The truth about protein

I’ve talked before about how hard it is to get protein as I am attempting to minimize the consumption of meat in my life – here, here, and here.

I read a helpful article from Best Health magazine yesterday called, “The protein debate: How much do you really need and when?” The article looks at the importance of consuming the right amount of protein (yes you can have too much), the best types of protein, and when to eat it if you’re trying to lose weight and build muscle.

Firstly, an expert in the article recommends that we all get a serving of lean protein with every meal. Whether it be a little protein powder in your morning smoothie (or oatmeal), an egg, lean chicken or fish, tofu, or Greek yogurt, protein helps slow down the digestion of carbohydrates so you’re not craving a second muffin an hour after breakfast.

However, a steak at every meal is a little much when it comes to protein. A serving size is around the size of a deck of cards. A good breakdown of daily nutrition from protein according to the article: adults should be looking at a diet made up of a balance of carbohydrates (45 to 65 percent), healthy fats (20 to 35 percent) and protein (10 to 35 percent).

You need healthy fats and proteins to fuel the body. Protein helps grow and repair tissues and helps your immune system, but not balancing it with a healthy amount of carbohydrates (from fruits and veggies, not PopTarts) you’ll burn muscle instead of the carbs.

Another good point this article makes is that protein doesn’t have to come from meat. You can get good, healthy sources of protein from tofu, tempeh, eggs, soy milk (not for boys, though), Greek yogurt, low-fat milk, nuts and nut butters (in moderation because they can be high in fats). Sometimes these protein sources are even better for you because meat has more saturated fat than these other sources.

The best time to consume protein is within 20-30 minutes of a workout (with a cup of milk or a handful of nuts), so that it can help your body instantly build and repair muscles, and a regular serving of it at the next meal.

Protein always seems like such a hard thing to come by, but it can be easy to get a healthy serving even for vegetarians, see?

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