Protein it seems to be all the rave today. Not only are we talking about it, it feels like it is literally being added to everything. Protein bars, cereal, beverages you name it, it probably has some label about all the protein it contains. So let’s get the facts straight.
Fact or Fiction: You have to eat animal protein (meat) to get enough protein in your diet? Fiction.
It is NOT necessary to eat animal based protein to get enough protein in your diet. Protein is found in everything expect fruit and fat. So you get protein from complex carbohydrates, legumes, soy based products, nuts and much more.
Fact or Fiction: Is protein an essential macronutrient? Fact.
Protein is essential and important because it helps you build lean muscle and also keeps you feeling fuller longer. Adults need 0.36 grams of protein per pound of body weight. I weight about 120 pounds which means I need around 43 grams of protein per day.
Fact or Faction: Protein shakes are necessary after a workout? Fiction.
Protein is actually important to consume to repair muscles after a strenuous workout- but it is not always necessary to have a protein based shake. You can easily consume protein from other sources in your diet. Peanut Butter and crackers, chocolate milk or Greek yogurt with fruit are good alternatives.
Fact or Fiction. Is too much protein bad? Fact.
Consuming a high protein diet can be problematic. When following a high protein diet you usually end up restricting carbohydrate intake which can result in nutrient deficiencies and decreased fiber intake. This can lead to other uncomfortable issues like constipation and diverticulitis.
Be aware of the kinds of meat you are consuming. If you are consuming a lot of red meat you may be increasing your risk of heart disease.
Excess animal protein is actually linked to decrease kidney function. Your body may have trouble getting rid of the waste products due to protein metabolism.
And lastly I do want you to know that when you eat more than you need the extra calories results in an accumulation of stored body fat and weight gain. This is true whether the excess calories come from protein, fat, carbohydrate, or alcohol.