Understanding Proper Protein Consumption
By Bruce Bowen, M.D.There is a lot of misunderstanding about protein, and to a significant degree, the obesity epidemic is directly related to this misunderstanding.
The biggest misunderstanding about protein in the United States is the amount of protein needed for the average adult. In the United States, the average adult over consumes protein, giving us more than we need, causing you to get too many calories, or not enough nutrients. Although excess protein, per se, is not unhealthy, the excess calories consumed in the form of excess protein are unhealthy. As a nation, we are over consuming protein, to the detriment of our health, and to the expansion of our waistlines.
You should eat between one to four ounces of protein for every 100 pounds you weigh. So for example, if you weight 150 pounds, you will want to eat 1.5 to 6 ounces of protein per day. If you weigh 200 pounds, you will want to eat 2 to 8 ounces of protein per day. If you are physically inactive, you will want to consume your protein at the lower end of this range. If you are physically very active, you will want to consume your protein at the higher end of this range. For people in between, adjust accordingly.Avoid fatty proteins or processed meats. Consume healthier sources of protein such as nuts, beans, or soy-based products. Also consider lean protein sources such as free-range chicken and turkey, or fish and shellfish. Eggs and dairy products are acceptable protein sources, as long as they are produced under organic and free-range conditions.
Reduce red meat such as steak, pork, duck, or lamb. When eating animal-based protein, make sure it is organic free range meat. Even the extreme high-protein diets recommend only the organic free-range meats. Your meat should not be factory-farm-raised meat, due to the excessive amounts of hormones, chemicals, antibiotics, and contaminated feed that the factory farm animals are given. It is especially important for your health to eliminate all processed meat such as bacon, baloney, sausage, hot dogs, cold cut meats, etc. Avoid eating meat at fast-food restaurants.
Also, on special occasions such as the big holidays, birthdays, that special ball game, etc., it is alright for you to enjoy the “indulgent” foods for that day. Plan for it, and then go right back to you normal healthy life style patterns the next day. Events in your life may challenge your new healthy eating habits. Expect it, make adjustments, and then get back on track again the next day.