Protein: Not too Little, Not too Much…but Just Right!

So, here's the scoop about the modern nutrition buzzword, protein? Let’s break it down.

Protein is an essential nutrient for muscle development and repair. It also supports our immune functioning. Many of us know to include protein in our diet, but I’m sure we have wondered....

There is a common misperception that we should consume one (1) gram of protein per pound of body weight. PLEASE ERASE THIS FORUMLA! We should consume one (1) gram of protein per kilograms of body weight. So, we need to make the conversion. To convert weight from pounds to kilograms, we divide body weight by 2.2. This is approximately how many grams of protein your body needs. It’s important to consume an appropriate amount of protein…not too little, or too much…but just right! There are consequences if we don’t.


TOO LITTLE: -A decrease in muscle mass leading to physical weakness. The body breaks down muscle fibers to supply protein to cells in desperate need. -A compromised immune system. There is an insufficient number of immune molecules to attack foreign invaders. -Inadequate bone health. Protein impacts calcium levels. Too little can result in decreased bone density and loss of skeletal mass.

Contrary to popular belief, consuming more protein than the recommended amount does not enhance muscle mass and strength.

TOO MUCH: -Weight gain. Like other food groups, consuming protein beyond what our body needs can lead to fat storage. -High cholesterol. Many consume protein through animal sources, which contain cholesterol. In excess, cholesterol can create plaque around our arteries and contribute to a heart attack or stroke. -Increased burden on kidneys. Consistently eating a high protein diet creates harder work for our kidneys to process and filter toxins. When our kidneys are in overdrive to flush out toxins, we are also at risk for dehydration.

If you find you are struggling to know how much or what to eat to fuel your body well for practices and races, reach out. I can help make things easier!


Guest author: Ciana Bonfiglio

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Hi, my name is Katelyn Greenleaf, Registered Dietitian, Nutritionist

NuLeaf Nutrition strives to...

1. Provide scientifically-backed information to help athletes find a nutrition plan that fits their individual health/fitness goals.

2. Educate people in achieving optimal nutrition in attempts to prevent the development of chronic diseases. 

3. Improve total health by emphasizing balance in the diet and physical activity.

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