Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson reportedly fuels his Hollywood physique on approximately 500 grams of protein a day spread over 7 meals, while former World’s Strongest Man Eddie ‘The Beast’ Hall thought nothing of munching his way through steaks, chickens and tuna sandwiches on his way to the title. And while casual gym goers are more than aware of the benefits of adding a little more protein to their daily diet, it’s unlikely that everyone understands the nuances of this booming market.
The benefits of a protein-packed diet are well documented, but there is still some confusion around this vital nutrient, and how it can best be used to achieve your health, fitness and weight loss goals. To dispel the myths around this incredibly popular food group, top Nutritionist, Liam Mahoney from Grenade (www.grenade.com), the leading Active Nutrition sports performance and nutrition brand, shares his Do’s and Don’ts:
DO consume your protein between meals
People tend to eat the most amount of protein towards the end of the day with their evening meal. To achieve the best results, you should be evenly consuming your protein intake throughout the day. The recommended daily allowance is 45g for women and 55g for men, this is the minimum you should be consuming per day. Ideally, this should be split between breakfast, lunch, dinner and mid-meal snacks. Protein consumption helps regulate your hunger hormones and keeps you fuller for longer, so by eating protein regularly throughout the day (particularly with breakfast), it can help with unnecessary snacking, contributing to a successful weight management regime.
DO invest in good quality protein snacks
Well-established brands have recognised the popularity of protein products, and have reacted to this consumer demand by including more protein in their product portfolios. Consumers are also becoming well-informed with their meal and snack choices, so do not be fooled by protein taglines, just because your favourite chocolate brand now sell ‘protein’ versions of their leading confectionary lines does not mean you have found a healthy alternative. When choosing a high protein snack, make sure you look at the packaging and ingredient lists. If you are looking for a great tasting, confectionary style bar then I recommend the Carb Killa range from Grenade (https://www.grenade.com/uk/grenade-carb-killa), each bar contains approximately 23 grams of high-quality protein and are loaded with fibre. Available in a large range of flavours, they’re also low in sugar and calories, and contain low impact carbs to ensure your blood sugar levels stay balanced.
DO consume the right amount of protein
The DRI (Dietary Reference Intake) is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, or 0.36 grams per pound. However, the amount of protein your body needs each day is dependent on other factors including age, activity levels and muscle mass. As a starting point, calculate how much protein you should be eating daily, and also look at your carbohydrate and fat intake too to ensure you’re eating a balanced diet, and tailoring your meals and snacks to help you achieve your goals.
DON’T just eat protein
Too much of a good thing can seem like a cliché, but all things must be consumed in balance. Protein is one of three macronutrients within the daily diet, all vitality important for health and wellbeing. This means that people who exclusively eat protein may be at risk of developing either acute or chronic health symptoms if they do not eat other food groups as part of their diet. For example, a lack of carbohydrates can lead to fatigue, light-headedness and low blood sugar.
DON’T assume that all proteins are equal
Where many people go wrong with protein is that they assume all sources are the same, when in actual fact there are so many different types, varying drastically in their quality and content of amino acids. For example, the most commonly known sources are found in meat and fish. Meat offers a brilliant quality source of this essential nutrient because it provides all nine essential amino acids, however many meats are also high in saturated fat, so it is a case of choosing the leanest options. Fish on the other hand is high in protein and low in saturated fat but especially high is Omega oils. You can also get good quality sources from a plant-based diet, lentils, quinoa and hemp seeds are all high in the tissue builder and suitable for those who do not eat meat, or fish.
DON’T misunderstand protein supplements
Protein supplements can provide a quick and easy way to get those amino acids in without any hassle. What is important, is that you do not misunderstand these supplements. The most popular on the market today is whey protein. This has been shown to promote lean muscle growth and contribute weight management. You have to ensure that you understand the protein supplements you are consuming and know exactly what you are putting into your body.
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