All over the internet we see influencers talking about how we’re ‘supposed’ to eat. Sometimes they are even right (follow me on social media! 😃). This month I wanted to provide a little order and clarity out of the tangle of information we find out there. I talk about protein and give some guidance about how to make good choices for yourself. The idea is to give you a simple why and how, so enjoy my bullet points.
Let me know what you think!
- In Wellness, Mary Virginia
What's On My Mind
What is protein?
Proteins are made of amino acids (AA) that bond together to make a long strand, like beads on a necklace. The strand folds in and over itself (think of a balled up string) in a unique 3D structure to make a protein.
There are 20 amino acids total: 9 “essential” AAs must be eaten in food. The rest are “non-essential,” meaning they exist in the body. Some of those can be provided as supplemental nutrients if needed during injury or illness.
What happens when you eat protein in food?
What do proteins in the body do?
Where can I eat protein in food?
How much protein should I eat?
It’s highly individual based on your body and your life and health circumstances. I can calculate the amount that should work for you - let’s talk!
As a general rule, without any other information, we nutrition professionals calculate about 0.8 grams of protein per kg of adult body weight. That amount varies by life stage, lifestyle, and health status. Times of growth (children, pregnancy) or repair (injury, illness, older age) require more, but, again, it varies by individual.
No one wants to do math before eating, Mary Virginia.
Boy, do I hear that. The good news is that including the right amount of protein for a generally healthy body is pretty easy.
Too many details. Just tell me why to do this:
Ok, here is why:
Tip of the Month
Serving Size vs Portion Size
There is often a big misconception about serving sizes as listed on packaged foods, websites, and recipes. Many people think this is the amount they are “supposed” to eat. Serving size is not the same as portion size. Let’s clear this up once and for all!
This is why serving sizes are not rules. They are designed to help us understand whether we are getting enough or more than our body needs of whichever nutrients of interest.
Only portion sizes meet our hunger and satiety levels and fulfill our pleasure in food.
I am Mary Virginia Coffman (I go by “Mary Virginia”), a clinical nutritionist who focuses on mental health, digestive health, metabolic health, and nervous system regulation. My unique combination of clinical interventions, education, and coaching will help you feel well in body, mind, and spirit.