nutrition bite 012 - protein, what you need to know about it

We currently live in a world where protein, and higher-protein containing foods are being thrown around and touted as the new "health" foods, and people are beginning to believe that if something is high in protein, this means it's healthy. It's the same debacle we went through with gluten free & the paleo era - but it's all simply great marketing by smart minds... So, young athletes & adolescents, what's the real truth…

Protein is essential for us. It's essential for growth, repair, and an abundance of bodily processes. We need it to live, that's a given fact. But is more protein the answer, and are these higher protein diets being thrown around a healthier alternative or even a smart move for young athletes & adolescents

Higher protein diets have been shown to be beneficial for weight loss, and thus many define them as "healthy" - but this is using weight as the defining factor of health - which is simply NEVER the case

A few of the reasons this is the case is that it increases satiety - that feeling of fullness - which means we don't eat as much as we feel fuller for longer. Secondly, it increases thermogenesis in the body - such as an increase in metabolism - and therefore we expend a little more energy without really having to try

But more protein is not the answer. Protein does NOT = health...

As when we increase our protein intakes, we, in turn, decrease our intake of everything else. We decrease our consumption of carbohydrates from breads and cereal, which decreases our consumption of a variety of essential B-Group Vitamins. And if we go too low on our carbohydrate intake, we may begin to enter ketosis and burn ketones for energy, which may not be the most optimal for performance or growth & recovery


High Protein Options

When eating out, or choosing snacks, many people are looking for higher protein choices. If this is something such as a steak or natural source of protein, then it's going to be a phenomenal choice. The issue comes when we reach for 'snacks' and other things that are deemed to be "high in protein" without knowing where this added source of protein has come from, or what other added ingredients are within this snack

A quick glance here will be taken at snack foods such as protein bars, where oftentimes, the added protein source is from soy - which is not the most ideal. The reason being that soy contains a number of different compounds and chemicals that may not be health inducive in large amounts. The first of these are known as goitrogens - compounds that inhibit the thyroid’s ability to utilize iodine correctly which could potentially lead to hypothyroid problems

The second is a compound in the form of estrogen, known as isoflavones, which effectively raise estrogen levels and therefore lowers testosterone levels, as these hormones compete with one another. In men, increased estrogen can lead to lower libido, fat accumulation around the waist and loss of energy, stamina, and virility. In women higher levels of estrogen can disrupt your periods, fertility and put you at risk for breast cancer

All we ask, and our intention here in this article, is to educate you to think more critically and open your eyes when it comes to nutrition. As if we can get this next generation to do this, then it's going to be phenomenal for them in their futures. So simply know that not all proteins are created equally, and more protein isn't the answer for "health"

Nick Maier