Protein is an essential macro nutrient for our body. Clients often ask how much protein they should be eating. In truth the body does not need very much to function, but to function optimally and reach your health and fitness goals you may need much more than you thought. Having a higher protein diet is helpful during weight loss for many reasons. In addition to providing that "full tummy" feeling, protein has a very high thermic effect, meaning that protein burns more calories than other macro nutrients during digestion. Consumption of Protein also helps repair damaged muscle tissue and the amino acids from the break down of protein are essential to collagen production.
The amount of protein needed varies based on individuals body structure, activity level, and goals. The range of recommendation is anywhere between .35-1.5g per pound of body weight. Athletes or very active individuals would be on the higher end of this range.
WHAT TO EAT:
Ideally our protein comes from chicken, turkey, seafood, lean beef, lean pork and eggs. Animal sources of protein provide our bodies with all 9 essential amino acids and are considered highly bioavailable which means our bodies can break down and use them more readily than other sources of protein like soy, legumes etc. That said, not everyone eats animal products so if that's you, you'll have to play with alternatives sources of protein and find a couple that you like. Below is a list of products that I've used or continue to use to supplement my protein intake. For the most part I stuck with eggs, chicken, and fish, but when I'm in a hurry or short on groceries these products definitely help.
Powders: (keep in mind whey is milk protein)
Show me the Whey (Nugget chocolate or vanilla Whey)
MRM Whey Vanilla Flavor (also sold at Nugget)
Life Basics Vanilla (vegan) Sold at the Coop, but much cheaper online
Met-Rx Protein Plus (Trader Joes or online)
Premier Protein Shakes (Costco)
Muscle Milk Light (safeway)
Pure Protein (Trader Joes or online)
Met-Rx Protein plus (online or Safeway)
Pure Protein (online or Safeway)
Quest (sold at GNC)
And here's the recipe for my favorite quick protein fix.
Happy 4th of July! Be safe and fill up on protein before you head out your celebration, you'll be less likely to snack when you get there!