Completing our MACRONUTRIENT SERIES: Protein

To complete our MACROnutrient series, today we’re going to talk about PROTEIN.

Things we’ve heard about protein:

  • We need 1g of protein for every LB you pay (Myth).
  • You need supplements to “build muscle” or lose weight (Myth).
  • You have to eat protein with every meal and snack (Myth).
  • You can’t gain weight or body fat (Myth).

Facts:

  • You “need” .8-1g of protein per kg, which is actually 2.2 lbs. If you’re an athlete, you’ll likely want to consume between 1.2-2g per 2.2 lbs to help build muscle and aid in recovery.
  • You don’t need supplements to build muscle OR lose weight.

To be clear, supplements can be a convenient (but expensive) source of protein, but it’s definitely a luxury item. Food BEFORE supplements. While I recommend focusing on whole foods, if you need supplements to hit your protein goals, go for it but do your research.

*Some of my favorites protein sups are Legion protein and Built Bars (the Coconut Almond is my absolute favorite).

**P.s-Supplements AREN’T regulated by the FDA.

As long as you’re hitting your protein goal and you aren’t experiencing any issues with digestion or appetite, you don’t need to eat protein at every meal or snack. HOWEVER, eating well-balanced meals can help with digestion and fatigue.

  • You CAN gain weight by overeating even if it’s protein! In addition to factors such as water retention, excessive bloating, and digestion issues… if you’re eating over your TDEE (Total Daily Energy Expenditure), you will gain weight REGARDLESS of which macronutrient puts you “over.”

Additionally, protein is the only macronutrient that your body isn’t capable of reserving. Both fat and carbs can be stored for later use (aka: energy reserves), but protein can’t. Either it helps build and repair tissue and bone, or it doesn’t.

Some everyday protein staples are:

  • Chicken
    • Breasts are low in fat
    • Thighs are higher in fat but are more forgiving when reheated
  • Turkey
    • They’re kind of high in fat… they have about 8g per serving.
  • Beef
    • Comes in several different ratios of fat.
    • It’s more flavorful and reheats better than turkey.
  • Pork
    • Flavorful (I mean.. have you heard of bacon?)
    • High in fat
  • Fish/Shellfish
    • Low in calories/High in protein
    • EXCEPT for Salmon. Salmon is high in fat (therefor high in calories).
  • Greek Yogurt
    • Has full fat/low fat options
    • Can be high in sugar
  • Cottage cheese
    • Has full fat/low fat options

There are also several protein options that are meat free and even vegan.

  • Lentils/Quinoa (Plus it’s high in fiber)
  • Milk
  • Tofu
  • Seitan
  • Tempeh
  • Edamame
  • Chia seeds
  • Nuts

Whats your favorite protein?