How Much Protein Do You Need
When it comes to diet, fat and protein are key to a properly functioning body but how much protein do you need?
Did you know that our hormones are made up of both fat (cholesterol) and protein?
Without protein and healthy fats in our diet, our body just cannot physically make enough hormones which results in all sorts of very common health problems.
Hormonal imbalances can manifest in a host of different ways from brain fog to weight gain, moodiness, infertility and a whole lot more.
Our nervous system also operates via nerve conductors that are covered in a myelin coating made out of again, protein and fat. Without these two key ingredients, our nervous system cannot transmit messages properly throughout the body, think of it as short circuiting your body!
Getting adequate amounts of protein is extremely important as protein is the building block of our cells, muscles, tissues, and so much more. Protein plays many roles in the human body, which are responsible for a myriad of functions some of them include, roles in transporting/storage, as a structural component (collagen, muscle tissues, etc.), messengers (hormones, etc.), enzymes, and antibodies.
So how much protein do we need to thrive?
There are many schools of thought on this topic with some advocating for a hefty serve of meat with every meal and others advocating for protein moderation and restriction.
Fact number 1- Protein takes more energy than anything else to digest.
If we consume too much of it we are burdening our body by making it work harder than it needs.
That energy could be used by the body to heal and repair rather than just simple digestion. Remember this bit of information.
Humans were never designed to use protein as our main energy source.
Watch this talk from Nora Gedgaudas as she covers off all about excess protein consumption.
If you are new to Paleo, remember that fat, not protein should make up the bulk of your calories. There is no such thing as Low Fat Paleo. Also remember that any oil free or low fat diet is potentially very dangerous to your health long term. Do not bother even contemplating it.
Now back to protein. Past a certain amount, protein ceases to be purely beneficial and really can place considerable demand on energy and digestive, etc. systems that can also lead to consequences such as sluggish digestion, excess ammonia burden, stress on the liver and kidneys and potential weight gain.
Excessive protein consumption also takes away from your own repair and maintenance system (protein requires a lot of energy to metabolise) and speeds up the signs of aging as a result. Nobody wants that!
Did you know that excess protein is simply turned into glucose and stored as fat?
The general consensus out there particularly from the muscle enthusiasts is that protein is turned into muscle. Sorry guys, that isn’t true. Protein can be stowed away as unwanted fat just like carb’s.
The human body’s ability to metabolise protein ends at around 35%. Eating anything less than 10% of your diet in protein won’t give your body what it needs to remain strong and function optimally.
Some people, particularly those following a strict paleo diet fall into the trap of trying to get most of their energy from protein, especially after drastically reducing their carbohydrate consumption when they stop eating grains.
We aim for a daily protein level of 20% or roughly between 50-70 grams a day at MGO depending on your build.
What does this look like? Well a standard day might be one serve of animal protein around the size of a deck of cards, an egg and a good handful of nuts/seeds. For the Vegans, replace the egg and animal protein with a serve of lentils with a serve of quinoa. That’s it.
We will never serve you meat with every meal. In our opinion, that is unnecessary and a burden to our environment. A meal without meat isn’t going to see you wither away and die ok and your body will thank you for the reprieve.
Whether or not you eat animal protein is your choice and at the end of the day, you need to do what feels right to you.
Remember that protein doesn’t just come in the form of meat. If you don’t see a piece of animal protein with a meal, it doesn’t mean you are not consuming any protein.
Vegetarian diets and even vegan diets which are a bit more restrictive, can contain more than enough protein for your body to thrive and overall maintain a healthy lifestyle when thought out and planned properly. Plant based forms of protein however can be digested a bit differently and are not as bioavailable as animal proteins.
We are huge fans of fatty proteins such as those found in nuts and seeds. Seriously hemp is just a downright amazing source of plant protein as is quinoa and as such we pack as much of them in as possible.
Lentils when prepared correctly offer amazing sources of digestible protein as do many dark green leafy veg such as the famous kale.
In short, you don’t have to overdo the protein consumption and it comes in many guises beyond that of the animal variety.
When you are eating our meals, just remember that your body is getting all the protein it needs to feel great and look great, even if it doesn’t contain meat.
We’re aiming for whole health, hormonal balance and wellbeing here at My Goodness Organics not Arnold Schwarzenegger size ‘guns’.
Want to read more about the protein situation? Nora is a wealth of knowledge on the subject.