I Need More Protein!?

Here’s Part 3 of our favorite registered dietician’s nutrition series. This installment focusses on protein foods.
Take it away Alana…

You hear a lot about protein with regards to sports and performance, especially when muscle building comes up. Seems like everyone at the gym is doing it: filling up on protein to bulk up those biceps! But it is a misconception as eating extra protein doesn’t do much towards boosting your muscle mass and strength. In fact most Canadians eat too much protein (over 30% of their daily caloric needs) and medical research is showing too much protein could harm your body.

When you eat more protein than your body needs it causes a buildup of toxic ketones in the body. So-called ketogenic diets can thrust your kidneys into overdrive as they work at flushing these ketones out of your body. As your kidneys rid your body of these toxic ketones, you can lose a significant amount of water, which puts you at risk of dehydration, particularly if you exercise heavily.

This water loss often shows up on the scale as weight loss. But along with losing water, you lose muscle mass and bone calcium. The dehydration also strains your kidneys and puts stress on your heart.

So how much protein should you eat? Ideally, you should consume .36 grams of protein for every pound of body weight. So if you weigh 170lbs, you need about 61 grams of protein each day.

What is a protein serving? One protein serving = 7 grams of protein and can be divided in Lean Choices, Medium Fat Choices, and High Fat Choices. All choices can be eaten but just choose the higher fat choices less often.

Lean Choices- 1 serving

    Hard Skim Milk Cheese (15% MF) – 1 ounce (30 gm)
    Processed Cheese (75% MF) – 1 slice
    Cottage Cheese (2% MF or less) – ¼ cup
    Lean Beef, Round Steak, Tenderloin, Sirloin, Flank steak-1ounce
    Lean Lamb, Veal, Pork, and Skinless Poultry – 1 ounce
    Fresh Fish, Crab, Lobster – 1 ounce
    Canned and Water packed fish or seafood – ¼ cup
    Clams, Mussels, Oysters, Shrimps, Scallops – 3 each
    Skim Milk – 250ml
    Beans, Peas, and Lentils – ½ cup (125ml)

Medium Fat Choices – 1 serving

    Regular ground beef, roast, pork chops, and poultry with skin-1 ounce
    Processed meats, cold cuts – 1 slice
    Weiner – ½
    Eggs – poached or boiled – 1 medium
    1 -2% milk – 250ml
    Peanut and nut butters – 50ml (4 Tbsp)

High Fat Choices

    Hard cheeses like our usual cheddar – 1 ounce
    Ribs, Corned Beef, Sausage – 1 ounce
    ** Bacon is more a fat choice than a protein choice!
    Whole milk – 250ml

Not a complete list but gives you an idea!

We already talked about eating fish twice a week – now try and incorporate more beans into your meals. Add garbonzo beans to your lunch salad make up some hummus (so easy) for a snack with veggies; make a vegetarian chili, or Cuban black bean soup.

Although limiting your protein is important, it is essential for our bodies’ normal functions…….maintaining fluid balance, building antibodies against infection, blood clotting, synthesizing enzymes and hormones. Protein is the building blocks of our muscles, bones, skin, hair, and blood.

Protein is also important post-workout. Josh’s famous chocolate milk is the perfect combo of protein and carbs for post workout nourishment……………add a lean turkey sandwich on whole grain bread within an hour after a workout and your muscles are getting the raw materials they need to recuperate.

Before a workout as Josh has mentioned you want to stick to carbohydrates to provide energy as big meals with too much protein and fat can make you feel sluggish, nauseated, and give you muscle cramps.

So pre workout, try to not eat two hours before your scheduled workout – but of course sometimes schedules do not work, so if you need to eat something try fruit, low fat yogurt and berries-or make a smoothie, ½ whole wheat bagel with light cream cheese, or a small bowl of whole wheat pasta with tomato sauce.

** eating a high protein energy bar before working out is a bad idea. Protein takes longer than carbohydrates to break down in the body so your body will be processing the protein and trying to give you energy to workout at the same time – result will be not a great workout as you won’t have the energy you need.

“So didn’t know it couldn’t be done, so she went ahead and did it.”
Bridget O’Donnell

The Bootcamp Effect is the only bootcamp that has a complimentary dietary analysis by a registered dietician.