This is the 3rd and final part of our series of articles covering protein and how you should utilize this vital nutrient into your diet to optimize your health and wellbeing.
The Truth about Protein – Part 3
How to implement protein into your diet
Depending on the amount of meals you eat a day, the amount of protein you have to eat with each meal will vary. Ideally you eat many small, frequent meals throughout the day to keep you alert and focused. The important thing is however, that you get the required protein intake for the day in your body. Protein will best processed by your body If you eat every 3-4 hours or so. A good tip, that many athletes follow, is to have at least 10g of protein with each meal. This can be from nuts, or a piece of chicken for example. The way to do it is to calculate your protein intake for the day, then divide that into the number if meals you consume during the day. That will give you how much protein you should be eating with each meal. For example, 200g of protein into 6 meals gives you about 33g of protein with each meal. If you ever have to skip a meal, then instead, take a protein shake. You should try not to rely too much on protein shakes and focus your diet mainly on wholesome, nutrient-rich foods. Think about it, your body is not made to be constantly consuming powders & pills. Opt for whole foods and keep the protein shakes to post-workout and as meal replacements.
However, if you cannot eat regular small meals throughout the day, 1 to 3 larger meals will suffice just fine. Just remember that the body will keep a little more fat with this schedule (due to higher insulin release, and the usual higher caloric intake that comes with bigger meals) This little bit of fat, is usually not a problem for most people, and is actually not bad for your health. Rather, having a little fat on the body is actually healthy.
Rotating your protein sources
- Protein rotation is another key to optimal body composition and health. Basically, it means not eating the same source of protein every day, every week, every month. This goes for all foods, but is especially the case with protein foods. Eating the same food too often will cause food allergies in the long term and you will not get the same benefits from the foods because your body will adapt. Rotating your food sources also keeps your meals interesting and prevents diet boredom, which unsurprisingly, happens very quickly. If your diet is interesting, then it becomes effortless.
Water & Fibre
Upping your protein intake will also increase your need for fibre and water. Fibre intake has to increase because your body has to work harder to properly digest the extra protein (as discussed in part 1 of this series). The fibre will aid with digestion of the protein and keeps things running smooth inside. Water intake will increase because fibre intake has increased. The more fibre you have in your diet, the more water you need to drink. This will ensure everything passes through (yep, i’m talking about poop) properly and easily.
Regarding intake, shoot for at least 30g of fibre day. Bear in mind that this is the minimal amount and you can shoot for upto 75g. If you’re on a low carb diet, then its number one priority that you consume lots of fibre. Sources of fibre include:
- Flax, Chia, Hemp Seeds
- Vegetables – Cooked AND raw
- Psyllium Husk
- Carbohydrates such as Oats, Rice and Potatoes. Especially reheated.
As for water, drink at least 2 litres a day.
With that all covered, lets summarise the whole series into a few quick tips for you to take away:
- Calculate your protein needs and eat accordingly.
- Implement protein into your diet by consuming at least 10g with each meal. If you get a high-protein breakfast first thing in the morning, it becomes so much easier to eat the right amount throughout the day
- Make sure you’re getting enough fibre & water
- Choose high quality sources e.g., organic eggs and grass-fed beef.
- Rotate them sources!
- Make sure your eating enough protein!