You find many recommendations on how much protein you should eat to lose weight and to build muscle. Mostly they include tons of meat, fish, and dairy. But newer studies seem to show, that it’s not that easy. Maybe most of what you know about proteins is already disproved. The article provides insights and strategies on how to apply the newest scientific findings into your daily life to get the most health and weight loss benefits!
Protein is one of the essential nutrients which means, we can’t live without protein. Our body mainly needs it to build and repair tissues and structures like nerves, hormones, and muscles. Protein supports the storage of vitamins and iron, the transport of oxygen and the function of our immune system.
A great advantage is that you can eat a smaller amount of foods which are rich in proteins and still feel satisfied, compared to foods which are rich in carbohydrates (like noodles, rice, potatoes, sweets). This means you are saving calories on a high-protein diet. This can help to lose excess body fat.
Protein Dilution may cause overweight
But many of our modern foods are „protein-diluted“. They pretend to be rich in protein, but they just contain traces of it. A good example is barbecue flavored chips (crisps): the intensive taste reminds our brain of well-seasoned meat, but there is barely any protein in it. We tend to eat more of these foods until we ate the amount of protein we need. Since the barbecue flavor is accompanied by lots of fats and sugar (and flavor enhancers as well), we consume an incredible number of calories while trying to get our essential protein. Gaining unwanted weight is a negative consequence of a nutrition, rich in processed foods.
There is a way out of this dilemma and it’s not that difficult. By choosing natural, less processed foods with high protein content you will eat less while still reaching your protein requirements.
For instance, better reach for fried chicken breast instead of Chicken McNuggets, choose a steak over a burger patty and natural unflavoured yogurt instead of sugary cream desserts.
How to add more health benefits?
If you want to improve the health benefits of your nutrition, even more, you should consume plant-based protein, yogurt or fish.
Meat, one of the main protein sources, has shown to promote cell-aging and to increase the probability of aging-related diseases like diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and different forms of cancer ! This is the side effect of cell growth which we try to achieve when we want to build muscle tissue. Plant-based proteins don’t have these side effects. Good sources of plant-based protein are legumes chickpeas, beans, soybeans, lentils, broccoli, tofu, and oats.
There is good news
For all of you who don’t plan to go vegetarian here are good news: fish and yogurt are “rehabilitated”, even if they are not from plant origin. If you eat fish, 100 grams of fish 2 times weekly is enough, to provide essential Omega-3 fatty acids.
Avoid fish like shark catfish, which is highly contaminated with mercury as well as fish which grows quite big and old like tuna and shark, swordfish and painted mackerel, because they accumulate toxins like methyl-mercury. Caution is recommended as well when eating sole because it often contains a lot of lead. Recommended are fish like herring, trout, mackerel, salmon, anchovy, and prawns because their mercury contamination is usually low.
Yogurt has proven to be very beneficial for your health as well. The bacteria you find in fermented milk products seem to counteract some of the negative effects of fast-food and help to grow a healthy environment in your gut, which is essential for your health and wellbeing.
5 recommendations for a healthy protein-intake
Here are the 5 most important recommendations to support your health with essential proteins:
- Prefer plant-based protein before meat: e.g. legumes, nuts, leafy greens, and quinoa.
- Eat fish 2x weekly or find another great source of Omega-3 fatty acids (like nuts and flaxseeds).
- Include plain natural yogurt into your diet.
- Avoid fast and convenience food which is pretending to be rich in protein and causing you to overeat.
- Don’t worry about your protein intake if you eat a varied diet with lots of different kinds of less processed foods. We only need about 15% of our calorie intake from protein. Too much protein is promoting cell-aging and aging-related diseases.
Here you find more articles regarding nutrition essentials:
German Reading Recommendation:
BAS KAST (2018): Der Ernährungskompass. Das Fazit aller wissenschaftlichen Studien zum Thema Ernährung. Bertelsmann (Kindle or Paperback)
 Studie an über 131 Tausend Teilnehmern: Mingyang, Song; Teresa T. Fung & Frank B. Hu et al. (2016): Association of Animal and Plant Protein Intake With All-Cause and Cause-Specific Mortality. Abstract verfügbar unter: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamainternalmedicine/fullarticle/2540540