Are You Getting Too Much Protein?

Micah Dorfner wrote . . . . . .

Judging by all the protein bars, shakes and powders out there, you get the impression you need more protein. There are claims it curbs appetite, helps with weight loss and builds muscle. But what’s the real story?

“Contrary to all the hype that everyone needs more protein, most Americans get twice as much as they need,” says Kristi Wempen, a Mayo Clinic Health System registered dietitian nutritionist. “This is especially true for males 14-70 years of age, who the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans advise to decrease meat, poultry and egg consumption. Even athletes are often getting more protein than they need, without supplements, because their calorie requirements are higher. And with more food comes more protein.”

True or false: Big steak equals bigger muscles

Although adequate protein throughout the day is necessary, extra strength training is what leads to muscle growth ─ not extra protein intake. You can’t build muscle without the exercise to go with it.

“The body can’t store protein, so once needs are met, any extra is used for energy or stored as fat,” adds Wempen. “Excess calories from any source will be stored as fat in the body.”

Wempen explains extra protein intake also can lead to elevated blood lipids and heart disease, because many high-protein foods are high in total fat and saturated fat. Extra protein intake, which can tax the kidneys, poses an additional risk to individuals predisposed to kidney disease.

How much protein do you need?

Anywhere from 10 to 35 percent of your calories should come from protein. So, if your needs are 2,000 calories, that’s 200-700 calories from protein (50-175 grams). The recommended dietary allowance to prevent deficiency for an average sedentary adult is 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight. For example, a person who weighs 75 kilograms (165 pounds) should consume 60 grams of protein per day.

“Once you hit 40-50 years old, sarcopenia starts to set in, which means you start losing muscle mass as you age,” says Wempen. “To help prevent this and to maintain independence and quality of life, your protein needs increase to about 1 gram per kilogram of body weight.”

People who exercise regularly also have higher needs, about 1.1-1.5 grams per kilogram. People who lift weights regularly or are training for a running or cycling event need 1.2-1.7 grams per kilogram.Excessive protein intake would be more than 2 grams per kilogram of body weight each day.

“If you are overweight, your weight is adjusted before calculating your protein needs in order to avoid overestimating,” says Wempen. “You can see a dietitian to help develop a personalized plan.”

Where does protein come from?

Wempen says the healthiest protein options are plant sources, such as:

  • Soy, nuts, seeds, beans and lentils
  • Lean meats, such as skinless, white-meat chicken or turkey, and lean cuts of beef or pork
  • A variety of fish
  • Egg whites
  • Low-fat dairy

“Meet your dietary protein needs with these whole foods as opposed to supplements,” she says. “Supplements are no more effective than food as long as energy intake is adequate for building lean mass. Manufactured foods don’t contain everything you need from food, nor do manufacturers know everything that should be in food. There may be compounds in real foods that we haven’t even discovered yet that may be beneficial for the body. So always be careful of foods created in a lab.”

When is the best time to consume protein?

Wempen recommends that you spread out protein consumption evenly throughout the day. On average, she says, people tend to get most of their protein during evening meals and the least at breakfast. Certain recent studies show moving some protein from supper to breakfast can help with weight management by decreasing hunger and cravings throughout the day. Of course, more research is needed before these claims can be verified.

General recommendations are to consume 15-25 grams of protein at meals and in the early recovery phase (anabolic window) — 45 minutes to one hour after a workout. Studies show higher intakes (more than 40 grams) are no more beneficial than the recommended 15-25 grams at one time. Don’t waste your money on excessive amounts.

What if I do want to use a protein supplement?

If you want to use a protein supplement, Wempen advises to look for:

  • About 200 or less calories
  • 2 grams or less of saturated fat
  • No trans fat or partially hydrogenated oils
  • 5 grams of sugar or less

What does 15-25 grams of protein in whole foods looks like?

Eating a banana, Greek yogurt and a hardboiled egg will get you 19 grams of protein on average. A three-ounce chicken breast with a half cup rice and half cup vegetables amounts to 25 grams of protein. The recommended 15-25 grams per meal or post-workout snack is attainable. Iif these were meals, you would want to balance them out by including all food groups: protein, grain, dairy, fruit and vegetables. Most people ─ even athletes ─ can reach their protein needs by including a serving of dairy at each meal and a piece of meat the size of a deck of cards at lunch and supper.

“Protein should be an accompaniment to fruits, vegetables and whole grains. It should not be the entire meal,” says Wempen.

Source: Mayo Clinic

Opinion: Fat-Free Is Out. Gluten-Free Is In. What to Look For on the Label

Deena Shanker wrote . . . . .

For years, health advocates have urged the public to read the ingredients and ignore the marketing. For years, consumers have ignored the health advocates.

But lo! It looks as if they’re finally listening.

Food purchases are less driven these days by what’s written on the front of the box than what’s listed as ingredients, said Andrew Mandzy, director of strategic insights at Nielsen. Some consumers aren’t even reading so much as they are counting: About 61 percent said that the shorter the ingredients’ list, the healthier the product. Many are looking beyond the boxes themselves. In 2014, 48 percent of consumers went online for health information. In 2016, 68 percent did. Use of technology such as calorie-tracking apps is also up, Mandzy said.

“There’s a shift in how people are thinking about ‘better for you,'” he said. “People are looking for back-to-basics, simpler ingredients.”

Health professionals are happy to see the shift. “The overall trend of a more-educated consumer is excellent,” said Sharon Allison-Ottey, doctor, health educator, and author of Is That Fried Chicken Worth It? “Just being aware of what you’re eating leads you to eating less.”

Front-of-package claims such as “low-fat” and “excellent source of vitamin C” are starting to lose their magical powers, Nielsen data show. Sales of items marked for their lower fat content are down 1.2 percent in dollar value over the past five years. For “fat-free,” sales are down 2.7 percent. Items marked for their “vitamins and minerals” have seen a 0.8 percent decline in that period.

One claim, at least, seems to still work: “natural,” an essentially unregulated and therefore, meaningless term. So-called natural foods have included chicken nuggets, Cheetos, and Gatorade. Sales for products bearing the label are up 4.2 percent.

But Nielsen also created a separate category with its own, narrower criteria. For that category, the market researchers took a closer look at ingredients, store placement (for example, is it in the “Natural” aisle?), and the rest of the brand. Anything USDA-certified organic, for example, was in, and anything with genetically modified organisms or artificial or synthetic ingredients was out. The growth in that narrower category was nearly triple the growth in the broader one, at 11.2 percent. 1

As consumers pay closer attention to ingredients, they may be getting a little too zealous, avoiding some that are largely harmless. Sales of products blaring that they are gluten-free are up 11.8 percent over the past five years, and soy-free sales are up 29.8 percent. But health professionals don’t recommend that average Americans make a point of cutting out either of these ingredients.

Unless you are diagnosed with celiac disease or gluten intolerance, “‘gluten-free’ has nothing to do with the actual health benefits of the food,” Allison-Ottey said. While she hopes that attention to gluten translates into more-conscious eating overall, that’s not guaranteed. “Can a manufacturer take advantage of a consumer by slapping ‘gluten-free’ on a food that never had it? Yes,” she said.

As for soy, unless you have breast cancer, in which case soy’s estrogen content is a concern, you don’t need to avoid it, Allison-Ottey said. “In an average diet, you wouldn’t have to worry about too much soy,” she said. “You’re not going to over-indulge.”

Food manufacturers are giving customers what they want. “The trend is towards products that have more ‘free from’ labels on them than a NASCAR driver has auto parts endorsements on his jacket,” a Packaged Facts market research report from April said. Gluten-free and soy-free are just the beginning. No artificial ingredients, no trans fats, no high-fructose corn syrup, and no GMOs are also popular.

Of course, not all of it is hype. Artificial trans fats are so unhealthy that the Food and Drug Administration is requiring manufacturers to remove partially hydrogenated oils, the main source of them, from foods by June 2018. High-fructose corn syrup, like all sugar, can contribute to weight gain, diabetes, and other chronic diseases.

Among the very healthiest foods are those that have no labels at all: fresh fruits and vegetables. Consumers seem to be learning this lesson, too. Growth in sales of items from the perimeter of the supermarket is outpacing those from the center of the store, Mandzy said.

“The fresher the product, typically, the better the product,” Allison-Ottey said. “As close to the ground as you can get.”

Source: Bloomberg

For the Seventh Time in a Row, Nutrition Experts Named the DASH Diet No. 1 Choice for Your Overall Health

Jessica Orwig and Lydia Ramsey wrote . . . . . .

The way we think about diets is undergoing an important shift.

We thinking less about diets as being for rapid weight loss and more about for creating lifestyle changes that stick.

To help people sift through the noise and find science-backed plans that work for years rather than weeks, US News & World Report ranked 38 eating plans.

The rankings considered different criteria including how easy the diet is to follow, its effects on weight loss — both in the short and long term — how nutritional and safe the diet is, and how well it helps prevent diabetes and heart disease.

DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, or high blood pressure. While the diet focuses on a meal plan that helps lower or prevent high blood pressure, it is a diet for everyone.

In fact, the US Department of Agriculture considers it one of the best examples of a healthy eating pattern.

“The DASH diet is really a safe plan for everyone,” Angela Haupt, assistant managing editor of health at US News & World Report, told Business Insider in 2016. “There’s nothing exciting about it, and that’s what makes it a good plan. It’s not some fad diet making outlandish claims that you can’t rely on.”

And for people with abnormally high blood pressure, the DASH diet may, over time, help drop that blood pressure by as many as eight to 14 points.

How to DASH your diet

The distinguishing factor of the DASH diet is that it limits how much sodium you eat.

Since many frozen and prepackaged foods contain large amounts of salt, DASH dieters stick to fresh produce and lean proteins like fish and poultry.

The diet also includes a lot of whole grains, low-fat dairy products, and legumes.

The typical day on a 2,000-calorie DASH diet looks like this:

  • No more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium, eventually working down to no more than 1,500 milligrams. (For reference, a single slice of pizza contains about 640 milligrams of sodium.)
  • 6-8 servings of grains
  • 4-5 servings each of veggies and fruits
  • 2-3 servings of fat-free or low-fat dairy. (Plain dairy products are much lower in sugar than flavored.)
  • 6 or fewer servings (equal to about one ounce) of lean meat, poultry, and fish
  • 4-5 servings (per week) of nuts, seeds, and legumes
  • 2-3 servings of fats and oils
  • No more than 1-2 alcoholic drinks. (A serving is equal to 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1 1/2 ounces of liquor.)
  • 5 or fewer servings (per week) of sweets

For example, you could have an omelet with veggies and reduced-fat cheese for breakfast, minestrone soup for lunch, low-fat yogurt as a snack, and spaghetti squash with meat sauce for dinner.

With all the fiber-packed fruits and veggies in the DASH diet, you won’t go hungry.

Source: Business Insider

Read more:

Best Diets . . . . .

Calculating Your Daily Protein Requirements

If You Don’t Work Out

If you’re a sedentary adult—that is, you don’t exercise or get much activity — the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for protein is 0.36 g per pound of body weight per day.

To calculate your protein requirement, multiply your weight in pounds by 0.36 g.

Here’s how to figure that requirement if you weigh 150 lb:

0.36 g of protein per pound of body weight x 150 lb = 54 g of protein a day.

If You Strength-Train

You do need extra protein when you’re working out, and the requirements differ slightly, depending on how you exercise.

If you strength-train regularly (any I hope you do), you need 0.7 g of protein per pound of body weight a day.

Using the preceding example again:

0.7 g of protein per pound of body weight x 150 lb = 105 g of protein a day.

If You Do Aerobics

If you do aerobics only, your requirement is lower — 0.5 g of protein per pound of body weight:

0.5 g of protein per pound of body weight x 150 lb. = 75 g of protein a day.

If You’re an Endurance Athlete or a Cross Trainer

Those of you who perform hard endurance exercise and cross-train with intense strength training may need as much as 0.9 g of protein per pound of body weight.

Here’s the math:

0.9 g of protein per pound of body weight x 150 lb = 135 g of protein a day.

Excess Amount of Protein

This brings up another key point about protein: An excess in the system can be bad news.

When protein molecules are disassembled during metabolism, the nitrogen portion is snipped off. Extra nitrogen floating around in the body is a poison that has to be detoxified.

In the process, an intermediary toxin is created — ammonia. Eventually ammonia is turned into harmless urea and excreted. A system overloaded in this manner can endanger the kidneys in people susceptible to kidney problems.

Also, a diet too high in protein may cause kidney cancer, according to research from the National Cancer Institute. Scientists there analyzed the diets of 690 kidney cancer patients and found that people whose diets included large amounts of meat, eggs, milk, cheese, and cereals were 90 percent more likely to get kidney tumors than those who ate modest amounts of protein.

Source: High Performance Nutrition

See large image . . . . .

Is Hydroponic Food as Healthy as Traditional Soil Grown Food?

Rachel Tinker-Kulberg, PhD wrote . . . . . .

The USDA estimates that 23 million people have inadequate access to healthy and affordable food and as a result food-related illnesses such as Type 2 diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and obesity are currently on the rise in this country.

Organically soil grown produce is gaining popularity because consumers are carefully scrutinizing what they are putting into their bodies and want to buy food that is not treated with hazardous chemicals. Organic certification of produce grown hydroponically, a form of agriculture where plants are grown in water and a fertilizer solution (i.e. soil-less), has been mostly prohibited due to the chemically-synthesized nature of the nutrient solutions (inorganic mineral salts) and because the growing substrates are usually not sustainable (i.e. like rockwool). Frustrated because they believe this has no bearing on the quality or safety of their produce, hydroponic growers are now experimenting with “organic” nutrient mix solutions to seek certification but many are running into problems since these substances don’t dissolve easily and must be broken down through microbial action which is not possible in a standard “sterile” hydroponic set-up.

Putting aside the bureaucratic definitions of the “organic” labeling, another growing concern among consumers is whether hydroponic produce is as healthy as produce grown organically in the soil.

By providing a complete diet of minerals required for plant growth via chemical fertilizers, plants grown hydroponically have been shown to achieve higher growth rates and yields. Some hydroponic proponents assume these ideal growing conditions must produce healthier plants, after all a complete diet of plant minerals should translate into higher “nutritional” plant content – right? The truth is that plant physiology is not that simple and scientists and educators in the field of agriculture need to address critical questions related to nutritional value of plants since mass food production trends using soil-less hydroponic systems are on the rise in order to meet the demand of rising populations and limited availability of arable land.

The experimental question of whether hydroponic crops raised on a perfect mix of macro- and micro-nutrients result in a more nutritional rich product compared to soil-grown produce is hard to address experimentally since many hydroponic growers use different nutrient formulas depending on the crop being grown and their environmental parameters can also vary.

Soil farmers experience these same type of variations with respect to soil health and fluctuations in environmental conditions. For example, water quality and variations in temperature and humidity can place stress on crops potentially changing their biochemical make-up regardless of the growing method being used. Because of these variations, studies to date comparing the nutritional content of produce grown hydroponically to soil-grown have had mixed results- with some studies showing no difference between the two methods, while others showing that soil-less systems fared either better or worse than soil grown controls in the nutrients levels being tested. As you can imagine experimental design and conditions varied widely between these studies and depending on how they were designed affected the outcome and the significance of the findings.

For example, one recent study by Treftz, 2015 compared the difference in nutritional quality in strawberries and raspberries grown in soil and soil-less conditions. The hydroponic nutrient solution used was a general commercial hydroponics standard (Flora series) and the soil used was a mixture of Nevada topsoil and Miracle-Gro potting soil (1:1 mixture) that was re-fertilized with Miracle Grow fertilizer every six weeks. Miracle grow is a synthetic fertilizer and therefore cannot serve as an organic soil amendment control, in fact some growers believe that it has the potential to kill beneficial microorganisms in the soil due to its high ammonia and excess mineral salt content. Healthy soil containing beneficial soil microorganisms allow plants to maintain optimal nutrient content in the face of environmental stresses through their interactions with root-based transport systems. Therefore the proper experimental design where the health of soil microbes is considered is crucial to evaluate differences between soil-less and soil-based growing systems.

Nevertheless, the results from this study showed that the “healthy” anti-oxidant compounds (e.g. Vitamin C, tocopherol and total polyphenolic compounds) were significantly higher in hydroponically grown strawberries compared to the soil-grown but the opposite was true for raspberries! Interestingly, earlier studies by Premuzic 1998 showed that tomato fruit grown in healthy organic soil (100% or 50% vermicompost) contained more Vitamin C than the same fruit grown hydroponically while other studies by Buchanan, 2013 showed that hydroponically grown lettuce contained more Vitamin C than soil-grown varieties. In this latter study, no reference was made in the exact type of soil that was used other than remarking that it was a “noncommercial soil enriched by natural composed material”. Interestingly, in many of these peer-reviewed comparison studies, the levels of sugar (fructose & glucose) were higher in the soil grown fruit which might explain why hydroponic produce is sometimes characterized as “less tasty” than soil-grown.

It seems that no real “broad” conclusions can be drawn from the experimental results from these and other past comparison studies.

For these experiments to be truly valuable, future researchers need to be more careful with their “soil grown” controls so that they actually mimic standard organic farming practices which maintain the integrity and health of the soil. This is no easy task, since the standard practice of adding organic matter to the soil and the conversion of this matter into essential nutrients by microbes and worms is usually liberated gradually over time into the soil. Perhaps by collaborating with well-established growers in both these farming industries and taking random product samplings from them and various marketplaces, researchers can help refine their scientific studies.

Lastly, there is a growing body of evidence that plants have evolved to up-regulate healthy anti-oxidant compounds during stressful conditions to help them survive environmental insults.

It stands to reason that if hydroponics operations provide “perfect” conditions for plants by giving them everything they need to grow, perhaps these anti-oxidant compounds, and others we have yet to characterized, will be induced at a lower levels (or not at all) compared to plants grown in “less than ideal” conditions of soil farming where stressful environmental conditions are inevitable? One classic example of this phenomenon is when tomatoes are put under osmotic or salt stress, the beneficial phytochemical called lycopene was shown to increase significantly. In fact, closed-loop water recirculation systems like hydroponics and aquaponics (the coupling of fish production with vegetable production) may in fact offer an advantage over soil-based growing since the water chemistry of both these systems can be manipulated to boost natural plant bioactives for health benefits. Growing these types of “superfoods” are becoming the focus of hydroponic researchers since they not only offer a food product with high nutritional value, but also have the potential of demanding a higher market price for the grower.

As we move toward the high-tech world of food production, we need to make sure we have performed the proper scientific research to ensure that these advancements are also protecting the health and nutritional content of our food as well as our environment.

Future nutritional research evaluating eco-friendly sustainable growing methods like aquaponics and Integrated agri-aquaculture systems (IAAS) is also critical in order to optimize production of nutrient-rich field crops as well as aquatic species (fish & shrimp) while also protecting our environment since the health and access of food – as an outcome of food security – is after all also vulnerable to environmental degradation.

Source: Abundance North Carolina

Read more:

Nutritional quality of hydroponics vs. soil grown veggies and fruit . . . . .