20th Jan

Protein … What’s The Big Deal?

Are you overworked, exhausted, and ready to call it a day by 3pm?

Fatigue is one of the most common complaints I hear from my patients. Why is everybody so tired these days?

If you don’t have a medical condition which is causing your fatigue, your answer to increased energy may be as simple as more protein.

Energy comes in the form of food and if you lack important vitamins/nutrients, fatigue is one of the first symptoms to present.

So, the first step in combating low energy levels is to increase your intake of good quality protein sources with every meal and snack – choose hemp or vegan/whey protein shakes, organic chicken, wild fish, detoxifying mung beans, cage-free eggs, Greek yoghurt, or tofu.

Protein provides the basic building blocks for tissue growth and plays a key role in many bodily functions.

If you’re not re-fueling with enough protein throughout the day, your system will not function optimally.

How much protein should you consume daily?

The answer to this question is complex and a number of factors should be considered when calculating your daily requirements. You must consider your individual energy needs and your level of daily activity.

For example, if you are training for a fitness competition, your protein requirements are much higher than the recommendations outlined below.

It really isn’t brain science, just common sense. Greater energy demands mean significantly higher protein requirements. For the average adult who engages in light to moderate physical activity daily, the recommended daily allowance is based on a simple calculation.

Take your weight in pounds and multiply it by .36. For every pound you weigh, they say you should consume about .36 grams of protein. Now this is a general guideline to meet your basic requirements and really isn’t enough in my opinion.

My suggestion to most of my patients is to multiply their weight in pounds by .8, rather than .36.

Now we’re talking!

And when it comes to breakfast, protein is super important.

A coffee and granola will likely not meet your nutritional requirements. Simply put, there are better breakfast options available.

If you are starting your day with granola, you are probably only getting about 6 grams of protein at breakfast, which is equivalent to the amount of protein found in one hard-boiled egg. The bigger issue with starting your day with granola is that granola is filled with sugar and will likely have you feeling hungry and fatigued shortly after breakfast.

Try replacing your morning granola with 2 eggs, 1/2 a cup of berries, and Greek yoghurt.

Or you might opt to make a delicious protein smoothie with 10 grams of fibre, antioxidant-rich fruits, and almond milk. This will offer more protein and less calories than granola. Most importantly, it will keep you feeling fuller longer.

When I make smoothies, I use: Vegan Chocolate Protein with 10 grams of Fibre

Many of my patients are already aware of the benefits of healthy eating and find that they only need to make small changes to their dietary habits. With minor adjustments to their daily protein intake, many people notice a significant difference in their energy levels.

I commonly hear things like, “I can’t believe how much energy I have now that I’m eating more protein.”

Can you eat too much protein?

Yes, you can have too much protein and this can negatively impact your health. Many weight loss diets on the market encourage high-protein consumption with very little carbohydrates. What many people do not realize is that too much protein may actually  harm them.

It is important to speak with a health care professional about your individual protein requirements and how to go about meeting them daily. The ratio of protein to carbohydrates to fats is very important and there are negative effects that can come with consuming too much protein.

Besides being difficult to digest, too much protein can lead to kidney and liver stress and excessive mineral loss.

I have been working in the fitness industry for over 20 years and I usually discourage the fashionable high-protein diets. The take home message is to consume a well-balanced diet and increase your protein intake only when necessary and in the right amounts.

If you are looking for ways to increase your energy levels and are tired of feeling fatigued, multiply your weight in pounds by .8 and make the necessary changes to your diet.

You’ll be amazed how much better you feel in such a short period of time.

 

Dr.Sara Celik
Dr. Sara Celik is a board-certified Naturopathic Doctor and is the Spokesperson for Renew Life Canada. She is a leader in the health and wellness industry and is regularly featured as a sought-after expert on television programs and in health publications. Dr. Sara carries over 15 years experience and her clinical practice and work in the community Is focused on digestive health, detoxification and weight loss.
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