Is there an ideal amount of protein you need on a daily basis?

The Protein Puzzle

How much protein do you need?

The debate on the ideal protein quantities a typical person requires has been raging for a long time…

So, what’s the ideal amount of protein should you consume for optimal health?

On one hand, you have bodybuilders and gym enthusiasts swearing you need at least 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight a day, or you’ll waste away into skin and bones!

And then on the other hand, you have official nutrition organizations

Almost all of them urge you to limit your protein…usually to less than 30% of your daily calorie intake.

And that’s not all…

There are others claiming that mankind is already overindulging protein!

So, in the thick of this plethora of advice, opinions, and claims, whom should you listen to…whose word should you follow?

The long and short of it is that…

Getting enough protein is key to your optimal health.

Protein is practically essential to every process in your body. A deficit will see your every effort at eating right and going to the gym waste away!

Without adequate protein, you won’t be able to build muscle, or even keep the muscle you already have. You’ll certainly end up weak and unhealthy.

Protein fills you up more than fats and carbohydrates. As such, eating protein-rich meals will keep you feeling fuller for longer…

You end up eating fewer calories and losing weight–with little-to-no effort because your appetite is tamed.

Even better…

Protein speeds up your metabolism, making your body a more efficient weight-loss machine.

Eating at least 25-30% protein out of your total calorie intake can boost your metabolism by up to 100 calories a day compared to low-protein diets.

See, most official nutrition organizations tell you to keep your protein to a modest amount…

In the US, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend only 10-35% of your daily calories come from protein.

That works out to about 46 grams a day for the average woman and 56 grams for the average man.

The Board of the Institute of Medicine produced a report outlining the recommended dietary amount for different macronutrients–fat, protein, and carbs.

The recommended daily amount of protein was only 8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight for adults 18 years old and above.

That works out to only 36 grams of protein per pound of body weight. Such official guidelines are a decent starting point to figure out your ideal protein intake.

There are, however, a few major flaws that raise eyebrows about such guidelines…

The biggest issue is that they attempt to come up with universal numbers that should ideally work for everyone…

But in reality, different people would require varied amounts of protein.

And besides not taking your unique situation into account, most official guidelines are based on minimum recommended amounts…

Meaning the amount listed is the absolute least amount of protein you should eat to not lose muscle mass…

Yet, a range of studies found that higher protein intake–over the recommended daily amounts–helps build muscle, improve bone and heart health, besides boosting your energy!

The bottom line is…

Your ideal level of protein intake is somewhere above what nutrition organizations recommend.

But then the question begs…

How far above those guidelines should you target?

How to Figure Out Your Ideal Protein Amount

To begin with…

The much touted magic number–the exact amount of protein everyone needs to eat every day for optimal health, just doesn’t exist!

Your ideal amount is dependent on a couple of factors, including:-

Physique Goals

If you’re trying to transform your body by building a significant amount of muscle…

You’ll require an elevated amount of protein.

Eating a higher-protein content diet has been shown to help synthesize new muscles and build strength.

But you don’t need to go to such extremes as some bodybuilders and supplement companies would want to have you believe!

A lot of bodybuilders recommend at least 1 gram per pound of body weight for those trying to build muscle, but that’s in the upper range of the ideal intake.

IF you’re doing strength training regularly and looking to build muscle…

Shoot for .7-1 gram of protein per pound of body weight a day.

If on the other hand you’re trying to just maintain muscle, you don’t need to load such amounts of protein.

You’d do well to start with the nutrition organization guidelines…and then scale in response to the other factors below…

Your Current Weight

It may please you to learn that protein-rich diets have also been found to be effective in driving weight loss. So, if losing fat is your top priority, you can deliberately increase your protein intake to speed up the process.

Eating more protein keeps you feeling full, naturally suppressing your appetite and making it easier to eat fewer calories while accelerating your metabolism.

But if you’re not trying to shed weight, you can indulge protein much moderately.

Your Age

In-arguably, elderly people need a bit more protein than younger people to stay healthy and maintain their muscle mass.

As you age, your body gradually loses some of its efficiency when it comes to repairing damaged muscles.

A 19-year-old college folk might be able to hit the gym 3 days in a row without eating much protein and still see amazing results. But a 60-year-old will definitely require more.

A study found that a baseline intake of between .5 and .6 grams of protein per pound of body weight works well for older people.

Physical Activity Level

By and large, the more active you’re, the more protein you require…

And this holds true even if you’re not doing strength-training.

Endurance or long-distance athletes like marathoners and triathletes spend a lot of time training and breaking down muscles. If you belong to that camp, or you hit the gym regularly, aim for .8-1 gram of protein per pound of body weight.

Your occupation also matters…take it into account as well…

If you’re working on a construction site and then hitting up the Crossfit box 4 times a week, 1.5-2 grams per pound might be just ideal to repair your muscles and take you closer to your physique goals.

But I want to make a disclaimer…

In spite of the many numbers and guidelines herein, you absolutely need not overly worry about how much protein you’re consuming every day…

And especially if you’re already following a Paleo diet and eating animal products with nearly every meal. This habit alone puts you on the right track towards meeting your protein needs.

In any case, a vast majority of you don’t need to track your protein intake every day, unless you’re shooting for peak athletic performance, or looking to put on a lot of muscle.

Endeavor to indulge whole foods more than protein shakes and bars. This way, you’ll get a lot more vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats–without all the processing and artificial preservatives.

Ultimately, your ideal protein quantity will vary over time.

An intuitive style of eating–adjusting your protein intake according to the signals your body emits–is ideal for building and maintaining muscle mass and overall long-term health benefits.

In a nutshell…

Protein is vitally important in keeping you healthy, full, and promoting lean muscle. Of course, there is a lot of confusing and contradictory info out there about the ideal amount you need in order to reap optimal health benefits…

But on the whole, you simply need to follow a Paleo lifestyle focused on vegetables and animal products.

Your individual protein requirements are unique and will definitely change over time.

All you need is to listen to your body so you can make the necessary adjustments along the way. It’s the key to getting just the right amount of protein you need.

What do you think? Share your thoughts and experiences!

And if you like this article, don’t keep it to yourself…

Instead, share it far and wide to spread the good news.

To your optimal protein intake.

Thank you for your patronage.

Stay tuned…


bean-debate

To Eat Beans or Not?

There’s a lot of conflicting information as to whether or not beans are healthy…

And certainly, when you think of junk food, beans probably aren’t the first name that comes to your mind.

Perhaps flour and sugar will, but beans?

They are supposed to be healthy, right?

Among mainstream nutritionists, they’re widely accepted as a great source of protein, fiber, and other nutrients.

Beans are often touted as a healthy food–supposedly even better than animal products in your diet.

But the opinions on beans within the Paleo community are murky and deeply divided. A consensus might be elusive to reach, but there are medical facts to consider.

Some thought leaders argue that beans and other legumes are unhealthy and shouldn’t have a place in your diet

Yet others don’t see a problem with having them every now and then, as long as they’re prepared properly.

Then, there are plenty of people who say that beans fall into the same “gray area” as wine, dark chocolate, and dairy products.

As some Paleo thought leaders point out, beans certainly aren’t the worst thing you could put on your plate.

Their nutritional profile varies, depending on the specific type of beans…

One cup of boiled black beans contains:

  • 227 calories
  • 15 grams of protein
  • 41 grams of carbohydrates
  • 15 grams of dietary fiber, and…
  • A decent amount of nutrients e.g. folate, magnesium, and manganese.

These numbers are noteworthy…

Beans are substantially more nutritious than indulging something like flour or sugar. Again, they’re inexpensive.

But meat and fresh produce are a lot better for you.

Beans load less nutrients than foods like meat, eggs, vegetables, and seafood

And you can get a lot more nutritional value for your buck if you go for high quality animal products and produce instead.

By sticking to the most nutrient-dense foods, you can consume the same amount of calories as beans, but with much fewer carbohydrates and more nutrients.

And nutrient-density isn’t the only thing to consider…

One of the most common arguments against beans is that they contain various “anti-nutrients” that can actually harm your body.

These anti-nutrients help protect the beans from being eaten by predators, such as insects, rodents, birds, and other pests.

They also keep the beans’ reproductive system intact.

The trouble is when these anti-nutrients get into your body…even though they usually don’t cause issues when eaten in moderate amounts.

But if you’re eating beans regularly, you might end up with side effects such as inflammation, leaky gut, and autoimmune disorders.

The Most Common Anti-Nutrients Found in Beans

  • Phytates–also known as phytic acids, these anti-nutrients bind to minerals in your food, preventing your body from absorbing them. So when you eat them in high doses, you might end up with mineral deficiencies.

Phytates mess with your digestion and prevent the absorption of minerals, besides interfering with the enzymes your body uses to digest food, including pepsin, which helps break down proteins in your gut.

Again, the danger is in the dose. A small amount of phytic acid every now and then will not hurt you…and you’ll actually find more of it in nuts, which is a Paleo-approved food…

But you’ll run into problems if you make phytate-rich foods your dietary staple.

  • Lectins–these are a form of protein found in beans and various other foods, and they can bind to cell membranes and cause serious problems.

They can damage your intestinal wall and make their way into your bloodstream. The tiny holes they leave behind create even more issues later on, as toxins and bacteria in your gut lining–your body’s defense against harmful substances–break through and interact with your immune system…

And if that happens regularly, it can lead to chronic inflammation, digestive problems (leaky gut), and autoimmune conditions.

Lectins damage intestinal walls, making it easy for toxins and bacteria to interact with your immune system. You can, however, take comfort in that cooking beans removes a good amount of the lectins.

The specific amount depends on the type of beans and people tolerate them differently.

  • Saponins–this anti-nutrient is found in almost every legume and can punch holes in membranes that line the exterior of cells.

Like lectins, saponins can damage the cells that line your intestines and get into your bloodstream. This damage makes your intestines more permeable, opening the door for other toxins and bacteria to get into your bloodstream.

Too many saponins may lead to chronic inflammation, digestive problems, and ultimately, autoimmune conditions.

Notably, some people can eat beans occasionally without experiencing any negative effects, while for others, it can lead to serious digestive issues, including bloating and heartburn.

Why is this so?

Beans are fermentable Oligo-Di-Monosaccharides and Polyols (FODMAP), meaning they contain a specific type of carbohydrate that’s hard for a lot of people to handle.

But it’s not all doom and gloom…

Preparing your beans in certain ways can remove anti-nutrients and make them less harmful.

How to Remove Anti-nutrients from Beans

  • Soaking–putting beans in water for a few hours can help reduce, or eliminate their phytic acid content.

One study found that soaking for 18 hours at room temperature i.e. 70 degrees fahrenheit for 3 hours eliminated between 30-70% of the phytic acid content, depending on the type of legume.

Soaking can also help decrease lectin content.

  • Sprouting–this process has the biggest impact on phytates. The typical reduction ranges from 25-75%, with a lot depending on the legume type.

One study found that sprouting black-eyed beans resulted in a 75% decrease in phytic acid.

Sprouting only has a tiny effect on reducing saponins, if any at all.

A 1996 study found that sprouting both chickpeas and lentils for six days resulted in “no significant changes” in saponin content.

  • Fermenting–this takes longer than other preparation methods, but helps to significantly degrade phytate and lectin content.

One study found that fermenting kidney beans reduced their phytates by 85%, with a 77% reduction for soybeans and 69% decrease for mung beans.

Fermenting beans not only reduces anti-nutrients, it also increases the amount of good nutrients.

A 2014 study found that fermentation of mung beans for 72 hours could decrease their saponin content, but increase other nutrients.

  • Heating–this method removes lectin.

One study found that cooking beans for as little as 15 minutes almost completely removed the lectin content.

However, it’s important to point out that heating doesn’t effectively reduce saponins.

One study found that 85-100% of the original saponin levels remained even after boiling legumes for 2 hours.

Are there Substitutes for Beans?

Eating beans every once in a while probably will not hurt you–as long as they’re prepared to remove most of the anti-nutrients.

The big exceptions are if you’re dealing with any other serious digestive conditions, or if eating beans causes you gas, bloating, or heartburn.

Listen to your body and give it what it needs. Ditch the beans if they’re causing you trouble…

After all, there is no compelling reasons why you must eat beans. You can find alternative nutrients elsewhere in a balanced Paleo diet–like animal products and vegetables.

You’re not likely to find beans that have been thoroughly prepared at restaurants. So it’s not worth ordering them.

Instead, try swapping beans with the Paleo-friendly foods below:

  • Cauliflower
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Butternut Squash

If, however, beans don’t give you any problems, you can indulge them in moderation every once in a while, so you don’t crowd out more nutrient-dense choices.

By and large, beans will probably remain a hot-button topic in the Paleo fraternity for a while.

They’re not junk food as long as they’re prepared properly and eaten in moderation.

If you’ve digestive problems, you can indulge animal protein and produce, with fruits and nuts thrown in for good measure.

Remember, at the end of the day, it’s really your choice…

Go for what you like provided it’s healthy.

I strongly believe this article will help you decide from a point of authoritative knowledge, whether or not to indulge beans…

And you’d do a great deal of good to share it within your circles to empower others do the same.

Thank you for your precious time well-spent here.

Dare you not tune off…