(CARLSBAD, CA) – Atkins. South Beach. The Zone. Everywhere you look, high-profile diets of the day promise a svelte physique if you pack on the protein and “eighty six” the carbs. So-called nutritional experts advise the elimination of carbs in favor of protein. Even basic supermarket foods showcase labels of high-protein and low carb content. Do we really need that much protein?
Most of us get sufficient protein, without even making a conscious effort. Some of us even pack our bodies with excess protein. And while protein is an essential part of a healthy diet, it should not overpower the other components of your daily nutritional regimen.
In an effort to clear up common misconceptions about protein, Jazzercise Founder and CEO Judi Sheppard Missett answers your protein related frequently asked questions.
- Why is protein important?
Protein provides amino acids, the building blocks of our muscles. Our bodies also use protein to build and repair nails, hair and bones. Protein even assists in the production and functioning of hormones.
How much protein do I need?
Protein cannot be stored in your body long term, so you need a fresh supply each day. In fact, it’s best to spread your protein intake throughout the day, since your body can only absorb about 20 grams at once.
According to the U.S. Food & Nutrition Board, the recommended daily allowance for protein is 0.8 grams per kilograms of your body weight. To determine how much you need, divide your weight in pounds by 2.2, which will determine your weight in kilograms. From there, multiply your weight in kilograms by 0.8 to find your personal recommended daily allowance. For example, a 140-pound adult weighs 63.6 kilograms and consequently needs about 51 grams of protein daily.
What’s surprising is that this 140-pound adult doesn’t need to chug-down protein shakes or inhale a gargantuan sized steak to get those 51 grams. Just two tablespoons of peanut butter on toast in the morning, three ounces of tuna or chicken at lunch, and a handful of almonds as a mid-afternoon snack provide this adult’s entire daily dose of protein.
What are the best sources of protein?
Obviously, meat is a great source of protein. There are other means of gaining your daily protein besides multiple trips to the meat market. Dairy products, such as cottage cheese and yogurt, provide ample protein. Eggs, beans and nuts also pack a protein punch.
Is it possible to overload on protein?
For most people, overdosing on protein isn’t a problem. If you eat too much, your body will simply flush-out the excess protein as waste. However, too much protein can put strain on the kidneys, especially for anyone suffering from kidney-related issues. Furthermore, protein bars and shakes are often jam-packed with calories. So, your efforts to ingest more protein by downing these products may actually cause you to chow down on extra calories, which your body will store as fat.
What’s my best plan of action to get enough protein in my diet?
Like most things in life, balance is the key. Eat a balanced diet. Don’t cut out any single food group in favor of another. Make sure you’re getting a fair amount of protein, and balance that protein intake with healthy carbohydrates.
Jazzercise, created by Judi Sheppard Missett, is the world's leading dance-fitness program with more than 7,800 instructors teaching 32,000 classes weekly in all 50 states and 32 countries. For more than 40 years, millions of people of all ages and fitness levels have reaped the benefits of this comprehensive fitness program, designed to enhance cardiovascular endurance, strength, and flexibility. For more information on Jazzercise go to jazzercise.com or call (800)FIT-IS-IT or (760)476-1750.