Managing Your Health – Protein.
3 October 2016.
Staying healthy means make the best decision for you, and for many of us, it is hard to see clearly how to decide how to do this. If you read stories in the press, on the internet, or even listen to your friends, they all have advice on how to stay slim / avoid dieting / build muscle… The list is endless.
The problem is that, a) what worked for you in your 20’s and into your 30’s, will probably not work for you in your 40’s and 50’s. And b) what works for your friend, husband, co-worker, some annoyingly perfect celebrity in the public eye, will probably not work for you. Why not? Because they are not you, and for many of us, our metabolism, exercise levels and genetic background are all different and are what makes us the interesting individuals which we all are.
I recently listened to a brilliant podcast (2KetoDudes – a must listen show for anyone who has struggled to lose weight) and they did a great analysis of the variety of experts and research surrounding how much protein to eat. Because when it came down to it, there is not one rule – there are many guidelines. If you have excess body fat, then you can get away with eating little protein, as your body will use stored fat for needed energy before it needs protein. But if you are lean, or looking for build more muscle, you may need more protein. It is an individual thing. And if you manage your food intake successfully over time, you may have to change how you eat again, as you may lose enough body fat to need more protein.
Guidelines for protein intake: 0.5g per kilo of body weight for those with high levels of body fat. 1.0g per kilo of body weight for those who exercise and are trying to change body composition. For high intensity endurance training, up to 3.0g per kilogram of body weight will help with recovery from training. For some athletes, such as gymnasts, to retain lean body type, they may drop to 0.25g/kg, but need to watch balance between training sessions and competition to avoid muscle wasting. Spread the protein intake over the day, ie. around 20g per meal, over 3-5 meals.
Examples of this in your diet might be having an egg, bacon and baked beans for breakfast, chickpea and tuna salad for lunch, natural yoghurt for a snack, chicken and lentils and vegetables for dinner. You don’t have to eat a lot, or gorge upon meat, but small amounts of regular protein help to maintain energy and build muscles.
So the take home message is that you need to review YOUR body and YOUR needs regularly to get the best from your body and your health. And it may help to talk with a professional naturopath or sports dietitian if you are unsure how to proceed and to maintain best health for you.
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