Saturday, February 22, 2014

Habit 2: Eat Protein Dense Foods with Each Meal

Last week, we wrote about the importance of slowing down while eating. Dr. John Berardi of Precision Nutrition pointed out that slowing down was important to allow our brain to recognize that we are full. This strategy allows us to stop before we overeat, and is a key element which will allow us to reach our fitness and aesthetic goals.

Martina Avellino, PhD.
Now that we have covered our bases in terms of how we should eat, let's look at what we should eat. Precision Nutrition advocates that it is crucial to eat protein dense foods with each meal, despite some statements to the contrary. Some experts would have you believe that this strategy involves eating too much protein--which is harmful at worst, or futile at best.

Martina Avellino, of Integra Training, and one of England's top trainers and brightest minds, disagrees with the protein naysayers. Avellino states, "Eating protein in every meal is important for satiety and to ensure that overall protein intake is adequate. Additionally, protein can positively affect hormonal balance that favours an optimal body composition."

This is because protein consumption aids in stimulating the release of glucagon. Glucagon, a hormone that is secreted by the alpha cells of the pancreas, breaks down glycogen to release glucose. This reduces the glycogen storage in the body, and in turn makes us less likely to store carbohydrates as fat.

In order to meet protein needs, Erika Volk (founder of Erika Volk Fitness) say that men and women should consume protein based on their weight and activity level.

 Erika Volk
Volk says that, "to prevent a protein deficiency, healthy adults need a baseline intake of .36 grams of protein per pound of body weight. However, if you are participating in an exercise program or are trying to lose weight, you should aim to consume .64-.9 grams of protein per pound of body weight."

Michael Baker, a Tier 3+ trainer at Equinox has an easier way to measure the protein sizes if you don't have a digital scale handy. "A protein serving size should be between 20 and 30g, which is about the size of your hand."

"Women should seek to get one portion per meal, whereas men should aim for two servings of protein at each meal."

Follow these guidelines and you ensure that you consume adequate protein, rev up your metabolism, improve recovery, and reduce body fat.

This is part two of a five part series on The 5 Habits of Good Nutrition. Stay tuned for the rest of the series. 

Special thanks to Martina Avellino, PhD. of Integra Training, Erika Volk of Erika Volk Fitness, and Michael Baker of Equinox.


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