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6 Things You Need To Know About Protein

6 Things You Need To Know About Protein

Those containers of whey protein you have stacked in your closet, are they helping or hurting you? While they definitely buy you a membership card into the Jersey Shore Club, they might be better used as bed risers. The average man believes that the more protein you eat, the more muscle you’ll gain, but this is not entirely true. Before you eat your pound of grilled chicken for lunch, read on:

1. Protein is essential for you to survive.

Protein is a component of every cell, tissue, and organ in the body. When we eat protein, it is digested into amino acids, which are considered the “building blocks” of life, as they are responsible for creating all the other proteins our body needs. This is a continuous cycle, and thus your body needs protein every day. If it’s been a while since high school biology, and this seems confusing, think of a big building made out of different Lego pieces. Once that building is broken apart, you can use the pieces to build new things, just as your body does with the amino acids found in the protein you digest.

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2. Not all proteins were created equal.

Different sources of protein provide different amino acids. Foods that provide all of the essential amino acids, or ones that cannot be made by our bodies, are called complete proteins and come from animal-based foods. Meat, poultry, fish, milk, eggs, and cheese are sources of complete proteins. Incomplete proteins are low in one or more of these essential amino acids, and include foods such as beans and rice. However, you can combine these incomplete protein sources to ensure you get all of the essential amino acids you need.

3. You do not need as much protein as you think you do.

The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for protein is 46 grams for women ages 19–70+ years of age and 56 grams from men 19–70+ years of age. This equates to 10–35% of your daily caloric intake. According to the Food and Nutrition Board, it is recommended that you consume 0.36 grams of protein for every pound of body weight. For example, if you weigh 160 pounds, you should consume 58 grams of protein per day. The 2005–2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Study (NHANES) found that men above the age of 20 years old were consuming 101.9 grams of protein and women of the same age were taking in 70.1 grams of protein. This means that most Americans are getting almost twice the amount of protein they need.

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4. You can get a sufficient amount of protein from plants.

For those who choose to not eat meat, there are still ample ways to get your recommended daily intake of protein. Non-animal sources of meat include beans, nuts, nut butters such as peanut butter, almond milk, seeds, whole grains, and soy protein such as tofu and veggie burgers. Contrary to popular belief as well, you can be an athlete and a vegetarian. Famous vegetarian athletes include Joe Namath, Prince Fielder, and Billie Jean King.

5. More protein does not always equal more muscles.
Operation Enduring Freedom and New Dawn

    Eating large levels protein does not directly equate to more muscle mass. In fact, athletes only need slightly more protein than the average individual, which they are likely getting from the increased amount of food intake. A 2004 article in the Journal of Sports Sciences, by Kevin D. Tipton and Robert R. Wolfe, states that increased protein will provide a “minimal” advantage and that lean body mass can be maintained with a large variety of protein diets. They conclude that most athletes are already meeting this requirement, thus high protein diets are not necessary.

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    6. A high-protein diet can harm you.

    Often high-protein foods, such as red meat and full-fat dairy products, contain high levels of saturated fat as well. These foods can increase the amount of bad cholesterol in your body and thus put you at a higher risk of heart disease. In people who suffer from kidney disease, high-protein diets put an extra strain on the kidneys as they attempt to eliminate the by-products of protein metabolism. Furthermore, some high-protein diets suggest limiting carbohydrate intake. This can result in a lack of other important nutrients, as well as fiber, which can cause constipation and diverticulitis.

    The information on the internet related to protein is largely dominated by websites promoting high-protein diets and supplements. The next time you read about how you should eat a bowl of whey a day with a side of bone marrow, take a look at how many supplement ads are also on the website. A balanced diet, as always, is best. Before starting any diet, though, you should talk to your healthcare professional. Now, enjoy your chicken and maybe throw in some veggies or some pasta. Your biceps will not disappear.

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    Last Updated on January 21, 2020

    The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

    The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

    Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

    your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

      Why You Need a Vision

      Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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      How to Create Your Life Vision

      Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

      What Do You Want?

      The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

      It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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      Some tips to guide you:

      • Remember to ask why you want certain things
      • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
      • Give yourself permission to dream.
      • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
      • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

      Some questions to start your exploration:

      • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
      • What would you like to have more of in your life?
      • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
      • What are your secret passions and dreams?
      • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
      • What do you want your relationships to be like?
      • What qualities would you like to develop?
      • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
      • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
      • What would you most like to accomplish?
      • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

      It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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      What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

      Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

      A few prompts to get you started:

      • What will you have accomplished already?
      • How will you feel about yourself?
      • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
      • What does your ideal day look like?
      • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
      • What would you be doing?
      • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
      • How are you dressed?
      • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
      • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
      • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

      It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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      Plan Backwards

      It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

      • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
      • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
      • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
      • What important actions would you have had to take?
      • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
      • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
      • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
      • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
      • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

      Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

      It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

      Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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