Quick question – are you getting enough protein in your diet?
For most Americans, the answer is YES, more than enough. How then, can you explain the huge business that is protein supplements? All those bars and meal replacements bragging boatloads of protein? Not to mention Greek yogurts that tout their high protein count?
An excellent article in the LA Times informs us that the supplement industry’s marketing machine has protein listed as the most popular supplement by far among the fitness crowd.
This got us thinking about “protein marketing”.
What you need to know:
Our bodies need about 0.8 grams of protein per kg of body weight. That’s about 55 grams per day if you weigh 150 lbs. People in endurance training may need to up the number to 1.0-1.2 grams, which is 65-80 grams of protein per day. But how many of us are engaged in endurance training? Aerobics 3 times a week does not really increase your protein requirement.
Here are typical protein values for foods:
- 4 oz chicken breast – 25 grams
- 4 oz hamburger – 20 grams
- Glass of milk – 8 grams
- Low fat yogurt 10 – 12 grams
- 1 medium egg – 6 grams
- 2 slices of bread – 3-5 grams
- 2 tbsp of peanut butter – 8 grams
If you start adding up all you eat in the course of a day, you’ll discover you don’t need to take any special measures to increase your protein intake. Additionally,
renowned sport nutritionist Nancy Clark [says] “Protein supplements are not a whole food and fail to offer the complete package of health that protective nutrients found in natural foods do…”
So why are people sucked into these supplement shenanigans? Probably because they are an easy fix. Why prepare a meal when you can mix some powder into a smoothie / eat a bar and be done with your nutrition requirements in less than 5 minutes…
What to do at the supermarket:
When a food boasts high protein content, don’t get blinded. Look at the ingredient list. In many cases you’ll discover a perfectly nutritious food. But in some cases, you might unearth a junky snack full of sugars and fillers that has also been pumped with protein powders.