Everyone is so concerned about getting enough protein but trust me, the last thing you need to be worrying about is protein. In fact, a recent study showed that 90% of the world’s population exceeds protein requirements.
However, there is something you SHOULD be concerned about getting enough of….fiber and joy. But if we’re just talking nutrients here, fiber.
Yep, you heard me.
If you consume enough calories, you are consuming enough protein. This is true for the very large, like 99.9% majority of us (not a real statistic but it’s pretty damn high). Think about it, when was the last time you knew someone, anyone who went to a hospital, doctor, or emergency care because they weren’t consuming enough protein?? My guess is you don’t. Because it doesn’t happen. It is extremely difficult to become protein deficient unless you are truly starving or have AIDS/Cancer/Burns or other high metabolic conditions.
“I’m working out, I need more protein.” Sure, but do you need THAT much though? Most adults need .8 gram of protein per kilogram of body weight each day. So for someone who weighs 165 pounds, that’s 60 grams of protein per day. But you wouldn’t know that if you only received nutrition information from headlines and head coaches that constantly push high protein diets.
Well isn’t more better? No. The evidence shows us that diets rich in animal proteins are linked to an increase risk of death from diabetes and cancer. And for the first time, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans encourages men and teenage boys to reduce their overall consumption of high protein foods, like meat and eggs, to improve health.
So what makes our cultural addiction to meat a bad thing? Well, these high protein animal foods are high in fat, saturated fat, cholesterol and limit vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber that have been proven to help prevent disease and help you feel you best.
A plant-based diet rich in fiber helps manage weight, lower cholesterol and prevent some forms of cancer. Since fiber is a non-digestible carbohydrate, fiber helps manage blood sugar levels and has been linked to both preventing the risk for Type 2 Diabetes and helping to manage Diabetes. Interestingly, if you suffer from GI issues, such as IBS, diverticulosis, hemorrhoids, or bowel irregularity/constipation, fiber helps! There’s a lot of misinformation out there about consuming fiber containing foods with IBS and diverticulosis. (If you are confused, I’d be more than happy to help – please reach out!)
So now consider if you know someone with heart disease, Type 2 Diabetes, GI issues, IBS, diverticulosis, or several pounds to lose.…My guess is that you can think of several people, perhaps even yourself. How much fiber does he/she consume? And instead of asking where he/she gets their protein from (which will create inflammation and likely perpetuate these conditions if not create more), shouldn’t we be asking: “Where do you get your fiber??”
I think so.
9 out of 10 Americans do not eat enough fiber and on average people only consume only 10 grams of fiber per day. I eat more than that for breakfast! (if you don’t believe me check out my What I Ate Wednesday post this week). The recommendation is 25 grams of fiber per day for women and 36 grams of fiber per day for men.
And here’s the thing, consuming fiber is a lot easier than you think.
So how can you add more fiber into your day?
That’s my simple answer because by adding only ½ cup of cooked beans into your day you’ll consume an additional 7-10 grams of fiber (depending on the type of bean). Plus beans have great sources of both types of fiber (soluble and insoluble) and have the most evidence based research to support that it’s not just the fiber in the beans that supports health but the antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals as well.
There are other foods too! Here are just a few foods I think people either generally enjoy or are easy to add into your day. For example, chia seeds sprinkled on your breakfast or an apple as a snack. Serve brown rice, whole wheat pasta, or sweet potatoes for dinner. Easy Peasy.
All of these simple starts increase your fiber intake and improve your health. And trust me, fiber adds up much faster than you think when eating a plant-based diet. If you’re interested in what this might look like in a typical day, check out my “What I Ate Wednesday” post that aims to shed light on how eating a high fiber, plant-based diet can be nourishing, quick, and delicious.
Did you find this post helpful? Post a comment or send me a message and let me know! This could easily be Fiber: Part One. There are SO many wonderful benefits of fiber and I love helping people feel better in their bodies (hint: fiber helps). 🙂
Dietary Guidelines for Americans
Levine ME, Suarez JA, Brandhorst S, et al. Low protein intake is associated with a major reduction in IGF-1, cancer, and overall mortality in the 65 and younger but not older population. Cell Metab. 2014; 19:407-417.
2 thoughts on “Concerned About Getting Enough Protein? You Should Be Focusing On This Instead…”
So helpful as always! Thank you.
Yayyy! SO happy to hear that Christy 🙂