In the 1980s we focused on fat, in the early 2000s we focused on carbohydrates, and now the hot topic has been protein. Most Americans today want to lose weight while building muscle and if it were easy it wouldn’t be the number one New Year’s resolution each year. Here is the 101 on protein.
If you are the “average Joe” who engages in recreational exercise the recommended dietary allowance is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. If you engage in resistance training, weight training, and/or are trying to build muscle, it is recommended 1.4-1.6 gm/kg of protein per day. To figure out how much you need, divide your body weight in pounds by 2.2. This turns your weight into kilograms. From here simply multiply your weight in kilograms by the amount of protein you need based off your goals or lifestyle.
If you weigh 142 lbs. (divide by 2.2= 64.5 kg). Maybe you want to get into body building and use 1-1.4 g/kg, this translates to: 65 to 90.3 g of protein per day.
So where should this protein come from? If you’ve stepped into a GNC or Vitamin Shoppe lately, looking for a protein powder can be simply overwhelming. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not throwing GNC or the Vitamin Shoppe under the bus, I have been a customer with both companies but ask any dietitian and they’ll tell you consume protein from food first, supplements second. Specifically, high-quality protein, such as eggs, dairy, poultry, seafood, and nuts and seeds.
While most people focus on protein to build lean muscle mass, protein also plays an important role in preventing chronic disease. There is growing evidence that high-protein foods sources such as fish, beans, nuts, and chicken in place of red meats can reduce risk of cardiovascular disease, improve diabetes management, and promote weight maintenance.
Bottom line, while protein is important for our fitness goals. The amount and quality of the protein source is just as important to achieve our fitness goals and prevent chronic disease.
Thanks for reading!
For more information:
The Nutrition Source: Protein. Retrieved from http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/what-should-you-eat/protein/
Phillips, S. M. (2013). Http://www.gssiweb.org/en/Article/sse-107-protein-consumption-and-resistance-exercise-maximizing-anabolic-potential. Sports Science Exchange, 26, 1-5. Retrieved February 25, 2016, from https://secure.footprint.net/gatorade/stg/gssiweb/pdf/107_Phillips_SSE.pdf.