Wellness, Jackie’s Way: How much of what?

How much protein should I be eating? This is a very common question that I’m asked by my clients as it relates to both weight loss and exercise.

There are many different opinions on how much protein we actually need. Of the three macronutrients: fat, protein and carbohydrates, it was typically recommended to consume 30 percent or less fat, 45-50 percent carbohydrates and 25 percent protein. But then along came the Atkins diet and the low carbs fad or worse yet, no carbs, and the need for increased protein consumption moved to the forefront. Typically, these types of diets produced quick weight loss but failed to sustain it.

In the fitness world, increased protein was always the staple for building muscle and supporting your workouts. More protein powder shakes please.

But what if I’m just trying to lose weight? How much protein should I consume? This is a very valid question. Just as anything that’s eaten in greater quantity than the body uses or burns off gets stored as fat, so does protein. Too much protein on board goes into the storage tank, i.e., usually the abdominal midsection, for later use.

The Dietary Recommended Intake is .8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight or .360 grams per pound. This amounts to 56 grams per day for the average sedentary male and 46g/day for the average sedentary female.

But we also know that activity levels, age, muscle mass and physical goals determine the “right” amount of protein for any one person. So after taking into consideration the on-going aging process and how it impacts muscle mass and our personal goals, such as weight loss, a protein intake of 30 percent of calories seems to be optimal. A quick formula to determine 30 percent of calories is to multiply your calorie intake by .075.

With regards to weight loss, protein boosts the metabolic rate and curbs the appetite by increased feelings of fullness. This results in greater control over late-night snacking and an overall decreased intake of daily calorie consumption.

With regards to the fitness room, if you are trying to build muscle and practice a twice-weekly strength training regimen using heavy weights, the formula used is 1g of protein per pound of body weight using your ideal weight.

But there are other reasons that affect one’s need for protein intake. For example, significant problems with the elderly are osteoporosis and sarcopenia — reduction in muscle mass. We are all aging. Staying physically active, including some strength training, and eating enough protein, can help you gain muscle and strength so that by the time you reach the “elderly” category, you are reasonably well equipped to keep up with the grand kids and maintain an independent quality of life. In this circumstance a protein intake of 0.5-0.6g per pound of lean body mass (your ideal weight) should be enough to maintain current muscle mass and support an active lifestyle.

Here are your best sources of quality protein: lean meats, fish, eggs, low-fat dairy products — cottage cheese, yogurt, milk — quinoa, legumes and nuts, nut butters (peanut and almond) and edamame. Aim to include some combination of these foods on a daily basis using the 30 percent of calories guideline, and you should be satisfying your protein requirements.

Recipe of the month: Chick Pea Salad

One of my favorite protein power lunches

2-14 oz. cans chickpeas
6 scallions, chopped
2 med tomatoes, chopped
1 small red onion, finely chopped
12 black olives, halved
1 tbs. capers
2 tbs. fresh parsley, chopped
4 hard-boiled eggs cut into quarters

5 tbs. olive oil
3 tbs. wine vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
Serves 4-6

Rinse chick peas and drain. Mix the rest of vegetables with olives, capers and parsley. Mix the dressing. Toss salad with the mixed herbs. Pour dressing over salad and mix well. Just before serving, place egg quarters on top.

The Italian Cooking Encyclopedia by Capalbo, Whiteman, Wright & Boggiano.

Eat Well and Be Fit.

** The opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the ownership or management of Chadds Ford Live. We welcome opposing viewpoints. Readers may comment in the comments section or they may submit a Letter to the Editor to: editor@chaddsfordlive.com


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About Jackie Tate

Jackie Tate has been working in the health and fitness industry for 25 years. She has a master’s of science degree in health education and a bachelor’s of science degree in nutrition, both from Penn State. Early in her career she was recruited by Johnson & Johnson to work in their diabetes division during which time she earned her diabetes educator certification. In 2009, she developed a health and wellness consulting business. Tate’s Wellness Company enables her to work with individuals to create personalized dietary plans using a one-on-one consultation approach. She conducts personal training sessions and leads fitness classes at Way Martial Arts in West Chester, Darlington Arts in Garnet Valley, and the Concord Country Club in Concord Township. Jackie is a certified fitness trainer, Silver Sneakers and zumba Instructor. Additionally, she teaches nutrition to students attending the Academy of International Ballet in Glen Mills. Lamb McErlane, PC is one of Jackie’s corporate clients where she delivers nutritious Lunch N Learn sessions for employees as part of their on-going commitment to wellness. Jackie has a passion for inspiring people to lead healthier lifestyles through optimal nutrition and fitness. Tate4foodandfitness.com Tate4foodandfitness@verizon.net



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