Before I start, be sure to 'like' Happy Life, Healthy Life on facebook please! x There are so so so many misconceptions about protein. Obviously, protein needs to be a part of your diet. I mean, the word "protein" is derived from the Greek language and means "of primary importance". So obviously, it's important. But just how much protein should you be eating? And is eating too much protein bad? And what if you're a vegetarian, now what? Let me sooth your anxiety ridden mind with the soothing ointment of answers.
1. How much protein should I be eating?
-I will use myself as an example. If you're like me (or have been reading my blog), you know your BMR. If you don't, click this, read, figure it out, and come back. Back? Cool.
So my BMR is 2,164 calories. AKA if I was in a coma, this is how many calories I'd need to be fed in order to maintain my current weight. Now, 15% of my daily intake of calories should be calories from protein (60% from carbs, 25% from fat). Let's figure out how many grams that is.
2,164 calories x .15 (the 15%) = 324.6
Now, 324.6 divided by 4 calories (because it's 4 calories/gram of protein)= about 81 grams.
That seemed a little steep to me but I realized I factored in my activity level to my BMR. Which is cool. So 81 grams of protein/day. For me. Now go do yours.
While you were doing that I was questioning my sexuality. Moving on.
Question 2- Is eating too much protein bad for you? Or will I get leaner?
The long answer short is yes. Eating WAY too much protein is not good for you over a long period of time. Mainly for your kidneys because they are the organ that the protein is filtered through. Your body is a well oiled machine. Over working your kidneys by loading them up with double the amount of protein you need is going to exhaust them. Anyone want kidney stones? Didn't think so. Will you get leaner if you eat more than enough protein? NO! THIS IS IMPORTANT SO LISTEN UP.
I have heard a LOT of people say they are going to up the amount of protein in their diet to get leaner. However, most of them aren't cutting anything out. This goes back to one of my favorite sayings about weight. It is calories in vs. calories out. PERIOD. So let's say I have eaten a perfect 2,164 calories today, then, for some reason, decide I need to protein load before bed. So I drink a protein shake with a scoop of protein powder, milk, and a banana. A perfectly good snack HOWEVER, I just went 300 calories over my needs! But they are good calories sooo...NOPE. Doesn't matter. Unlike carbohydrates and fat, your body cannot, repeat, CANNOT store protein! Any excess calories you put in your body, even if they're from protein, will be stored as fat. Fact.
Question 3- I'm a vegetarian I need the extra protein right?
False. What do the following World Champion athletes all have in common, besides strength and endurance? They must be big meat eaters, right?
Henry Aaron – All Time Baseball Home Run Champion
Dave Scott - 6-time winner of the Ironman Triathlon (the only man to win it more than twice!) Sixto Linares - World Record holder in the 24-hour Triathlon
Paavo Nurmi - 20 World Records and 9 Olympic Medals in distance running
Stan Price - World Record holder in the Bench Press
Andreas Cahling - Mr. International Body Building Champion
Roy Hilligan - Mr. America Body Building Champion
Ridgely Abele - 8-Time National Champion in Karate
Wrong. They are all vegetarians! For non animal sources of protein, what do you think my favorite is? You know it. Greek yogurt baby. There is also an amazing concept called "complete proteins". These are foods that when eaten together, form the perfect protein. Aka contain all the essential amino acids (building blocks of protein). They are as follows:
-A whole egg (the white + the yolk)
-Rice and black beans
-Whole wheat bread and peanut butter
-Sunflower seeds and peanuts
-Lentils and almonds
-Hummus (because hummus is chickpeas and tahini aka sesame seeds)
Actually, here's an awesome chart. Pick anything from the top two rows, and combine it with either anything from the bottom two rows, or with a grain:
Hurray vegetarians rejoice!
There is a little bit of protein in almost everything you eat. There is no need to stress. No need to obsessively consume protein shakes for every snack. Just become aware of it! And FYI, how have I never done this before? Greek yogurt covered berries, frozen. Yes please!