Everywhere you look in the fitness world these days it’s all about protein, usually high protein.
- But, is high protein really necessary?
- Where do you get protein from?
- Is eating all that protein actually good for you?
These are questions that we get asked constantly at MPT.
What is Protein Used For?
Let’s take the first one: we should understand what protein is actually used for in the body.
If you’ve ever heard the phrase “you can’t make something out of nothing” then you can’t repair and generate tissue for your body without feeding it something.
Well, that’s what protein is for.
Imagine this: the cells of your body are constantly being broken down and regenerated. The raw materials for you to regenerate your tissue come from proteins.
Your hair, nails, skin, muscles and blood all have proteins in.
So, if you don’t eat enough of it then you can’t repair effectively.
Which brings up a point. If the minimum requirement for your body is, let’s say, 150g of protein a day and you’re only eating a couple of eggs and a half a chicken breast, is that going to cut it in terms of your protein needs?
No, not even close.
Eat More Protein
That’s why it’s important to increase your protein intake. It isn’t about eating a high protein diet, it’s about eating enough protein to sustain basic repair. (Most nutrition advice in the media will have you believe proteins in your diet should be kept low, they’re misleading.)
It’s a bit like having a race car that needs to see a mechanic every weekend.
If you said to a friend “my car is on a high maintenance package, it needs constant attention from a mechanic”, your friend might think that it’s a little excessive. That is, until they learn that your car needs that much work because of the damage you are doing to it by racing.
How Much Protein?
Your body goes through a lot of activities on a daily basis, so it requires a lot of protein. If you’re used to eating 30g of protein a day and you learn that you should be eating 150g, you might think that it’s a lot of protein. It only seems a lot because you aren’t used to eating that much of it.
So, your first task should be to find out just how much protein a day you need to be reaching, compared with how much you normally consume.
The Eyes & No Eyes Test
Next, you’ll need to know where to get quality protein from. There is a really easy way to figure this out, it’s called the eyes vs no eyes test.
Pick a food.
We’ll choose eggs.
Then, ask yourself if it has eyes or comes from something with eyes.
Well, eggs come from chickens and chickens have eyes, so it’s a protein.
What about carrots? They don’t have eyes so they aren’t a protein.
If that’s not working for you, then just read below.
This list is quite simple.
Just remember that there are 20+ types of meat, 20+ types of fish and several different types of eggs. So, you can eat more protein and not get too bored.
Can I Eat Too Much?
Lastly, is eating lots of protein really that good for you?
Remember: over eating anything is rarely good for you.
What’s important is to figure out how much a day you need/ should be eating and try to get to that figure.
Also, variety is the spice of life, so if you’re going to start eating more protein then try adding different seasonings to it. This will mix up the flavours and stop the boredom.