The Protein Gospel

You can literally be completely clueless about nutrition and weight loss and still know this: Eating Protein is the key. It’s satiating as hell, keeps our metabolism firing, our blood sugar levels stable and of course it builds strong muscles (so you can carry your shopping without looking embarrassingly puny). But there’s a lot of products with high protein banners sprawled across the labels (enter protein bread – marketing genius!!), which makes knowing when and how to eat it very confusing.

Proteins are considered long chains of amino acids, which are the important molecules we get from our diet. Amino acids can be found in many different types of foods, even vegetables, but the highest sources are those that come from animals – like meat, fish & eggs. Literally every function of your cells, organs and whole body is controlled by proteins. I’ve been on what most would call a “high-protein diet” for the better half of a decade so by now I’ve worked out the exact requirements needed where I feel my body functions optimally. Here’s my advice on unleashing the full potential of this macronutrient:

  • Eat a variety of protein sources: Without enough diverse protein food sources in your diet, you risk becoming deficient in certain amino acids. The result? Low energy, trouble building muscle mass, low concentration and memory, mood swings, unstable blood sugar levels and trouble losing weight.
  • Eat frequent, smaller serves: Don’t eat all your protein in one sitting. Wolfing down a 500g steak dinner tonight (as tempting as that may sound) doesn’t cover you for the day! Eating frequent, smaller meals put lets stress on the digestive system and keeps readily available amino acids for repair and recovery when necessary.
  • Don’t eat “fake protein foods”: Despite what the labels say, protein bread, protein muffins & protein bars don’t have the same nutrient value as good ol’ fashioned animal protein! Eating a bunch of protein bars isn’t going to help you lose body fat – they’re loaded with fake sugars and preservatives that’ll just give you digestive grief, drive your blood sugar up and then you’ll just get fat and they don’t even taste good.
  • Don’t just eat protein & fats like a crazed paleo peanut: By skipping on vegetables you’re going to miss out on a load of key vitamins and minerals that improves immune function and will give you energy for when you are throwing spears at wild animals and crapping in the forrest.

Everyone like to know exactly how much they need to get results – good news is it does’t matter what your goal is the protein intake always remains the same (its the carbs I alter to see either fat loss or muscle gain results but I’ll save that for the next blog). For women aim for 100-120g, and men aim for 220-250g. So, now that you understand why dietary protein is so crucial to our health, how to use it effectively and good sources of it, keep munching!