Thursday, June 25, 2009

Stop With the Protein Shakes!

O.K. enough with the F#&*!-? protein shakes.

I would love to know — and will conduct a survey shortly — if people know why they are including protein shakes in their fitness regime. I am willing to bet most people don't.

The answer I am expecting to hear from shakers is because they think it helps build muscle.

If you are one of the people who would give me that answer, you don't need to be taking a protein shake.Italic
Here is the deal: some people can metabolize only 30-40 grams of protein daily (without aid, meaning "such as drinking gallons of water to flush the excess protein out of the kidneys"). Consuming more than that amount taxes the kidneys to an unhealthy level.

General RDA is 0.8mg per kilogram of ideal body weight per day. To figure this out, take your ideal body weight and divide by 2.2 then multiply by 0.8.

For example, my formula would be:
190 / 2.2 = 86
86 x 0.8= 69

For my ideal body weight, I should consume no more than 69 grams of protein per day.

Way back in the day (pre-protein shake availability), weightlifters were eating cottage cheese and beef to meet their protein needs.

Beef has all essential amino acids, plus nine essential vitamins and minerals. According to the May issue of Golf Digest, a recent study found that consuming four ounces of lean beef "can actually stimulate muscle protein synthesis by 50 percent in the young and elderly." Most cuts of beef have 7 grams of protein per ounce. So a quarter-pound lowfat patty has approximately 28 grams of protein — not too shabby.

Are you ready for the biggie? Check out Associated Content's article on cottage cheese.

According to this site, one serving of cottage cheese has 28 grams of protein, along with a good percentage of omega 3 fatty acids and only 9 mg of cholesterol. The last protein shake I looked at had 156 mg of cholesterol. I know shakes are convenient, but so is a container of cottage cheese.

I am not saying protein shakes don't have their place, but we don't need to live on them, either.
There are better choices out there. Read the labels carefully to see what else you are getting along with your protein.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Importance of Food Diaries

Many of you are going to say, "Food diary! Ach pooey!"

Don't dis the food diary just yet — this is a great tool for those of us having a tough time losing weight.

A food diary serve a couple of purposes.

First, it helps us see exactly what we eat. How many pieces of chocolate do we steal from our co-worker's candy dish? When you're honest and count every soda, every peanut butter cup, every cup of coffee, you can determine how to (possibly) cut calories painlessly.

Secondly, it helps determine if you're calorie-heavy later in the day, when you should lighten up on what you eat. Dinner should not be the heaviest meal of the day, and yet is often is — we're meeting friends, we have time to try that new restaurant after work, we haven't eaten well or even eaten at all during a busy day.

My usual recommendation to my clients is to keep a food diary for a week without changing any of their eating patterns. At the end of the week, my clients and I sit down together and review their intake of groceries for that week. Often, that's the eye-opener that prompts them to think about what they're putting in their mouths.

No matter how healthy you think you're eating, you can fine-tune your diet to eliminate "throw away" calories, like that latte or the handful of chocolate. If you're mindful of what you're consuming, determine whether you want to spend that 100 calories on the slice of cheese for your burger or 300 calories on salad dressing, or if you want a low-fat option. You can pace out your meals so you're maintaining an even caloric intake during the day.

Remember, 300 calories a day will earn you an additional pound every 12 days, or three pounds a month. Write it down — and think about what you're doing, instead of just doing it, so you'll be more aware in the future.