PROTEIN. PROTEIN. PROTEIN.
Protein shakes, protein bars, protein ice cream, protein cookies…
What’s the deal with protein? Why are we seeing it EVERYWHERE? Why is protein essential for the body and how much should you be consuming?
Today we live in a society where appearances and body image rules. “She’s too skinny”, “She’s too fat”, “Did he skip leg day again?” We are constantly bombarded with images of the “perfect” body, the nicest skin, most beautiful hair and big bulging muscles. Marketing strategies tell us we aren’t good enough unless we mirror these images. Unfortunately, lack of self-confidence and body image issues create a large market for fad diets, supplements and the latest exercise trends.
You want to stay healthy but how do you know which diet works? How does one differentiate the latest fad from science based facts? Research.
Research shows that consuming adequate levels of protein positively effects the development and maintenance of muscle growth, along with providing a decreased recovery time needed to perform repeated bouts of exercise.
Protein has also been tested and proven to aid in appetite suppression as well as decrease levels of blood sugar.
According to the US National Library of Medicine, proteins not only function at a muscular level but are also responsible for the function of antibodies, enzymes, and some hormones in the body. “Protein builds, maintains, and replaces the tissues in your body. [..] Your muscles, your organs, and your immune system are made up mostly of protein.”
This means that our bodies need protein to function but again, how much protein is the right amount of protein? This all depends on YOU, your gender, age, height, weight, activity level and exercise goals. Recommendations from Harvard Health, state that “The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for protein is a modest 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight.” However, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition states that taking up to twice the RDA is safe.
So now that we understand how important protein is to our wellbeing, how do we reach optimal levels of intake? This is where our decision making skills and good ol’ marketing friends meet.
If you choose to consume your protein based on a “whole foods” approach you can find essential proteins in animal products like meats and eggs as well as a combination of vegetables, legumes and nuts. If you choose to supplement your diet with protein products there is a wide range of tasty (and some not so tasty) bars, shakes and varied goodies to choose from on the market.
It is important to understand that supplements are not regulated by the FDA and that just because something is labeled as “high protein” does not mean it’s necessarily healthy. Always check nutrition facts for a wide range of macro nutrients (fats, proteins, carbs) and be sure that the sugar content is relatively low.
Next time you pick up a snack, ask yourself if you’ve had enough protein for the day.
Here at Oahu Spine & Rehab, we know that protein is important in your day to day life. Many Americans don’t know know exactly how much protein they need which is why it’s a great idea to check your intake! If you are suffering from pain, give us a call today at 488-5555 to make an appointment!
Protein RDA. (2017, August 03). Retrieved from http://media.lanecc.edu/users/rathaketten/FN225/225Lectures/10A/thumbnails/recommended_proteinneeds.png
Harvard Health. (2017, August 03). Retrieved from http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/how-much-protein-do-you-need-every-day-201506188096
Kids Health. (2017, August 03). Retrieved from http://kidshealth.org/en/kids/protein.html#
Mayo Clinic. (2017, August 03). Retrieved from http://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements/whey-protein/safety/hrb-20060532
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture. 2015 – 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. 8th Edition. (2017, August 03). Retrieved from http://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines/.
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2017, August 03). Retrieved from http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/101/6/1317S.full
Whey Protein Supplementation Enhances Whole Body Protein Metabolism and Performance Recovery after Resistance Exercise: A Double-Blind Crossover Study. (2017, August 03). Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28696380