Why we need protein:
Did you know your body is constantly rebuilding itself? It’s continuously disposing of old, damaged cells and making new healthy ones. Cool, right?! To fuel healthy cell growth our bodies need protein.
We also need protein for tissue growth which keeps our muscles and organs healthy and strong! Fun fact: your skin is your largest organ, so you’d be right in saying, protein is anti-aging for your skin.
Signs you might not be eating enough protein:
Insatiable cravings and snacking in between meals
Brittle or peeling nails
Anger or Depression
Getting sick often
Trouble recovering from injuries or tough workouts
Swelling in ankles, feet, legs, and hands
How protein affects hormones, hunger and satiety:
Increases GLP-1, telling your brain that you’re full
Decreases Ghrelin, the hormone telling you to keep eating
Increases PYY, making you feel full
Signals to your brain to make Dopamine and Norepinephrine making you feel more alert
How much protein do you need?
The minimum recommended daily value of protein is quite low at .36 grams per pound of body weight. I’ve found anywhere from .5 to .8 grams of protein per pound of body weight to be sustainable for keeping energy and attention high, reaching body composition goals, and minimizing cravings.
If you’re familiar with Kg, 1 to 1.8 grams of protein per every kilogram of body weight is the ballpark you want to play in. So if you weigh 59 kilo’s: 59 grams should be your minimum protein goal, and 106 grams being your maximum daily protein intake. If you’re working out consistently, and especially if you’re doing high intensity exercise with weights, your protein needs will likely be on the higher end of this spectrum.
If you want to familiarize yourself with your protein intake and the amount that works best for your body, I recommend tracking for a few days with the app Cronometer.
Do you need protein directly after a workout?
The old idea of having protein within 30 minutes of a workout so you don’t lose muscle mass is not necessarily a hard and fast rule. The science to back this claim up is actually pretty weak. Our bodies can burn glucose in the blood stream and liver, reserved stores of glucagon in our muscles, and our fat cells for energy before any muscle wasting would happen. The more important idea is to eat well before you get to the point of shaky or lethargic. You know your body best, so if eating an hour or an hour and a half after workout is fine for you, then do that. Focus on making your first meal after a workout a real meal with 20-30grams of protein plus a healthy fat and fiber. If you know your next meal is a few hours away eat a snack with some protein and fat to hold you over, like hard boiled eggs or nuts for example.
What happens if you eat too much protein:
Eating too much protein can be dangerous for our kidneys, hearts, and result in some unpleasant symptoms such as constipation and weight gain. If you’re looking for protein to increase satiety and balance blood sugar, you especially don’t want to overdo the protein. When we eat excess amounts of protein, our bodies convert those excess amino acids into sugar through a process called gluconeogenesis. This will shut down fat burning until your body utilizes that new glucose. However, I find it’s pretty hard to over eat protein due to its strong satiety affects.
Hope this information is helpful! Any other burning protein questions? Add in the comment section below or send me an email at email@example.com