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The "scoop" on protein

Feb 10, 2014

Pun intended seriously!

Many, many times clients approach us with questions about losing weight, getting rid of stubborn belly fat, or toning up. Often, our answers are complicated and involve talk of thyroid health, insulin sensitivity, wheat bloat and other things that have come to be part of human’s evolution domestication/modification of our food sources. You will always hear, without a doubt, the word protein thrown around, multiple times in a conversation in fact. So much to the point that people might start thinking protein is a key element in their battle of the bulge and if that is what you think this article is about then you are a very astute individual. This article is about protein, the consumption of it or the lack thereof.

However, I would not be doing my job if I did not play the devil’s advocate. I believe, like many other health and wellness professionals, that a healthy intake of protein is important for individuals to attain and maintain their health and wellness goals. However, for all of the studies that propose increasing protein intake there are just as many suggesting people stay away. They suggest ingesting protein over 60-80g a day will lead to kidney failure, arterial hardening, hypertension and a bevy of other health issues. This article paints a very bleak picture about eating too much protein, but notice how it essentially only focuses on supplements and not a whole diet approach. It brings up the fact that an increase of protein in your diet also increases urea production but fails to clarify that one just needs to drink more water. It is full of holes at best, and at worst is lacking in the research it touts.

Here is a study, which essentially throws a lot of the stuff mentioned in the previous article out the window. It shows that a diet biased in protein rather than carbohydrates produced greater fat loss than the latter. The journey along the road of body transformation is a tough one and with misinformation running rampant it is often difficult to figure out what is fact and what is fiction. Also, what may work for one person may not work for another and that is the key. It is important to try different things in order to find what works for YOU. While I am sure South Beach, Paleo, Atkins and other diets work for people it is usually best to start with small changes that are easy to maintain and then make things in your diet more complex as you get comfortable.

There is one more article and it is actually pretty good. It mentions studies and does show that protein is definitely an essential part to losing body fat, but it also comes up short. It says that most of us are already getting double or triple amount figures for protein mentioned in the study, essentially invalidating the study and saying you do not need to eat more protein.

The first and last articles both bring up valid points in some ways, adding extra protein to your diet does affect the amount of byproducts your body creates. Drink more water, this will help the kidneys in flushing excess urea out of the body. It is true that if you are a sedentary individual ingesting more than 60-80g of protein a day is completely unnecessary. However, I would hope that an individual looking for nutritional help to create positive body composition changes would know they can no longer lead a sedentary lifestyle. With increases in activity level and the addition of resistance training to ones regimen your daily intake must be increased as well. Protein does a great job of regulating hormones, balancing mood and slowing the speed of digestion of carbohydrates. These are all helpful things when trying to trim down on body fat, which is what I feel the first and last articles missed.

There is no one thing that makes an individual achieve a more desirable body, no one exercise or one type of food or diet fad that will get the job done. It is a synergistic approach that requires one to affect their diet, daily habits, activity level and sleeping habits to bring about the positive change they are looking to achieve.

This last article I am linking to may be abound with muscley, ripped guys who you would be afraid to pass in the street but the information is sound and they bring up key factors missed by the previous articles, such as the importance of increasing water intake among others.

Protein is not something to be scared of, it could actually be the building block you might have been leaving out of your pyramid that helps you bust past your plateau. Do some research, add an egg or two to breakfast or some lean chicken to dinner, but most importantly maintain a balance. Too much protein, carbs, fat, working out etc. can call have negative affects on your body and your health, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing.

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