Protein, as opposed to carbohydrates, is an essential macro nutrient – meaning you must have it in your diet because you can’t live without it – not for very long.
Different people have different demands for the amount of protein they should consume.
Earlier today I listened to a podcast by Chris Kresser. Chris discussed a topic that isn’t often discussed even in the nutrition and diet circles – ‘Should you eat more protein in your diet’.
I urge you to head over to Chris Kresser’s website and listen to this podcast.
The take-away points of his talk – the way I understand it – are:
- We have a feed back system in our brains that tells us how much protein we need – if we need more we crave it, if we need less we eat less of it. So, eat as much protein as you crave (that’s Chris Kresser’s general advice on protein)
- In some people this feed back mechanism in the brain does not work properly. It could be due to inflammation in the brain or other disease
- Most people who lead normal lives are fine with 15 percent protein intake, based on total calories consumed. 15 percent is the average protein consumption in the western countries
- Some individuals require less protein in their diets. Those include individuals with pre-existing kidney disease and pregnant women
- Some individuals require more protein. People that need more protein in their diets include: athletes, individuals on a fat loss diet, individuals with metabolic and blood sugar health issues, people with adrenal fatigue syndrome, people that waste muscle tissue (elderly and those with wasting diseases)
- If you require higher protein intake for recovery and re-building you cannot rely on this feed back mechanism. You have to know that you need more
- Wholesome sources of protein are better than highly-processed sources (like protein powders)
- But, when it makes sense (very high protein demands and costs of wholesome sources, or disrupted digestive processes – inefficient bile or stomach acid, etc.) protein powders are a reasonable addition to the diet
- Animal protein sources are better (more bioavailable) than plant protein sources
- Dairy proteins are the most bioavailable, followed by eggs and meat
- Non-denatured whey is better (I have an article on this, too)
- Hydrolyzed(partially digested) beef protein powder is another good choice – especially if it includes collage protein in it. It is balanced better as far as amino acids – it doesn’t have over-abundance of certain amino acids (like methionine from pure lean meats and whey)
- If plant proteins must be used – pea protein is a good choice, especially if it is hydrolyzed (I used to use pea protein in baking when I had my specialty bakery)
This is all good info, but the question that remained unanswered for me is: ‘If a person requires more protein in their diet how much exactly should that person eat? How much is too little? How much is just enough? And, how much is too much?
These are questions that I want to find answers to. I am trying to practice and master extreme calisthenics (still an amateur, but..) and these bodywegith workouts could be very, very demanding.
And, there are subtleties, too. For example, if you eat more protein (and calories) than you need you gain too much mass and become too heavy. If you eat less you don’t recover well and your performance suffers.
So, I am personally interested in knowing exactly how much protein should I eat daily, based on my personal activities and lifestyle so that I recover well enough but don’t gain even an ounce of non-efficient mass (fat).
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