Dude... are you eating too much protein?
June is National Men’s Health Month! Men, it’s time to man up and take control of your health. Schedule a doctor’s visit and get confirmation that you are, indeed, the handy and healthy guy you think you are.
To keep you occupied while you wait at the doctor’s office, read up on a topic that all guys can appreciate: Protein. Whether you like to grill it, just eat it, or rely on it after the gym, find out how much is too much and what sources are the best for your body.
MYTH: The more protein the better.
FACT: Most Americans receive enough protein daily without really trying. Some of the best sources of protein include dairy products, meat, beans, eggs, nuts, and seeds. The DRI (Dietary Reference Intake) is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight so, for example, 56 g of protein/day for the average sedentary man. For those trying to gain muscle, shoot for 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight. Keep in mind, protein is best absorbed if spread out over the course of the day, therefore, don’t overdo it at meals/snacks. Too much of a good thing, well, isn’t necessarily always a good thing. Remember to consume the other food groups, too!
MYTH: Protein powders can substitute whole food protein sources entirely.
FACT: Protein powders are a convenient choice to chug when leaving the gym, but don’t replace whole foods for these beverages completely. Not only does the variation of protein sources provide your body with different amino acid profiles (the building blocks of protein), but consuming protein from food sources will also provide you with other essential vitamins and minerals (for example, beef contains zinc, iron, and vitamin B12).
TRY THIS RECIPE: Beef and Black Bean Burgers
MYTH: As we age, we don’t need nearly as much protein.
FACT: Adults lose about 3-8 percent of muscle mass per decade after the age of 30, therefore, optimal protein intake is important to preserve muscle mass and prevent age-related declines in health and physical functioning. As a rule of thumb, aim for 20 grams of protein per meal to ensure your meeting your protein goal.
MYTH: it’s impossible for vegans to eat their recommended amount of protein daily.
RELATED: Read more content from a Hy-Vee dietitian
FACT: Tell anyone you eat a plant-based diet and the first question they often ask is, “Where do you get your protein?” A complete protein is a source that contains all nine essential amino acids, but since that list includes foods like beef, fish, and eggs, vegans miss out. Turns out, this isn’t as big of a problem as you may have thought. Even a plant-based diet, as long as it’s well-balanced, includes vegetables, beans, grains, nuts, and seeds contain some, and often times a good amount, of protein. Although they may have to be more conscious of what choices they make, they will receive enough protein even without carnivore selections.
Paige Green received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Management at the University of Northern Iowa in 2012. She pursued her passion for nutrition at Iowa State University, where she earned her Bachelor of Science degree in dietetics during the spring of 2015. She is a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the Iowa Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Paige truly sets out to educate individuals on finding a healthy balance in life and her passion for people and nutrition inspires clients of all ages. You can find Paige at the Waukee Hy-Vee.