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How Much Protein Do You Need?

Updated: Jul 27, 2023


This series on protein is meant to educate you on what protein is, what it does for your body, and why you should eat more of it. Let me start out by saying that the majority of Americans are NOT eating the right amount of protein. This is a major contributing factor to the rise of metabolic disease and obesity in this country. Research studies show that we will overeat carbs and fat in order to meet our body's protein needs. So, you will eat a lot more calories sitting down with a bag of chips than a chicken breast. Have you ever noticed that processed food is very low in protein but very high in carbs in fat? Carbs and fat are a very cheap commodity and they taste very good together. So good in fact, they’re addicting.

You will automatically eat less food overall if you eat more food that is higher in protein. If you are trying to lose weight, this is key. How much protein you need depends on your lifestyle, activity level, age, gender, and health markers (blood pressure, triglycerides, A1C). But figuring this out on your own can be a challenge with all of the misinformation on the internet. That’s why having a nutrition coach can be helpful.


We get protein from the plants and animals we eat. Plants make their own food from the soil. Nitrogen is required for building protein, along with a few other necessary elements, and nitrogen comes from good soil. When animals eat grass and plants from nitrogen-dense soil they make branch-chain amino acids. Branch-chain amino acids are what we need to build muscle. This is how we get protein into our bodies. We eat the animals that ate the grass. This is the science behind why you should eat grass-fed meat. Animals were meant to eat grass, plants, and other life in order to grow.


Now you know where we get protein. But do you understand what has contributed most to the obesity epidemic and the rise of metabolic disease in this country? I’ll let you in on a secret that Google doesn’t want you to know. We are eating more processed carbs and fats and less good-quality protein. Americans eat more food out of bags than any generation. We eat more sugar than any generation before us. We were not meant to eat THIS MUCH GARBAGE! Our bodies can only burn so much energy (carbs and fat) at once and when we aren’t burning off this food energy we are storing it as fat. But not just fat on the outside of our body, we store fat on the inside as well. This fat (visceral fat) is the most dangerous. This fat accumulates, over time, from a very poor diet that is high in processed carbohydrates and refined sugars.

We need to start understanding what needs to change and start changing it. It’s for your health and your kids’ health.

Stay tuned for Part 2 by Missy McDowell from Eat Well Nutrition in Noblesville, Indiana, Nutrition coaching near you.

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