Enlist the power of protein to look and feel your best

Whether you want to lose weight, increase or maintain muscle mass, or feel more energetic throughout the day, protein can help.

The most common change people make to their diet when starting a nutrition program or fitness challenge at our studio

The most common change people make to their diet when starting a nutrition program or fitness challenge at our studio

While standing in line at the grocery store yesterday, a magazine cover caught my eye.  The headline read: “My protein miracle”.  A lady on the cover reported losing 238 pounds by taking advantage of the ‘new science of eating protein throughout the day’. Tongue in cheek, I took a photo of the cover and shared the groundbreaking news to my Facebook wall.  After all, there’s nothing new about the science of eating protein.

Then it dawned on me, despite the science being around for many years, few people are aware of the benefits of eating protein at each meal, or simply are not doing it.  In fact, the most common change people make to their diet when starting a nutrition program or fitness challenge at our studio, is adding protein to each meal.  We grew up eating cereal for breakfast, a sandwich for lunch and protein for dinner; and often continue this way of eating.  Also, the fear of dietary fat still lingers; many people swap eggs for puffed rice cereal and skim milk in an effort to lose weight.

Why eat protein?

Whether you want to lose weight, increase or maintain muscle mass, or feel more energetic throughout the day, protein can help. Protein takes more time and energy to digest than carbohydrates, meaning you stay full for longer, and burn more calories during the digestion of protein.  People who eat protein tend to naturally eat less, simply because they are less hungry.  Protein also helps to stabilize your blood sugar and insulin levels.

Protein can also help with your energy levels.  When blood sugar spikes, for example after a high carbohydrate meal, the hormone insulin is released to shuttle the glucose (sugar) out of the blood stream, and into fat cells, muscle, and the liver.  Protein helps to stabilize blood sugar, and therefore reduces the amount of insulin required after a meal.  The result is less blood sugar being stored as body fat, and more stable energy levels throughout the day.

In addition, protein plays a role in almost every cellular function in the human body.  It is necessary for building and repairing muscle, red blood cells, and hormones.

What are sources of protein?

Optimal sources of protein include beans, nuts, dairy (especially Greek yogurt and cottage cheese), chicken breast, eggs, egg whites, lean meat, and fish.  Avoid processed meats such as hot dogs, packaged chicken, fish sticks, and deli meats, as they are very high in sodium and preservatives.

How much protein?

How much protein you consume will depend on a few different factors, including your age, sex, goals, eating preferences and activity level.

There are different ways to measure protein consumption: you can aim for a certain number of grams per day, or aim for a percentage of your calories to come from protein.   Most sound nutrition programs recommend 20-30% of calories to come from protein.   For example, if you consume 1500 calories per day, 30% protein is 112g per day.

Although it’s impossible to give exact measurements, you can start by ensuring you have one serving of protein at each meal, and at least some protein at each snack.

Below are examples of portion sizes.  You can also use the palm of your hand as a guideline for portions.

• Lean meat (beef, pork, chicken, turkey, game, etc.)- 3 oz

• Salmon or other fish – 3 oz

• Canned tuna – 3 oz

• Shrimp/ shell fish – 3 oz

• Eggs – 2

• Egg whites – 1 cup

• Protein powder – 1 serving (scoop size will vary).

• Nut butter – 2 tbsp

• Nuts and seeds- raw, unsalted – 1/4 cup whole nuts

• Yogurt- plain, 2-5% fat – 1 cup

• Greek yogurt- plain, 2-5% fat – 3/4 cup

• Cottage cheese- 3/4 cup

• Ricotta cheese, – 1/2 cup

• Cheese- 1 oz

• Beans (kidney, chick peas, black beans, etc.)- 3/4 cup

• Lentils – 3/4 cup

• Tofu – 4 oz

• Veggie ground round – 3 oz

• *Not an exhaustive list

Though the miracle of protein may not be entirely new science, many people still do not eat protein regularly throughout the day.  Include protein at each meal to enjoy all day energy and a slimmer waistline!

Tanja Shaw is a healthy-eating enthusiast, Rotarian, passionate entrepreneur, mom, runner, and owner of Ascend Fitness Inc. Tanja and her team of expert fitness coaches inspire and educate Chilliwack residents to make positive and power changes in their lives through physical fitness and sound nutrition.  Visit Ascend Fitness Inc. at www.ascendfitnesscoaching.com.

 

 

 

Just Posted

These three kittens, seen here on Thursday, June 10, 2021, are just some of many up for adoption at the Chilliwack SPCA. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: Find Me My Furever Home – Three kittens at the Chilliwack SPCA

Kittens were in ‘rough shape’ when they came into the Chilliwack SPCA, now ready for adoption

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: Chilliwack family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A new sign was installed at St. Thomas Anglican Church on Saturday, June 5, 2021 in Chilliwack. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Community effort to install new sign at Chilliwack’s oldest church

‘We feel it’s a step in the right direction to bring the church up-to-date,’ says St. Thomas parishioner

Dennis Saulnier rescued his daughters, two-year-old Brinley (left) and four-year-old Keegan, after their truck was driven off the road and into Cultus Lake on May 16, 2020. Reporter Jenna Hauck has been recognized by the B.C. and Yukon Community Newspapers Association for her story on the rescue. (Jenna Hauck/ The Progress)
Chilliwack Progress, Hope Standard staff take home 7 Ma Murray awards

Jenna Hauck, Eric Welsh, Jessica Peters, Emelie Peacock all earn journalism industry recognition

A student prepares to throw a plate full of whipped cream at principal Jim Egdcombe’s face as vice principal Devin Atkins watches as part of a fundraiser at Leary Integrated Arts and Technology elementary on Friday, June 11, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
The pied principals: Chilliwack elementary staff get messy for charity

Cops for Cancer fundraiser saw kids ‘pie the principal’ at Leary elementary in Chilliwack

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

The Queen Victoria statue at the B.C. legislature was splattered with what looks like red paint on Friday. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
Queen Victoria statue at B.C. legislature vandalized Friday

Statue splattered with red paint by old growth forest proponents

Most Read