The Importance of Protein in Our Diets
To be sure, protein is one of the most important nutrients in our diet. Proteins are made up of building blocks otherwise known as amino acids. For example, there are approximately 20 common amino acids, nine of which are considered “essential” meaning we must get them from our diet. Protein is needed to build and repair tissues, in the same way, your muscles, hair, skin, organs and hormones all depend on protein.
How Much Protein Do I Need Per Day?
The right amount of protein for each person depends on many variables such as age, gender, health, and activity level. However, the RDA (Recommended Dietary Allowance) suggest 56 grams for men and 46 grams for women which is considered to be on the low side. So, if you are a very active person it is suggested you double that number.
Notably, the body can only absorb and use a certain amount of protein at one time, so it becomes especially important to spread your protein intake throughout the day. Before increasing your dietary protein, be sure to check with your doctor!
What Happens If I Don’t Get Enough Protein?
So why is it so important to get enough protein in your diet? A lack of protein in your diet may cause symptoms such as, low energy and fatigue, poor concentration, mood swings, spikes in blood sugar, trouble losing weight, or problems sleeping. You may experience muscle and joint pain, as well as a weakening of the immune system which can account for getting sick more regularly.
High Protein Diet After Bariatric Surgery
A high-protein diet for those who’ve had Bariatric surgery is very important because there is a higher risk of protein deficiency. High protein aids in the healing process, maintains a healthy muscle mass as well as keeping your immune system healthy during your weight loss. After surgery recommendations are between 60-80 grams of daily protein. However, it is very important you discuss your specific concerns and needs with your doctors!
We created the Bariatric Surgery Tracker Food and Exercise Logs specifically for our friends who’ve had Bariatric surgery. As a result of conversations with actual patients discussing their specific tracking needs, we designed the logs to help navigate the post-surgery challenges. You will notice we have a Daily Food and Exercise Log as well as a Weekly Food and Exercise Log.
High Protein Diet for Blood Sugar Issues
When it comes to protein and blood sugar issues, there are many varying opinions. Many believe that protein is helpful in stabilizing blood sugar. Equally important is that protein in combination with carbohydrate-rich foods can actually slow down the absorption of sugar in the bloodstream. However, it is so dependent on many variables. Therefore, we can not stress enough that this is a conversation for you and your doctor.
Because we have so many family members dealing with different versions of blood sugar issues, we were encouraged to create our Diabetes/Blood Glucose Log that we are sure you will find helpful in recording important information for you and your doctor.
High Protein Diet for Losing Weight
Firstly, did you know that there are many benefits to adding more protein to your diet that can actually help you lose the weight? Protein is satisfying and actually slows down your digestion so you feel full longer. Also, pairing your protein with your carbohydrate-rich foods can cut sugar cravings. Secondly, did you know that protein increases your metabolism which helps burn calories? While increasing your protein may help you lose weight, remember that calories still count! We have designed a Diet and Exercise Log to record valuable information that will keep you challenged and more importantly, motivated!
How Do I Get More Protein in My Diet? Animal Sources
Proteins that comes from animal sources are considered “complete” because they contain all the essential amino acids. Whereas, plant based proteins are considered “incomplete” because they are lacking in one or more of the amino acids. Below you will find a few examples of the foods packed with animal source proteins:
- Chicken 53 grams/1 breast
- Tuna 39 grams/1 cup
- Turkey Breast 24 grams/3 oz
- Cup Cottage Cheese 27 grams/1 cup
- Lean Beef 22 grams/3 oz
- Greek Yogurt 20 grams/1 cup
- Salmon 17 grams/3 oz
- Milk 1/cup8 grams
It was noted earlier that plant based protein is considered “incomplete” because they lack one or more amino acids. There are a couple of exception such as soya, quinoa and buckwheat which are plant-based foods containing all the essential amino acids. Below you will find a few examples of good plant-based sources of protein:
- Beans 41 grams/1 cup
- Chickpeas 39 grams/1 cup
- Pumpkin Seeds 28 grams/1 oz
- Oats 26 grams/1 cup
- Tofu 20 grams/1 cup
- Peanuts 19 grams/1/2 cup
- Lentils 18 grams/1 cup
- Edamame 17 grams/1 cup
- Tempeh 16 grams/1/2 cup
- Hemp Seeds 10 grams/3 tablespoons
- Quinoa 8 grams/1 cup
- Almonds 6 grams/1 oz
How Can I Boost My Protein Intake
- Snack on cheese
- Enjoy some lean jerky
- Have a handful of almonds or sprinkle slivered almonds on your food
- Keep hard boiled eggs in the frig for quick snacks
- Enjoy a morning smoothie with added protein
- Peanut butter goes well with fruit or celery
- Cottage cheese goes well with fruit (mmmm, peaches)
Try this recipe for Super High Protein Flour. In 1 heaping cup of unbleached flour add 1 tablespoon each of soy flour, wheat germ and powdered milk.
You may prefer to mix a 5 lb bag of flour with the ingredient all at once. There is approximately 18-20 cups of flour in one 5 lb bag of flour which means you will need to add between 18-20 tablespoons of each ingredient. Give it a try!