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Food First: Eat Protein with Every Meal

Protein intake is one of the most commonly deficient areas of the average person’s diet. Protein is essential for building muscle and all other tissues in the body, making it of obvious importance for proper recovery for athletes. It is also necessary for maintaining a strong immune system and for optimal hormone and neurotransmitter production. Protein also stabilizes blood sugar levels, which helps to maintain consistent energy levels, control appetite and reduce potential for body fat storage.

The amount of protein required on a daily basis is still an area of great debate. For years, the recommended daily allowance (RDA) has been 0.8 grams per kilogram of bodyweight per day. Many successful athletes and nutrition experts alike have long considered the RDA to be too low. Recent studies by Canadian scientists using a new, more precise measuring technique have determined that the RDA is in fact too low and should be 1.2 grams per kilogram per day for sedentary people1. Athletes require more. I normally recommend a minimum of 1 gram per pound (2.2 grams per kilogram) for the average person and up to 1.5 grams or even 2 grams per pound (3.3 to 4.4 grams per kilogram) for athletes depending upon the individual’s goals, body type and training levels. These amounts will equate to approximately 40%-50% of total calories for most people.

When planning your 5-6 meals per day, always start with protein. You should spread your daily protein requirement evenly over each meal. As an example, a 150 pound individual wanting to achieve 1 gram per pound of bodyweight over 6 meals requires an average of 25 grams of protein per meal.

Best Sources:

Egg whites

Chicken breast (or extra-lean ground)

Turkey breast (or extra-lean ground)

Red meat – beef (sirloin, round, flank steak or extra-lean ground), buffalo, ostrich

Fish (tuna, salmon, tilapia, orange roughy, haddock, cod, sole, trout, perch, halibut, shrimp)

Protein powder (whey protein isolate)

Low-fat cottage cheese

Kevin Ferrell, CA, CFT

Professional Health and Wellness Coach

Team Canada Bodybuilder

Co-founder, CRE8iON Fitness & Wellness Inc.

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