The Truth On Macronutrients, Part I: The Power of Protein

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In a previous article, I outlined when it might be an appropriate time to count calories.

 

In the first part of this series, I want to shed some light on how to begin a calorie-controlled diet. If you’re ready to begin counting calories, this is the perfect guide for you.

 

The next step is to learn about each macronutrient. Carbs generally get a bad wrap, but I will show you how it’s still possible to enjoy carbohydrates [even a donut or two!] and still reach your fitness goals.

 

So, let’s take a closer look at the macronutrients.

 

Macronutrients are:

– The nutrients that provide energy [calories]

– They are required for growth, metabolism and other bodily functions

 

There are three macronutrients:

– Protein

– Fat

– Carbohydrates

 

Between each macronutrient, the amount of calories varies. Protein provides 4 calories per gram, carbohydrates provide 4 calories per gram, and fat provides 9 calories per gram.

 

Let’s now look at each individual macronutrient, starting with the power of protein.

 

PROTEIN

Protein is a staple among athletes and bodybuilders. It’s a staple in your diet that is used in a number of ways: to repair cells, to help your skin and muscle recover, to repair your bone, teeth, hair, among other things. Here’ a good way to think of protein. Imagine it as the mortar between the bricks in a house.

 

Without it, the entire structure would begin to break down.

 

Protein helps us to remain anabolic, and provides the material needed to build and maintain muscle tissue.

 

Where Can I Get Protein?

 

Eggs

Eggs are on the best complete proteins available, and are easily used in the body. One large egg contains 6g of protein

 

Beef

Beef is my personal favorite. UIt gets a bad wrap, however 99% of the negative claims in the media about red meat are false. Saturated fat is not unhealthy, as many people are led to believe. I eat red meat roughly 3 days per week. If you are still concerned with the fat levels, you could choose game meat, or lean mince.

 

Fish and seafood

Seafood is another quality source of protein. As a bonus, most seafood contains high amounts of zinc. Remember, hot chips and sauce do not count as seafood 😉 Although they are recommended with your fish

 

Poultry

Poultry is a popular choice as they are incredibly lean and inexpensive. Turkey is one of the leanest cuts of poultry, and so are chicken breasts.

 

Dairy products

Dairy products such as milk and cheese are other sources of protein. For example, Greek yoghurt contains up to 12 grams or protein per serve and so does cottage cheese. A small percentage of athletes may have problems digesting dairy or they may have skin reactions. If this is you, you can remove most dairy products.

 

How much do I need?

My suggestion is to aim for 1-1.2g of protein per pound of body weight.

 

The leaner you are more muscle mass you have, the more important protein becomes.

 

Why do I need it?

▪   Growth & repair of muscles, tissues & cells

▪   Immune function

▪   Making essential hormones & enzymes

▪   Energy when carbohydrate is not available (extreme circumstances)

▪   Preserving lean muscle mass

 

Can I supplement with protein?

The short answer is yes. Supplementing with powder or even protein bars can assist if you find you’re struggling to meet your minimum requirements.

 

The best powder to use is whey protein isolate [WPI] and is readily available. There are some quality protein bars, such as Quest bars, which can also be used.

 

NOTE: Here is a quick link jump to the entire series:

The Truth on Macros Part I: The Power of Protein

The Truth on Macros Part II: Give up carbs? Over my bread body!

The Truth on Macros Part III: The Skinny on Fats