, drink a lot of water and be sure to eat plenty of fiber.  Also, spread out your protein intake throughout the day and make sure that it comes from a variety of sources. Eating a diverse type of protein to go along with a balanced diet will help keep you strong and your body operating at it’s best! 

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