When it comes to adding healthy habits, there can be a lot to think about like lowering high glycemic carbs, adding more water or eating healthy fats. While you may be doing many things right in your diet, one of my jobs as a nutritionist is to take a look at the big picture (ie. my clients 7-day food journals), identify patterns, and target areas that need improvement to help clients accomplish their health goals. Lately, I’ve been noticing a trend - including enough daily protein. If one of your goals is weight loss, building lean muscle mass/changing your body composition, or aging well, it’s a good idea to focus on protein intake.
Protein-rich foods contain only 4 calories per gram, but keep you feeling satisfied and provide you with stable energy after a meal vs. the spike and crash followed by eating high-glycemic carbohydrates.
Protein triggers leptin - the hormone that sends signals to our brain to tell us that we’re satisfied, triggering you to stop eating.
Protein (& having lean muscle mass) lowers grehlin - the hunger hormone that sends signals to our brain that it’s time to eat.
Protein builds lean muscle mass, and the more you have, the higher your resting metabolic rate A.K.A - you burn more calories when you’re resting (I love that I'm burning calories while laying on the couch watching White Lotus).
We also lose 3-8% of muscle mass per decade after the age of 30, so it’s important to continue to build it up by getting the right amount of good quality protein (one of the reasons you can’t continue to eat like you did in your 20s!), and incorporate weight training 2-3 times per week in your exercise routine.
Not all protein is made equal. It’s important that you get lean, complete protein that includes all 9 essential amino acids (our body doesn't make these, which means we need to get them from diet). It’s these essential amino acids that will deliver all the health benefits listed above. If you’re over 30 or growing or pregnant or want to build lean muscle mass or change your body composition or lose weight or feel satisfied and energized after meals or are a vegetarian or vegan (or a combination of a few of these), it’s important to pay attention to complete protein intake.
Everyone is different, and has different daily protein needs depending on many factors (I will help you determine how, when, why, where and what in my one-on-one Custom Meal Planning and Nutrition Program), but a standard RDA is .7 grams per pound of body weight (or your goal weight). For example, a 130 pound person would require 91 grams of protein. This may seem like a lot, but I’ve got many strategies, ingredients and recipes to help you get there easily.
I help my clients add lean complete proteins (even if you're vegan or vegetarian) at every meal with awesome ingredients and easy, delicious recipes that fit with their schedule. Book a FREE 15-minute discovery call to share your health goals with me, and learn more about how my Custom Meal Planning Nutrition Program can help.