Is Protein Good For You?
Why is Protein Good For You?
Everyone these days seems to be aware of the high-protein, low-carbohydrate diets, which are the hottest craze since Atkins. Those involved in body building and weight training are gulping down protein shakes while cyclists, fun runners and others are eating up protein bars, all in the name of weight loss.
Protein is an all important component of every cell in the body. Your body uses protein to build and repair tissues as well as to make enzymes, hormones, and other body chemicals. Lack of protein can cause growth failure, loss of muscle mass, decreased immunity, weakening of the heart and respiratory system, and death. So you may assume the solution is to eat protein all day long. Not so fast, say nutritionists.
How Much Protein Is Enough?
Macro nutrients include fat, carbohydrates and protein, of which your body requires large amounts. On the other hand vitamins and minerals which are considered “micro nutrients” are only needed in small quantities. But unlike fat and carbohydrates, the body does not store protein and as such has no reservoir to go to when more is needed.
Studies have shown that much less protein is actually needed by the body then previously thought, and more importantly the sources of protein from food should be the main consideration. These days we are actually getting more than enough protein from sources such as meat, poultry, and eggs.
The truth about protein is that many people don’t need as much as they are consuming and not everyone needs the same amount of protein. This extra protein will not help you build more muscle or make you stronger but will end up with you taking in more calories and fat than your body can use.Two to three servings of protein-rich foods will meet the daily needs of most adults.
Note- Meat, poultry, seafood, beans and peas, eggs, soy products, nuts, and seeds are all considered part of the Protein Foods Group.
Meat And Fish
- Free range organic beef, deer, bison, chicken, pork and duck etc.
- Servings of meat, poultry, or fish, should be the size and thickness of the palm of your hand, that’s about a 3-ounce portion. The U.S. recommended daily allowance of protein is .8 grams per kilogram of body-weight (.36 grams per pound) for the general population.
Animal Protein Quick Reference Guide
Beef: T-Bone Steak 3oz (28g) provides 19g of protein, 1 Piece of Beef Jerky (20g) provides 7g of protein.
Chicken: Chicken Breast (58g) provides 17g protein. Chicken Leg (69g) provides 18g protein. Chicken Thigh (37g) provides 9g protein
Pork: Sirloin Roast 3oz (28g) provides 23g of protein, Ham 3oz (28g) provides 18g of protein, 1 slice of bacon (8g) provides 3g of protein
Cheese high in protein per ounce(28g): Low-fat Cottage Cheese (5g), Low-fat Swiss Cheese (8g), Low-fat Cheddar (6g), Parmesan (10g), Romano (9g). *Low or Non Fat Mozzarella and Cottage Cheese provide the most protein per calorie, full fat cheeses typically only provide 1g protein per 20 calories, and are less optimal sources of protein.
Milk: 1 cup skim milk (245g) provides 8g protein, 1 cup soymilk (243g) provides 8g protein.
- Beans such as black beans and garbanzos to lentils and split peas.
- Certain whole grains such as protein-rich quinoa, spelt, and amaranth.
- Vegetables, nuts, and seeds.
- Vegans can meet their protein needs, but it takes careful planning and may require more food.
- Combining plant proteins, such as rice and beans or hummus on pita bread, will then become “complete” with all the essential amino acids found in animal protein.
- ¼ cup cooked beans, (1 egg), 1 tablespoon of peanut butter, or ½ ounce of nuts or seeds can be considered as 1 ounce equivalent from the Protein Foods Group.
Beans: Kidney Beans (17g), White Beans (17g), Lima Beans (15g), Fava Beans (14g), Black Beans (15g), Mung Beans (14g).
Nuts and seeds: high in protein (grams proten per ounce (28g)): Peanuts (7g), Almonds (6g), Pistachios (6g), Sunflower Seeds (6g), Flaxseed (5g), Mixed Nuts (4g).
Note: There are twenty different amino acids that can form a protein, and nine that the body can’t produce on its own which are called essential amino acids. So in order to be considered “complete,” a protein must contain all nine of these essential amino acids in roughly equal amounts.
The Best Food Sources for Protein
Seafood-Seafood is an excellent source, and fish such as salmon contain omega-3 fatty acids.
Poultry-Poultry is another excellent source.
Milk, Cheese, and Yogurt-Not only are dairy foods like milk, cheese, and yogurt excellent sources, but they also contain valuable calcium.
Eggs– are one of the best and least expensive forms of protein.
Beans– One-half cup of beans contains as much protein as an ounce of broiled steak. Plus, they are loaded with fiber to keep you feeling full for hours.
Pork-This great and versatile white meat is 31% leaner than it was 20 years ago.
Free Range Beef-Lean beef is also an excellent source of zinc, iron, and vitamin B12.
Soy-Fifty grams of soy protein daily can help lower cholesterol by about 3%. Soy should be eaten in moderation.
Protein can help you shed those unwanted pounds and keep your belly full. But it’s important to eat the right amount and the right kind of protein to get its health benefits.
Remember fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts and seeds, lack one or more essential amino acids. People who don’t eat meat, fish, poultry, eggs, or dairy products need to eat a variety of protein-containing foods each day in order to get all the amino acids needed to make new protein.
If you believe you are not getting enough protein or are a professional athlete, body builder etc. you may want to consider supplementing your protein intake. If that is the case, see my product recommendations for a Whey Protein supplement and click here
PS: I hope you enjoyed this article- If you have any questions or want to leave your own personal comments, join the conversation below, I want to hear your thoughts on Protein!
To your best health,
images courtesy of commons.wikimedia.org