Last week I was working a demo for Betancourt Nutritional Supplements at a local gym where more than once I was asked by a female…
“Protein shake? I don’t what to get fat or too bulky!”
I was SHOCKED that there are still ladies out there that haven’t learned how important protein is to achieve our health and fitness goals. Lose weight. Gain a booty. Less hungry throughout the day (once you get over your emotional tie to food that is). Protein helps with all of these.
Yes, if you eat ANYTHING in excess you will gain weight, but protein is not likely to be the problem. For most people it’s too many low quality carbs and fats along with not moving enough (enough is based off your body’s needs).
What is Protein?
If you Google it you will get this definition:
Any of a class of nitrogenous organic compounds that consist of large molecules composed of one or more long chains of amino acids and are an essential part of all living organisms, especially as structural components of body tissues such as muscle, hair, collagen, etc., and as enzymes and antibodies.¹
In layman’s terms, protein is (without getting too deep into the science) a bunch of amino acids joined together. Amino acids are the building blocks of life that help our everyday functions.
There are 2 types of amino acids:
Essential amino acids, ones that our body can not make enough of
Non-essential amino acids, ones that our body can
Kristy… Ok I know I should eat protein because my body needs it? But why does it need it? Where do I get it from? And how much?
Great questions! 🙂
We need to INGEST PROTEIN (eat or drink) for 2 reasons:
1. We need to get those Essential Amino Acids from somewhere. Without them our body would not function, making every day life activities more difficult.
2. The body does not store protein as much as it does carbs and fats.
Once you ingest and digest protein, it enters the plasma pool of amino acids. (Think of this as your bank account). But like your paycheck, it doesn’t stay in the bank for long.
Protein is used in:
-Cellular growth/ repair (from the muscles of your heart to your glutes)
-Producing hormones (hormone like glucagon which can help to control body fat. Glucagon is released when blood sugar levels go down. This causes the liver to break down stored glycogen into glucose for the body)²
– The creating or helping the functions of your body’s enzymes & antibodies
Where can I get protein from?
To keep it simple the easiest way to get protein is to eat anything that comes from an animal.
-Supplements like shakes (casein, whey, beef, and egg)
For people that are Vegan/ Vegetarian:
-Supplement shakes (Chickpea, Hemp, Sunflower)
* Soy is also a protein, but I highly recommend limiting your soy intake.
Yes, nuts/nut butters (like Peanut, almond, etc), cheese, and grains like quinoa do have protein, but they are not a complete protein and are more of a fat or carb.
How much should I eat?
For a sedentary but healthy person (someone that sits a lot and does not work out) the minimum amount needed DAILY is .8g x kgs of body mass. This amount in the MINIMUM that your body needs to replace the amount of protein turned over in that plasma pool in a day.
For an active and healthy person the recommendation is between 1.0-2.0g x kgs of body mass. (1lb = .45kgs about) to build and recover from your daily life and activities.
Kristy… I did the math… how am I going to get that many grams of protein in on a daily basis?
Some of the tips I give my clients:
1. Make sure you have some kind of protein source every time you eat. Here’s a good starting point for the “everyday person”. Think of a serving as the size of your palm.
2. Supplement with a protein shake. Most protein powders are between 15-36g per serving. *If you are looking to lose weight watch the added sugar/carbs. I like to keep my carbs lower in my shakes, but if you are looking to add weight you can go for one with added carbs.
If you have any other questions when it comes to how protein can help you lose, maintain or gain weight, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I can help you with a meal plan.
Check out this blog about different protein supplements:
¹ Google Search of Protein, 2015
² Precision Nutrition: Flatt JP 1978; Tappy L, 1996; Blom WA et al., 2006; Latner JD, Schwartz M, 1999.