My Problem With Protein

6 Mar

Well hello, everybody! I am sitting in comfort of my own home because my office is closed today, due to the weather. When I awoke this morning, there was hardly any snow to be found, but I dutifully checked the website and sure enough, it’s a snow day! So I am sitting here in my new robe with a cup of Earl Grey tea and I am quite pleased with the snowquestration (yes, that’s what they’re calling it).

The other day, I reached into my snack door at work for a little something to tide me over between lunch and my post-work gym trip and I came upon this:

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Now, I have tried protein bars in the past and haven’t been crazy about them, but everybody and their mom seems to be putting protein in everything, so I figured I would give it a try. I was a little suspicious because there were an awful lot of ingredients I couldn’t pronounce.

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What the heck is ‘fractionated palm kernel oil’?

It did have a whopping 20 grams of protein for only a couple hundred calories, so I was counting on it to power me through the rest of the afternoon.

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I took the plunge…and it was really…underwhelming.

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The peanut butter flavor did help with the taste, but I could not get over the gritty texture and weird aftertaste. After reading posts of people eating protein bars that taste like dessert, I feel like I am missing out on some big secret.

I haven’t jumped on the protein powder bandwagon, either. My roommate tears through his Costco-sized bag of protein, but it just feels weird to think that our diets aren’t sufficient enough to get protein naturally. Personally, I feel like if the food has a long shelf-life and comes in a package, it’s probably not too great for you. I read so many blogs of writers who eat really nourishing foods for their bodies, yet scoop protein powder into their smoothies and eat protein bars like it’s going out of style.

After poking around on the interwebz, I found that the recommended protein intake is anywhere from .8-1.8 grams per kilogram of body weight, depending on your level of activity and muscle building goals. For a 150-pound woman, that’s anywhere from 54 to 95 grams of protein per day. Yesterday I ate 73 grams of protein and that was without consuming any meat products.

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A 3 oz. piece of chicken has 25 grams by itself. Even if you were a strength athlete and needed higher levels of protein, it appears that it would be quite easy to eat a more than adequate amount in your regular diet.

Am I missing something here?

Fellow bloggers (and other informed readers), please fill me in on what is going on here!

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7 Responses to “My Problem With Protein”

  1. martha84 March 6, 2013 at 8:12 am #

    Protein bars generally gross me out. I have yet to try one that I like – between the texture and flavor and the weird ingredients, I try to steer clear.
    I do use whey protein powder because even though the recommended intake is only what you stated, I’ve found that eating extra protein has really helped in my recovery from training, and with very little calories and fat, it’s a good way to stay satiated. I don’t think there’s really any reason to consume more than 1g per bodyweight, but I know a lot of people who do, especially if you’re on a lower carb diet.
    I think it’s really all about what makes you feel your best. Some people can eat a diet high in carbs and never see ill effects. For others, macros need to be different to aid in reaching fat loss, muscle building, or recovery goals.
    But protein bars still gross me out, and I definitely go for whole food sources above anything else!

    • Sara @ Magia e Pasta March 6, 2013 at 9:35 am #

      Thanks for the helpful input, Martha! It’s nice to hear from somebody who has noticed a direct effect on their own training recovery, especially because I have never paid much attention to it in my own workout and recovery.

  2. pickyrunner March 6, 2013 at 8:58 am #

    THANK YOU THANK YOU for agreeing with my anti-protein beliefs. My doctors told me they aren’t healthy for you. I’m better off drinking milkshakes and since they taste better, obviously that’s what I’m going to do. We don’t need unnatural powder chemicals going into our body to imitate something real foods can do for us. I don’t like the taste of protein bars either. I just eat meat at lunch and dinner, or get in some cheese or milk during the day. I think what people forget is that EVERYTHING has protein. It doesn’t matter if it’s a “protein packed” food. Even bagels and a buttload of it in them and we don’t need as much as people tell us.

    • Sara @ Magia e Pasta March 6, 2013 at 9:34 am #

      That’s interesting that you heard that from your doctor! I don’t have any scientific foundation for my claims, but it does seem to me that you can eat quite a bit of protein just in your daily diet.

  3. Manasi March 6, 2013 at 12:03 pm #

    Sara – Really interested to learn more about getting enough protein (in the 50-70g range) through eating a vegetarian diet. Could you tell me what you ate to get you to the total of 73g? I am just curious…

    • Sara @ Magia e Pasta March 7, 2013 at 3:58 pm #

      Hi Manasi, thanks for stopping by! I ate servings of yogurt, chickpeas (garbanzo beans), eggs (3), smoked salmon, avocado, peanut butter, and trail mix (peanuts, mostly). Shoot me an email if you want a detailed list with serving sizes, etc. I was surprised at how easy it was myself!

  4. Aunt Rebecca March 13, 2013 at 1:24 am #

    http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/id/QAA118473
    Tropical oils, from a reasonably science based source…

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