Submitted by: Lynda Enright
Protein to feel satisfied
Protein is the component in our food that digests the most slowly. It helps us to feel full and satisfied. In a recent study published in The Journal of Nutrition Education, researchers said that a relatively high proportion of women in the U.S. who reported eating more protein to prevent weight gain were linked to reported weight loss.
How much protein do you need?
There are two ways to look at protein consumption in your diet. First is based on your body weight. Aim for about 0.4 grams of protein for every pound of body weight. For example, if your current weight is 200 lbs., consuming about 80 grams of protein may be your goal. Second is based on the percentage of protein in your diet. For example, if you consume 2000 calories per day, you may aim for 15-20% of your calories from protein which would equal about 75-100 grams of protein. I find it most useful to look at a range. There is a limit to how much protein is best in your diet so you should not look at the recommendation as simply a minimum.
Not too much
Too much protein can have negative consequences including 1) kidney damage due to the extra work of metabolizing nitrogen found in protein, 2) ketosis which can lead to glucose intolerance and insulin resistance then leading to hypertension, hyperlipidemia and heart disease, 3) bone breakdown due to leeching of calcium from the bones to assist in protein absorption.
The first step is to simply pay attention to how much protein you consume in a day. Use the list below to begin tracking your protein intake.
1 oz. chicken breast – 6g
1 oz. ground turkey or beef – 5g
1 oz. beef – 6g
1 oz. salmon – 6g
1 oz. tilapia – 6 g
1 egg – 6g
½ C cottage cheese – 14g
1 oz. mozzarella cheese – 7g
1 oz. cheddar cheese – 7g
1 C skim milk – 9g
1 C black beans – 15 g
*3 oz. serving of meat is about the size of a deck of cards.
Are you in a healthy range? Are you trying to lose weight and would increasing protein help to keep you more satisfied? Do you use a computer program to track your intake? If so simply look at your protein grams and see how you are doing. If you don’t track overall food intake, simply post a note to your computer/desk and note how much protein you are eating throughout the day. Take it home at night and add up your total at the end of the day. Are you close? What are meals where you notice your intake is low? After a lower protein meal do you notice feeling hungrier sooner than after a meal where you have a good source of protein?
Consider your goals
Are you where you want to be with your health, weight and wellbeing? If you are struggling to lose weight, if you don’t have energy throughout the day, or if you aren’t as successful in exercise as you once were – consider if the dietary choices you are making are having an impact on how you feel and on your success. If what you are doing isn’t working, consider where there may be room for improvement.
I see people on every end of the spectrum. For some of us who crave carbs and grains tend to be staples in the diet – paying attention to protein intake can be very important. In contrast, other individuals who supplement with protein in addition to having a diet rich in meat and dairy products may need to cut back on protein for their best health. Somewhere in between is best for most people. By tracking, even for a day or two, you can start to get a better picture of where you are on the protein scale and make some adjustments to look and feel your best.
About the Author: Lynda Enright, MS, RD, CLT is certified as a Wellness Coach and LEAP Therapist who partners with women who want to look and feel amazing by helping them lose weight and reduce inflammation which can cause fatigue, bloating, acid reflux, congestion, brain fog or achy joints. For FREE meal planning ideas to help you eat well, lose weight and reduce inflammation – click on the following link to get Ten Meals In A Bag – Answering the Question, “What’s for Dinner?”http://www.bewellconsulting.com/newsletter
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