Get a Grip on Your Protein Consumption

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Diets often eliminate certain foods. However, there are certain types of foods that should never be left off your plate. Ever heard of macronutrients? Regardless of whether you follow a Paleo approach, prefer veganism or must avoid gluten for health reasons, your body requires macronutrients. Namely, these include carbohydrates, fats and protein. However, the composition of those nutrients varies greatly depending on your needs or goals. For instance, someone trying to lose weight may consume more protein than carbs. But even that approach raises some red flags.  

The USDA describes the average adult’s daily protein needs, “Adults in the U.S. are encouraged to get 10% to 35% of their day’s calories from protein foods. That’s about 46 grams of protein for women and 56 grams of protein for men.”[1]

Woman Cuts into Over-Easy Eggs on Toast with Avocado & Orange to Meet Daily Protein Needs |

But don’t we need more protein if we’re active?

The short answer: Yes. According to a 2010 edition of the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, athletes who participate in intense training regimens need 1.5 to 2.0 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, which equals about 0.68 to 0.91 grams of protein per pound of body weight each day.[2]

Is eating extra protein bad for me?

Don’t make the mistake of being too heavy handed on the protein. There are a few drawbacks. Too much protein can lead to elevated blood sugar, weight gain, kidney stress, leaching of bone minerals and stimulation of cancer cells.[3]

Another side effect of consuming too much protein with too little fat and fiber is constipation.[4] No one wants to feel uncomfortable after eating, which is even more reason to be mindful of all macronutrients – not just one.

What about protein powders?

Protein powders can fit into a healthy diet, as long as this convenience food doesn’t become your mainstay protein source every day. When choosing a quality protein powder, look for minimal ingredients, properly sourced protein and no added sugar or unidentifiable add-ins. Even premium protein powders still lack the nutrient density of fresh, whole foods like wild salmon or farm-fresh eggs.

So what’s the right dietary choice?

One way to make it easier on the mind (and body) is to approach your diet with common sense. It’s that simple. Balance is the most important factor in creating a healthy eating plan. Each meal should include macronutrients, plus fiber and water. Think of piling your plate with vegetables, and then top it with responsibly sourced protein and a serving of healthy fat.  

What does a balanced meal look like?

For breakfast, sauté spinach in a tablespoon of coconut oil, prepare two eggs over easy and serve it all with sliced avocado, a pinch of Himalayan pink salt and a twist of lime. You’ll get all the nutrients your body needs – not just the protein – and feel satisfied until lunch.

[1] “How Much Protein Do You Need?” WebMD. WebMD, n.d. Web. 20 May 2017.

[2] Writer, Leaf Group. “How Much Protein Do Athletes Need?” Healthy Eating | SF Gate. SF Gate, 07 Oct. 2016. Web. 20 May 2017

[3] “The Very Real Risks of Consuming Too Much Protein.” N.p., n.d. Web. 20 May 2017

[4] Climan, Anastasia. “Does Eating a Lot of Protein Cause Constipation?” LIVESTRONG.COM. Leaf Group, 18 Dec. 2013. Web. 20 May 2017.