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nutrition | too much protein?

Grilled chicken with Webers Sweet BBQ seasoning sprinkle

Now, if you have any kidney problems, this post does not pertain to you but if you are an otherwise healthy person….read on….

Studies show that eating up to 1.5 g of protein per pound of body weight is healthy!  For me, that’s 225 g of protein a day!!! Whoa!!!   If I eat 6 meals a day (like I did during contest prep) that is 37.5 g of protein per meal…..RIDICULOUS!  I did not eat 40g of protein per meal, 6 times a day during contest prep. I ate 20g per meal.I still shoot for 20g of protein per meal, even now. Why?  See below in “the skinny.”

What did my urologist say? His answer was that you can eat as much protein as you want as long as you flush it out with drinking enough water!!!!

I will do a post on protein for fertility and pregnancy soon.  For now, I’m going to give you some reasons protein is essential for weight loss, maintenance and a strong body!

The skinny on protein….

  • It’s nearly impossible to overeat on protein. Think about it?  How often do we want to gobble down lean chicken or lean tuna?  I can’t tell you the last time I binged on a turkey breast. But I can recall standing in the kitchen with a jar of peanut butter (healthy fat) or a box of cookies (carbs).
  • So, if it’s harder to overeat on protein, then it’s harder to get fat on protein.
  • Protein makes you  strong!  🙂   Muscles are made of amino acids. Protein is made of amino acids. Animal sources are complete, meaning they contain all the essential amino acids.  Protein helps you to recover faster after your workouts and thus keeps your muscles strong, long and lean.

All protein is not created equally! When I speak of “protein” in a healthy diet or to lose or maintain weight I am talking about the following….

  • egg whites
  • lean chicken or turkey breast, whole or ground
  • fish like tuna (packed in water), orange roughy, cod, and tilapia
  • whey and casein protein powders
  • Fatty fish (salmon) is great for you, but in moderation if you are trying to lose weight. I’d say no more than 2-3 times a week if you’re trying to lose weight.  Red meat is supposedly good for muscle gain.  I, personally, am not a huge fan so I only eat it in moderation…..very rarely.  We have learned to substitute even the leanest ground beef for extra lean turkey breast and WE LOVE IT!
  • You can get some protein in other sources but they’re not complete and they don’t come as lean, low calorie or as complete of a source. So, it’s great to eat nuts, for example, but they are high in fat, which is good fat, but it means there are way more calories per ounce than a chicken breast.

So, when I compose my meals during the day I try to start with a lean meat as listed above with about 20g of protein, I then add a veggie and a fat and/or a carb source (more to come on that in future posts).

Dawn - I could not agree with this post more. I remember a few years back I had a trainer that told me to eat all the chicken or tuna I wanted. I looked at him crazy…”how am I going to lose weight like that?” Now I know better…eat too much chicken or tuna….lol…yeah right!

tori - Thanks Dawn! As competitors we know this but it’s hard for the general public. I don’t think we need to take it to extremes, but I think 20g of protein pre meal can feel “extreme” to the average person.

Layla - Okay, this post makes me feel better, because I have to eat pretty much nothing but protein to lose &/or maintain weight. Carbs stick to me like white on rice, and in all the wrong places. I have worried about doing some kind of harm to another part of my body by eating so much protein (I balance with healthy fats when I’m eating well, which isn’t right now) so I’m happy to know this isn’t true. I will drink more water though, like you suggested. Thanks for this post!

tori - Do you eat enough carbs to stay out of ketosis or do you know?

Layla - I honestly don’t know, because I don’t check for it and I’ve never had the “sweet breath” symptom, but I would assume that I do. I pretty much follow Paleo/Primal when I cut carbs. If I eat them, I bloat, I hurt, and I gain. Suspect some kind of food allergy, but I’m not sure.

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