Protein powders can provide an excellent source of protein in our diets. If you are a conscious eater attempting to balance healthy carbs, proteins and fats at each meal, you are probably aware that finding lean sources of protein can sometimes be challenging. This is especially true if you are a vegan, a vegetarian or a pesco-vegetarian (consume fish, eggs and dairy).
Protein is essential for immunity, for maintaining healthy body composition, for blood sugar balance, for tissue healing and repair, for muscle growth and for the production of hormones, chemical messengers and digestive enzymes in the body.
Calculating Your Protein Intake – You have to consider Your Current Movements and Muscle Mass
Yesterday I had a patient call in concerned about kidney function and protein intake on my new Hormone Diet – Ketosis Plan. So far she has lost 25 pounds of fat since October 2018, her blood sugars have come down dramatically, her blood pressure normalized. She feels great and is never hungry and has no cravings!
She’s off to Mexico Monday and I could confidently reassure her that she was not eating excessive protein.
Your protein intake must be personalized. I determine each patients amount by measuring: their weight, their lean body mass and by using the number on my Medical Grade Bio-impedance Machine that tells me if they have enough muscle for their frame.
Protein intake must also be calculated while considering the amount of activity a person does and the type of activity. It is safe to use 1.6 g per kg of body weight per day for someone who doesn’t strength train and who simply needs to maintain the muscle they have. This is the minimum intake to prevent muscle loss – for most adults of all ages (though with concerns of malabsorption and digestive issues – more may be needed and to be combined with an enzyme formula like clear digest, which unlike most digestive enzyme formulas on the market, contains stomach acid as well as pancreatic enzymes).
If you need to gain muscle and/or strength train you should aim for 2.0 to 2.2 grams per kg of body weight of protein per day. Finally, I eased her concerns with this study:
Dietary protein and renal function in animal models
Although there is limited research regarding the long-term effects of high protein intakes on renal function in humans, animal models have provided insight into this quandary. Mammals fed acute and chronic high protein diets exhibit increases in GFR and renal blood flow. These changes, which are comparable to those observed in humans, led to the hypothesis that high protein intakes are associated with progressive glomerulosclerosis in the rat. Recently, Lacroix et al. studied the effects of a diet containing 50% protein on renal function in Wistar rats and noted no abnormalities in renal function or pathology. Collins et al. also reported no adverse effects of long-term consumption.
Protein-Rich Foods Protein
5 oz steak, cooked 35
5 oz roasted chicken 43
5 oz tuna 43
1 egg 6
1/2 cup edamame 15
2 slices of cheese (low-fat is best) 14
1 cup tempeh 31
1 cup cooked broccoli 5
1 cup beans (legumes) 15
*Individuals with kidney disease should consult their physician for proper protein requirements.
Signs of Protein Deficiency
I often see vegetarians or vegans in my office displaying symptoms of insufficient protein because they have not made a conscious effort to properly combine proteins or simply have not consumed enough protein to meet their daily requirements. Signs of insufficient protein include poor wound healing, dry skin, hair loss, gas and bloating, poor digestion, frequent colds and flu’s, prolonged soreness after exercise, mood swings, insomnia and depression.
Without protein, your body cannot properly make collagen to heal the skin; serotonin, dopamine and melatonin to boost mood and improve sleep, growth hormone for repair of body tissues and to slow down aging, digestive enzymes to prevent bloating and indigestion and antibodies to prevent infection.
Biggest effect – metabolic slowdown, frailty, and increased risk of health injury from falls and injuries.
Since you require a protein with every meal and snack, finding readily available sources can be challenging. Protein powders are a useful option and I find it immensely beneficial for fat loss, muscle strength, exercise recovery and energy and stress hormone balance as it allows me to keep to an eating schedule. You can choose whey, pea, pumpkin, hemp or rice protein powder options, while I recommend avoiding fermented soy or egg protein powder since if you have these foods, go for them in solid form.
Whey is fantastic for fat loss, building muscle and boosting our fat-burning hormones. It is also rich in the antioxidant glutathione, aids immunity and supports the removal of harmful heavy metals. Whey protein isolate has been found to increase metabolic rate, aid liver cell function, reduce the amount of fat stored in liver cells (otherwise called fatty liver disease) and improve biomarkers for type 2 diabetes, including improved blood sugars and insulin sensitivity.
According to a study published in the September 2010 British Journal of Nutrition, wonderful whey protein isolate renders a powerful effect on body composition, lipids, insulin and glucose in overweight and obese individuals. Researchers found that subjects using a whey isolate (versus a mixed or casein protein powder) experienced a significant decrease in total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol over 12 weeks. Fasting insulin levels were also significantly decreased in the whey group compared to their counterparts. Another April 2010 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that when whey protein is ingested before a meal, it reduces the overall food intake as well as pre and post meal satiety. This is a big reason why I tend to recommend whey protein in your mid-morning and mid-afternoon snacks. This little secret will reduce your appetite at lunch and dinner. Not only this, it also lowers post-meal glucose and insulin response.
Your whey protein smoothie is not only quick, easy and tasty and also an important part of your insulin sensitivity plan. Available in powder form, whey protein isolate is simple to mix into smoothies and is easily absorbed by the body. Just be sure to choose a product free of artificial sweeteners and sugar. I have spent a lot of time researching and tasting whey proteins and feel confident that the ones we sell at Clear Medicine are the best. For a list click here.
Rice or bean protein powders are a good choice for individuals with intolerance or sensitivity to dairy (whey protein is made from dairy) or to soy. I find the most common complaint with these products is the taste as they are grittier than whey protein.
Powders can be added to smoothies, yogurt, baked goods and even oatmeal. Always buy protein powders that are free of sugars and artificial sweeteners such as aspartame. For a list of vegan powders, we sell at Clear Medicine click here.
Importance of Protein and Amino Acids in Combination with Intermittent Fasting:
Every single patient I have seen in my office over the past year that has self-adopted intermittent fasting all experience adrenal fatigue (due to the stress of not eating) and lose muscle. I determine both of these changes by my physical assessment and blood testing. You can avoid these negative effects by using this fat free-carb protein protein and amino acid-rich drink that I have been using 4 to 6 days a week for over a year.
Go to your local health food store, or purchase them here, these simple items to mix in a shaker cup with as much waterand ice as you prefer (I prefer less water!) and begin your day by drinking these three ingredients:
- Creatine: Did you know this is one of the only supplements proven to increase energy, muscle growth/recovery, and brain power? Yes, its’ true – it is not just for muscle-bound body builders anymore because almost everyone can take it for mental function, energy, and preserving muscle mass. It is also excellent for concussion victims. Take 5 grams – about 1 tsp. per day and make sure its pure and simple creatine with no added sugars or caffeine. My mixture is clean with some extra benefits, such as glutamine and amino acids that aid in muscle recovery, and it is called Clear Recovery.
- Marine Collagen(hydrolyzed and with Vitamin C): As we age, our body’s ability to produce new collagen declines and existing collagen begins to break down. The loss of collagen effects skin, joints, and bones. The decreased collagen may also lead to increased digestive problems, weakened immune system, and increased risk of chronic illness. A recent article in the Globe and Mail turned me on to collagen’s benefits for tendons, bones, ligaments, and repair after exercise as the scientists gave 15 grams to the athletes (so you will need to take about one and a half tablespoons). The researchers saw great improvements in the 15-gram dose. By the way, 5 – 10 grams didn’t do the trick – it must be 15g or more. Since then I have gone on to find these additional benefits of marine collagen: it builds bone strength, boosts thyroid, improves skin, hair, and nails – and even wrinkles, stabilizes blood sugar, boost the mood hormone and brain function, reduces inflammation, heals inflammation and immunity within the gut and helps with joint pain.
- Whey Protein: For immunity, muscle, metabolic, antioxidant and strength benefits toss 1 to 2 scoops (at least 20 to 30 grams for women; and 30 to 40 grams for most men) in your cup. I prefer vanilla flavour because it can mix easily with the creatine and collagen. If you can’t take whey protein, pea or hemp protein can work too.
Shake, drink and devour all these wonderful metabolic, energy, and body benefits from the one simple concoction of these three supplements. I can tell you something else – I am never ever sore from my intense workouts and I feel energized and focused all morning. Best to shake and not to blend as these are delicate proteins.
Take my 3-month breakfast challenge for increased energy and lots of other amazing reasons – read more about the challenge here.