Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Power of Protein

In a time where Low-Carb diets are in rising popularity, many people are already consuming more protein on a daily basis. But aside from losing weight, the benefits of Protein for women’s bodies are great. Protein is one of the most important building blocks of the human body. Having an adequate amount of Protein in your diet helps your body recover from injury by building and repairing tissues. Our hair and nails are mostly made of protein. Protein is the basis of our bones, cartilage, skin, blood and muscles. But how much should we eat to reap the benefits of Protein? And what are the best sources to get Protein from?


The current recommendation of Protein for a healthy adult is 0.36 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight. How much of this you should eat when engaged in an exercise program can vary based on your fitness goals.


For example, if you exercise on a regular basis (3-5 times a week) with weight training, and your goal is to gain muscle – you should be eating 1 gram of protein per 1 pound of lean body mass. If, on the other hand, you exercise on a regular basis and wish to lose fat, then .8 grams of protein per 1 pound of lean body mass is ideal. So, how does this translate into what you eat during the day?


To calculate your own daily protein requirement, start with your weight in pounds and divide by 2.2. Take this number, and multiply by 0.8 – 1.8 grams.*

*Use a 0.8 if you are in good health and are sedentary. Use a higher number (between 1 and 1.8) if you are under stress, are pregnant, are recovering from an illness, or if you are involved in consistent and intense weight or endurance training.


There are several different ways to get protein into your meals. The most well-known is through eating more meat. It will vary depending on the type of meat, but there are typically 7 grams of protein in an ounce of meat. Keep in mind a 3 oz. serving of meat is about the size of a deck of playing cards and a 4 oz. serving of fish is equal in size to a check book.


While meat is the most common source of protein, keep in mind that animal foods that are high in protein are usually high in saturated fats as well. A diet heavy in saturated fats can increase your risks for heart disease, stroke, diabetes and different forms of cancer. Therefore, it is important to get your protein from a variety of sources.




Protein can be found in the form of pre-packaged drinks and powders, which are the most direct form. Whey and Soy Proteins are lean forms of protein, and the ones I recommend most. Protein can also be taken easily in the form of meal replacement or snack bars. I highly recommend Luna Bars (made by the same company as Clif Bars). Not only are Luna Bars high in Protein, they’re high in Fiber, too. (Stay tuned for my article, “Facts of Fiber” to explore the various health and digestive benefits of Fiber). Luna Bars also contain many of the vitamins and nutrients women’s bodies need, and I recommend  These include Calcium, folic acid, iron, B1, B2, B3, B6, B12, vitamin D for calcium absorption.


Protein can also be found in Fish, which is also heart healthy with omega-3 fatty acids, Chicken and Turkey that is lighter in Saturated Fats than red meats, Beans, Nuts, and Whole Grains.


Make it a point to learn how much protein your body needs, make an effort to nourish yourself, and see how your body transforms in the next few weeks.


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Hi! I 'm Karlene Murphy. A lover of food (especially if it's gluten and dairy free!), getting outdoors, lifting weights, travel, writing, and snuggling with my two puppies. My addictions include chocolate, coffee, cookies, and sharing my love of being HAPPY and HEALTHY! My passion is educating others - whether at my full time job as a high school Psychology teacher, or with YOU my readers. I have been in the fitness wold for almost 10 years, and currently am an Online Fitness Coach, Fitness Instructor, Pilates and Yoga and Aerial Yoga Instructor in Southern New Hampshire. Contact Me if you need help with designing your own fitness and nutrition program.

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