To Protein or Not To Protein…(and what are macronutrients anyway?)

What are macronutrients?

All 3 macronutrients (carbohydrates, fat and protein) have been the topic of MANY blogs lately.

When you read one telling you to just reduce carbs, you’ll find another one telling you to cut them out altogether.

You’ll read a blog telling you fat will kill you, while the next one you read tells you fat will save you!

And then lastly, you’ll hear that you should literally eat your bodyweight in protein to lose weight while another person is telling you too much protein is bad for you.

“STOP THE INSANITY!!” OK, extra bonus brownie points if you can comment below the fitness trainer who coined that phrase in the early 90’s!

Alright, back to my point. I KNOW this can be SO frustrating and trust me, I deal with it WAY more than you probably do. I make it my mission to share my opinion but to also ALWAYS back that up with medical research, University studies and my own personal self-experimentation. I’m never tying to change your mind for you; I just simply want to give you the facts so you can make the best decision for yourself.

What’s all the fuss about protein?

Let’s put protein under the microscope for a minute here. How much is enough? How much is too much?

In my book, The M.A.D.E. Diet, I purposely give formulas for protein intake because I absolutely do not think “One size fits all” works here. Same thing with carbohydrate consumption but we’ll deal with THAT BEAST another time.

Protein is absolutely essential to life. We need it…period. Protein is basically long chains of amino acids that are linked together, like beads on a necklace. There are 9 essential amino acids that we have to get from our diets, and 12 non-essential amino acids that the body can produce on it’s own.

According to the same people that brought you “MyPlate,” men need 56 grams per day and women need 46 grams per day. Now that amount WILL keep you from having a deficiency but I also think those trying to improve their body composition need more than that.

However (awe come on…you’d knew I’d have a however!) I feel TOO much protein puts undue strain on some of your most important organs, the kidneys. Now quite honestly, you’ll find Bro Science that will tell you this is false, that only people with kidney disease should worry about this. Their “logic” is that the kidneys are always under stress…it’s their job. So adding the stress of too much protein is no big deal!

I would love to ask these guys, “Hey, have you ever run up a steep hill? Stressful, right?! Well, have you ever run up a steep hill with a backpack full of rocks? More stressful, right?!” I mean, come on…which one’s going to break you down faster? Do you want your kidneys to wear themselves out faster too? I didn’t think so.

How much protein?

So now the burning question you have for me is, “Melissa, how much protein should I have?” If I gave you a pretty precise percentage (ah-hem, like the MyPlate people), I’d be doing you a disservice because without knowing YOUR lifestyle and goals, I could be completely wrong!

But I CAN tell you that I believe, through all of my schooling and research, that anywhere between 15-35% is good. I personally stick between 30-35%. I know, I know…that’s so vague but I AM more specific in my lil’ ebook…feel free to check it out. I saved a copy just for YOU!

What are macronutrients?