Are you wondering how much protein should you eat in a day? Well I just wanted to share a little about the book I have been reading called 5 Appetites: eat like animals for a naturally healthy diet. The synopsis of the book is that humans have five distinct appetites, scientists say, which work in tandem to ensure we get specific amounts of the nutrients our bodies need to work efficiently: protein, carbs, fats, sodium, and calcium.
I have bored myself silly reading pages and pages about test on locusts, mice and gorillas to get to the point. I have a couple of chapters left but thought i would share with you the general points.
Your body needs the following in varying amounts: protein, carbs, fats, sodium, and calcium. The most important of these though is PROTEIN.
You will continue eating until you have had the right amount of each for your body. All animals and humans continued eating in all scientific tests until they had had their daily amount of protein needed. In many cases animals and humans would all over eat to find enough protein.
How much protein should you eat in a day?
The general amount of protein needed is 15% of total calories each day made up of protein. This will increase slightly if you do a lot of exercise and have more muscle to repair. So I need around 80g of protein each day as i am trying to stick to 1500 cals per day for weight loss.
The book states that the ratio of carbs and fats does not really matter too much, however it states with much scientific back up that a diet low in carbohydrate and high in fat significantly reduces life expectancy although increases fertility. A diet higher in carbohydrates and lower in fat is shown to make you live the longest…….so I am going to give this a go and I can be a human experiment if eating this way works.
Which nutrients do I need to live my best life?
I get that the general consensus in this book is to get carbohydrates mainly from fruit and vegetables and pure sources like sweet potatoes. Think about getting in your nutrition. Basically we all need macro nutrients like carbs, fats and protein: and micro nutrients like vitamins and minerals. When we don’t get them our bodies are programmed to keep eating until we do. Fibre is also important to keep us full. Fruit and vegetables in their full form (not juiced because it removes the fibrous skin) will give micro nutrients and fibre.
The book explains that the slightest minuscule changes in fat and sugar/ carbohydrate ratios in food can see us not sending the right signals to the brain and overeating. It states that the food companies know this and use it to their advantage to keep us eating more of their bad foods and supersizing as well as keeping costs lower by not including protein which balances your appetite.
So how do we incorporate this into our everyday lives if we want to?
Well I have set my macros to the following ratio: 1510 calories per day: 60% carbs (227g). 20% protein (80g) 20% fat (34g)
This is a huge increase in carbs for me – but because I am doing a rowing competition and wanting to get better I know I need to eat carbohydrates to have more energy and also to repair. I also want to stop drinking in the week, so want to experiment as to whether me reaching for the prosecco at 6pm is my body wanting the carbohydrate that I have been restricting.
Have you eaten enough protein each day?
If you find yourself not being able to hit the stop button when you are eating certain meals maybe have a little think about whether it is an ultra processed food (specifically designed to make you keep eating) or whether it is lacking protein or any other nutritional content. Also start thinking have you had enough protein each day?
I stated earlier that I felt that I could not eat an apple without it spiking my need for sugar. So I have combined a huge bowl of balanced nutrition for my post rowing snack today. The apple is balanced in the bowl with protein and some fat from the yoghurt too. First meal of the day at 1pm was:
Protein porridge recipe:
40g organic porridge
1 scoop protein powder (not ideal because it is processed, but this will be my only one of the day and after rowing I did need a decent hit)
1 pink lady apple cut up with the skin ON
50g 5% fat Fage greek yoghurt
That is nicely balanced and filling and should keep me going for a good few hours.
426 calories, 56g carbs, 7g fat, 31g protein
So hopefully you now understand how much protein you should eat in a day and why it is so important. I appreciate that this may bore the pants off many of you, however even if you are not looking to lose weight it is a very interesting theory that I for one am excited to experiment with. Well to be fair I am beyond excited to eat more carbs so i hope to goodness it works. I will report back and hopefully be glowing in the next few weeks. know already I am happier that my life in the next few weeks will involve eating some carbohydrates just in time for Valentines Day!