Protein Consumption Recommendations

Protein Consumption Recommendations

 

I had one of my clients ask me a great question about protein intake and why some of you may have some higher numbers to hit daily. While this doesn’t apply to everyone, it may provide some potentially useful information when clients get to that stage of their nutritional journey.

 

Without getting blood work done, it’s hard to specify an amount of protein for people to consume. Understand that digestion starts in the mouth with the mechanical process of chewing. A lot of my clients have mentioned that they inhale their food, so one reason for the higher number is that most people don’t actually digest and use all of the protein you eat because it’s not in a form that’s readily available for your body to use.

 

Your stomach and intestines are responsible more so for the chemical breakdown of food, leaving a lot of the mechanical processes of breaking food down to your mouth. Some research suggests that only 70-80% of what you eat is actually used since the other 20-30% isn’t available due to a lack of mechanical breakdown of the protein consumed.

 

This may provide support for eating more protein, but it’s certainly not definitive or the end-all, be-all solution to your nutritional prescription and serves as a starting point to refine from. Another reason is that protein and fat are linked to how satisfied you feel after a meal. When you consume higher amounts of protein as a health client, it may actually help curb your appetite through increases in the amount of circulating Leptin hormone circulating in your system.

 

For my performance athletes, increasing rates of a process known as protein synthesis may be one reason to have a higher recommendation. Protein synthesis is the process of taking amino acids and constructing whatever forms of cells are necessary, including muscle tissue and nerve cells.

 

One way you can tell if you are consuming adequate amounts of protein is by monitoring your nitrogen levels in your urine. They have nitrogen monitoring strips you can pee on that may serve as a monitoring tool for those of you who are really into nerding out and want to test your own levels and play around with it.

 

Nerd talk: Leptin is the hunger satiety hormone and is triggered through amino acids like tryptophan, increases in the amount of free-fatty acids in circulation, etc. Grelin is the hunger hormone that acts in opposition to Leptin and is generally triggered by a decrease of the amount of blood glucose (aka blood sugar) circulating in your blood. Long story finally made short: your nutrition is your responsibility.

 

That being said, we have professionals here to serve as a guide and help you figure out what works best for YOU. Everyone is different. While research is a valuable place to start, fine-tuning your own experiences and optimizing your health or performance is probably going to require you to go off the beaten road at some points.

 

Hope this was helpful in understanding your protein consumption for those of you that this applies towards!

Happy protein-ing! 🙂

 

Andrew Garritson, M.S., CSCS, CES, Pn1, CF-L2, USAW SP-L1, BTS-L1, PDR

 

References:

van Erp-Baart, A.M.J., W.H.M. Saris, R.A. Binkhorst, J.A. Vos, and J.W.H. Elvers. 1989a. Nationwide survey on nurtitional habits in elite athletes. Part I: Energy carbohydrate, protein.. Int J Sports Med 10 (1): S11-S16

Jeukendrup, A. E., & Gleeson, M. (2019). Sport nutrition (pp. 179-182). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.

 

Andrew Garritson is the founder of HumEx Fitness. He is currently completing his PhD in Performance Psychology at Grand Canyon University and has coached both health-oriented and performance-driven clients in a variety of disciplines across the last 14 years. Prior to his PhD and HumEx Fitness, Andrew received his Masters degree in Health and Human Performance at Georgia College & State University and his Bachelors degree in Health and Physical Education while serving as a recon marine at B Co. 4th Recon Battalion and completing one tour of duty. When not coaching or researching stress responses, you can find Andrew with his girlfriend, Macy and her dog Topaz, reading, watching a good sci-fi movie, or exploring the outdoors.



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