This blog post was inspired by an article in the September issue of Women’s Health (WH) magazine. WH is one of two fitness/health magazines I still read. I used to read at least half a dozen. The reason I don’t read them anymore is because they are often filled with 1. Repeat articles, 2. Misleading information, 3. Contradicting information.
Misleading information and in some cases just wrong information is published all the time. The article in question was called, “The Big Protein Mistake You Are Probably Making” (link below). When I first read the title I thought for sure they were going to be talking about how we as women don’t eat enough protein. Boy was I wrong. After reading this article, the key take away was that I was eating way too much protein, but wait, I am not eating too much protein, well which one is it WH?
Here is the first paragraph from the article:
“Protein is one of the building blocks of a healthy diet, but most of us are taking in way more than recommended. Women in their twenties and thirties are now ingesting an average of more than 75 grams a day—nearly two-thirds higher than the U.S. Department of Agriculture's recommendation of 46 grams.”
By the way if you trust the U.S. government when it comes to healthy eating, big mistake, experts have long been saying their recommendations are out dated, even the most recent guidelines have been criticized. 46 grams of protein is roughly 6 ounces of meat or a large chicken breast. Are we really supposed to eat only that much protein? Choosemyplate.org does say that if you’re getting more than 30 minutes of moderate exercise per day than that number should be increased.
Here another part of the article:
While protein-packed energy bars, desserts, and even the popularity of the paleo diet may be partially to blame, many of us are also timing our protein intake all wrong—leading us to consume way more of this macronutrient than we need. "We're not pythons," says Douglas Paddon-Jones, Ph.D., a professor of nutrition and metabolism at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston. "We can't eat an entire chicken and use its protein for the rest of the week." In general, your body can process only 20 to 30 grams every two to three hours or so, max; anything more than that might be stored as fat.
FYI Doc, how many women do you know are eating whole chickens in a sitting?
Paddon-Jones and colleagues conducted a study to prove this, comparing the muscle-boosting benefits of two beef meals—one containing 30 grams of protein (roughly the amount in three ounces of chicken) and one with triple that amount. They found that people who ate the larger meal didn't get any additional benefits (just extra calories); blood samples and muscle biopsies showed no increase in muscle protein synthesis (i.e., growth).
This study is cool, if you want to know that just because you eat a ton of protein doesn’t mean you are going to instantly gain muscle, yeah I know, there’s a lot of things that go into gaining muscle, like overall caloric intake and strength training. And by the way, this is Women’s Health Magazine, how many women sit down and eat 90 grams of protein in a sitting, very few, that’s like whole chicken, gross. Our problem is chocolate and pizza, know your audience!
I particularly hate this part of the article:
Even within these loose parameters, there's wiggle room in your personal protein numbers depending on your age, build, and activity level. Weight lifters obviously need more than couch potatoes, but a taller woman will also need more than a petite one. So rather than aiming for a set number of grams each day (because: do you really need one more thing to keep track of?), try following the recommendations below, which are based on your lifestyle and needs.
Weight lifter needs more protein than couch potatoes, okay I hear ya, but why single out weight lifters? Why not say, women who are exercising moderately more than x number of times per week, why are weight lifters singled out? I think it put it’s a bad connotation in women’s heads about lifting weights. In the next part of the article where they give guidelines they do that, however, the thought has already been planted in your head that only women with big muscles should be eating a lot of protein.
The only part of the article I like, kinda:
Ideally, you want to spread protein evenly throughout your day, aiming for 20 to 30 grams at each meal and between five and 10 grams in every snack.
So if you eat 20-30 grams of protein at each, breakfast, lunch, dinner, and lets say two snacks at 10 grams, that equals at a minimum, 80 grams of protein, and at a maximum, 110 grams of protein (I eat 110 grams a day BTW). This totally contradicts the beginning of their article, which says that women are taking in way to much protein at 75 grams per day. Did they not just recommend at minimum you should get 80 grams and at a maximum 110, this based on a 135 pound women by the way?
So if by chance you read their article and felt confused don’t worry, so was I, the difference is I know better but women who are struggling with their weight and nutrition might not. And this is exactly why I am now down to reading only one fitness magazine now!
Link to the article in question: