Meats. Lentils. Protein shakes. Protein bars. There are countless sources of proteins, and regularly you will hear cases built on why one source is better than the other. But the real questions – how do you know if you are eating enough? What sources are the best? When should I eat it?
There are countless myths surrounding protein intake, and in most cases they are in fact MYTHS. The logic behind them may seem sound, but at the end of the day you need to know the truth behind protein consumption. First, let’s address how you know if you’re eating enough protein.
Protein is the building block of muscle tissue. If you engage in physical activity that taxes your muscles, you are likely breaking your muscles down in some way and need protein to efficiently rebuilding them. With that said – distance runners need less protein than sprinters. Runners will need different amounts of protein than people who attend intense fitness classes, and all groups need different amounts than people who regularly lift weights. To further complicate this, everyone is different. So now that we’ve established that everyone needs different amounts, the foundation of the answer to this question is that you need an amount that addresses your physical routine and needs. If you are trying to build muscle then you want to have a higher than normal protein intake. If you are just trying to maintain muscle mass, you need a lower protein intake. But if you are an active individual, protein should be something you are conscious of eating, because without enough protein your body will break down your muscles for fuel without properly rebuilding them. To learn more about specific nutrition, see our site about a macronutrient formula that is widely accepted, or contact us for nutrition consulting.
What’s the best source of protein?
The simple answer is – protein is protein. It does not necessarily matter if you are getting your protein from meats versus vegetation, however the additional nutrient levels in the foods are important. A serving of fish will give you less fat and more protein than a serving of peanuts. Health supplement companies pride themselves on having better protein products than other companies, but the biggest differentiator is the type of protein (soy, whey, etc.) and the additional supplements they put in the mixture and not necessarily the protein itself. Protein supplements are just what the name states – a supplement to get protein that is more concentrated, easier to consume, and has significantly less fat than most natural sources. So when you are looking for a good protein source, understand the ingredients and nutrients in the source and balance that with the rest of your ideal diet.
When should I eat protein?
There are many studies and theories that are proving and disproving when you should actually eat protein in your diet. Some say “30 minute window after you workout is your window”, or “as much as you can in the morning”. The only proven study to see when you should eat protein is the same study that follows your digestion and nutrient absorption patterns: consistently and regularly. If you space your nutrient intake over the day you give your body a better chance to fully absorb what you are consuming. This boosts your metabolism and allows you to absorb as much of your nutrients as possible before passing them or storing them.
When it comes to protein, you have to understand your body, your dietary needs, and make a plan based on your schedule. Know how much protein you need, find your favorite source, and make a schedule. Remember, like any nutritional plan try to make it as fun as possible. Find foods you enjoy, eat in moderation, and space your meals to boost your metabolism. Want to know more? Want to know about our nutrition plan? Contact us and we can help!
What’s your favorite source of protein? Tag us on social media and share with us how you fit protein into your diet. See our social media profiles on our home page!