Actually, the guidelines for closer to optimal health are 2.2g per kg bodyweight, which would be 132g protein for a 60kg woman.
The minimum guidelines are just that – minimum, and more up to date research shows that 2.2g protein per kg bodyweight is preferable for optimal muscle repair, to prevent muscle loss, regulate appetite and all manner of bodily functions from injury and illness recovery to good skin and hair to detoxification. For an 80kg man this would be 176g per day, and far from most people consuming too much, many are not meeting these needs.
This is especially important for people who exercise and older people.
I’m qualified in sports nutrition and inadequate protein will lead to muscle loss, strength loss, fat gain, fatigue, increased chance of injury and poor immunity.
I help Mums lose weight, and protein is equally important for a weight loss goal. Protein keeps you full, and in fact the first thing I do with vegetarians and vegans is increase their protein intake as this is a common food group they’re missing out on. Also when eating fewer calories as you have to do to lose weight, there is the risk of losing muscle as well as or instead of fat, so eating enough protein will help maintain muscle and excess body fat is lost instead.
You don’t need to buy expensive sports protein products or protein boosted foods. In fact I personally don’t think protein cereal is that nutritious compared to natural whole foods. But meat, fish, dairy, eggs, beans and plant alternatives like tofu and TVP all have lots of protein and are very nutritious, affordable foods.
Programmes like this are watched by millions of confused viewers trying to be healthier and comments like saying too much protein is bad for you are harmful. The only people who need to restrict protein are people with diagnosed kidney problems, but for everyone else, studies have shown huge amounts of protein (over 4g per kg bodyweight) are not harmful at all.
Next up gluten free. No you don’t need to cut out gluten unless you have an intolerance or are coeliac.
And no, gluten free goods are not necessarily healthy, but you’re not stupid, you know a cake is a cake, gluten free or not!
Most people’s reasons (medical or not) for going gluten free are for health reasons. So while they may opt for buckwheat muesli and quinoa salad, why anyone would think loads of cake (gluten free or not) is a good choice for health is beyond me. But you woudn’t would you, because you’re smarter than that.
Nothing wrong with a banger unless you’re eating processed meat excessively, but not all sausages are created equal and some are atrocious in terms of their ingredients. Ideally it should be meat, spices/herbs, and some rusk or breadcrumbs is fine for texture. Look for a high % of meat. I’ll be honest I don’t like ‘real’ butcher chunky sausages personally taste wise, and prefer the taste of cheap processed kids sausages! For this reason I rarely eat them, or occasionally buy Quorn ones.
While the health difference for you of budget vs organic meat isn’t much, welfare standards are very different. Buy the highest welfare meat you can afford. There are ways to make this cheaper, such as raiding the reduced isle, buying whole chickens vs breasts, and buying less popular cuts of meat. Liver and kidneys are incredibly cheap and very nutritious, if you like them.
I think you know that ready meals aren’t the healthiest, but did you understand portion sizes?
In reality the portion sizes on the pack should be ignored IMO anyway, they don’t know what YOU need. So you need to understand the calories in a meal and decide for yourself what’s appropriate for you. It’s just maths – working out whether a whole, half, or even smaller portion of a pack is appropriate for you. And some ready meals really aren’t that different to a healthy meal you’d make at home, though you may have to pay a little more. Not sure where to start? Ask me in my Facebook Group here.
I showed my kids the bit about ‘formed from’ meat compared to the real sliced meat I get occasionally for sandwiches, this is a tricky one for young kids as ‘formed from’ meat does tend to be softer and easier to eat. But if you can get them onto the real stuff they’ll be getting better quality nutrients. I never knowingly buy ‘formed from’ meat, why would I when my kids will eat the real stuff? But then again, relatively speaking it’s not McDonalds nuggets (remember the pink slime?) and reformed ham won’t kill you, and I won’t lie it does at least contribute to protein intake.
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