Eating the Right amount of Protein | QA

Eating the Right amount of Protein | QA

Question:

Hello! I was wondering if you could help me determine how much protein I should be eating everyday. I’ve heard so many things. I am 24yo female, I strength train 4 days a week and do yoga 1x a week to break that up. I may be switching that up a bit, but wanted to get a good idea on how to calculate it (if that’s how it works). Thank you.

– Erol B.

Answer:

The headlines (and advice) are confusing! Between “most healthy adults already get enough protein” and “US adults do not consume enough protein” there is a grey area of observation, based on how the research is interpreted. On the one hand, people that meet energy needs probably meet protein needs, while those that are dieting, recovering from illness or are aging may need more.

For a fit, healthy young adult who is consuming adequate calories to maintain weight, use the protein RDA of 0.8 gm/kg body weight as the guide. Using a range for percentage of calories from protein is less precise. From pounds, divide weight by 2.2 to get kilograms then multiply by 0.8 to get your target amount of daily protein. If you are looking to add lean mass then increasing protein to 1.2 gm/kg is suitable.

To determine if you’re meeting your goal, use a reliable source to count up your protein intake. Check that a diet app or website you’re using relies on the USDA Food Composition Database.

Resources:

– Debbie J., MS, RD

This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

Some questions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

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Have a nutrition question? Our registered dietitian is ready to help!

Email nutrition@lafitness.com or submit your question below and it may be featured in an upcoming article!

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Reaching Macronutrient Goals | QA

Reaching Macronutrient Goals | QA

Question:

Greetings Nutrition: I am trying to get back in shape. I have a trainer at LA Fitness, and I think that I need to eat better. Could you give me some ideas of how I should be eating? Or a good meal plan that I can follow? I have been given a 1,416 calorie per day limit. Macros are: Carbs 203 grams, Fat 84 grams Protein 65 grams. I am having a hard time finding good breakfast options and making my protein of 65 grams daily. I don’t eat eggs so that cause problems for breakfast. I pretty much eat everything else. Any help that you can provide would be greatly appreciated.

– Eric H.

Answer:

First and foremost, your provided macronutrient targets provide 1,828 total calories (812 calories carbohydrate, 756 calories fat, 260 calories protein), a considerable difference from your caloric limit. If the goal is qualitative, then the approach should be more precise. Not knowing which is more important for you, I’d go with the higher caloric target as you are working out and 1,400 calories may only be appropriate for significant weight loss, older or smaller-framed men.

We don’t provide meal plans, though several sample meals can be found throughout our Living Healthy blog. Since breakfast is the most challenging meal for you, here are some breakfast suggestions that provide roughly 550 calories.* I’ve broken that down as approximately 60 gram carb, 25 gram fat and 20 gram protein.

By working on your own lunch and dinner options, you can get close to the remainder macronutrients for the day. Quality can’t be overlooked, though! Foods with high micronutrient, fiber and unsaturated fat content will make a big difference even if you’re slightly off your gram or calorie goals.

* Calculated by Registered Dietitian Nutritionist using Fitday.com’s food log function. Findings were used along with RDN’s professional judgment.

– Debbie J., MS, RD

This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

Some questions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

Ask our Dietitian

Have a nutrition question? Our registered dietitian is ready to help!

Email nutrition@lafitness.com or submit your question below and it may be featured in an upcoming article!

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The Best Supplement for Lean Muscle Mass | QA

The Best Supplement for Lean Muscle Mass | QA

Question:

Hi, what would be the best supplement to become leaner and cut muscle?

– Lito J.

Answer:

The leanest, most cut people are generally considered bodybuilders. They most commonly use arginine, beta-alanine, branched chain amino acids (BCAAs), caffeine, citrulline malate, creatine monohydrate, glutamine, and beta-hydroxy-methylbutyrate (HMB). Among these, creatine has been shown to be effective for muscle size and strength when added to a weight training program.1,2 The International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN) states that “creatine monohydrate is the most effective ergogenic nutritional supplement currently available to athletes in terms of increasing high-intensity exercise capacity and lean body mass during training.”2 Beta-alanine further improves lean mass gains and body fat loss in conjunction with creatine supplementation.1  

Arginine and citrulline malate may have ergogenic effects but do not conclusively alter body composition. The BCAAs (leucine, isoleucine and valine) decrease muscle protein breakdown and increase skeletal muscle protein synthesis though these have not translated to increased lean mass. The stimulant caffeine, taken pre-workout, increases strength training performance which allows you to do more muscle-building work.

Read about related topics on our Living Healthy blog – overall supplements and nitric oxide boosters.

Resources:

  • Evidence-based recommendations for natural bodybuilding contest preparation: nutrition and supplementation. Helms ER, Aragon AA, Fitschen PJ. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. May 2014; 11:20. doi:10.1186/1550-2783-11-20
  • International Society of Sports Nutrition Position Stand: Safety and Efficacy of Creatine Supplementation in Exercise, Sport and Medicine. RB Kreider, et al. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. June 2017; 14:18. doi.org/10.1186/s12970-017-0173-z

– Debbie J., MS, RD

This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

Some questions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

Ask our Dietitian

Have a nutrition question? Our registered dietitian is ready to help!

Email nutrition@lafitness.com or submit your question below and it may be featured in an upcoming article!

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How do I reach potassium goal on low sugar? | QA

How do I reach potassium goal on low sugar? | QA

Question:

I read we need to consume 3,500-4,700 mg of potassium daily. I don’t eat sugar…I had a banana the other day and I almost came out of my skin! I eat spinach and broccoli daily and sweet potatoes regularly. How can I reach these numbers?

– Cliff A.

Answer:

To reach the US Dietary Guidelines goal for potassium [4,700 mg for adults] from vegetables, dairy, animal protein foods, legumes, nuts and grains with little fruit is doable with the proper planning and tools. Charts such as from Health.gov and the National Institutes of Health show the potassium content in various foods. For our members in Canada, check out HealthLinkBC’s chart with metric measures.

Using the above, we calculated that eating a medium baked potato, ½ Cup cooked beet greens, 2 Cups raw spinach, ½ Cup white or adzuki beans, ½ Cup soybeans, 1 cup nonfat plain yogurt, 1 Cup skim milk, 3 oz cooked salmon, and ½ Cup avocado would meet the potassium goal for the day. If the variety of foods you’re willing to consume is limited, adjust portions accordingly to provide more potassium from what you do eat.

– Debbie J., MS, RD

Disclaimer: Nutrient values were used along with RDN’s professional judgment. Due to variations in products, final calculation is an approximation.

This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

Some questions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

Ask our Dietitian

Have a nutrition question? Our registered dietitian is ready to help!

Email nutrition@lafitness.com or submit your question below and it may be featured in an upcoming article!

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Intra-workout Drinks and Protein Recommendation | QA

Intra-workout Drinks and Protein Recommendation | QA

Question:

My focus has largely been on muscle growth, though I do plan on switching my routine a bit later in the summer to incorporate more cardio. I would like to be more mindful about the supplements I use and am hoping you can provide advice on this front. I shop at GNC and I normally get a powder for intra-workout drinks and I also get tubs of protein. Do you have products that you would recommend that are both effective and healthy? There are so many different products in the market, as you know, but there really isn’t much oversight of those products when it comes to quality, effectiveness, and, to some degree, legality. I think it would be good for me to hear from an expert on what intra-workout drinks and protein shakes are best rather than relying on blogs, etc.

– Deb S.

Answer:

You’re absolutely right that all consumers have to go on is mostly user reviews and manufacturer advertising – how frustrating! With thousands of products on the market for an industry that draws billions of dollars in sales each year, it’s impossible to even keep up a list of what sport nutrition supplements are available. Turning to the experts is excellent. To be completely unbiased, I don’t endorse a particular brand or products. Rather I look at the individual ingredients for their safety and efficacy.

Protein powders that only contain other macronutrients, amino acids and flavors tend to be safe and effective as solid proteins. They really are a substitute for whole food for convenience, portability and ease of digestion. A reasonable guide is to spend no more than one dollar ($1) per 20-25 gram protein serving; even less if you buy in bulk.

Some active compounds that have scientific evidence behind them are creatine, caffeine, Beta-alanine, nitrate and sodium bicarbonate1.  You can look up ingredients on www.Examine.com but can’t research a certain product by name or brand. The National Institutes of Health’s Office of Dietary Supplements has a helpful table of selected ingredients’ efficacy, safety and dosages that also indicates the type of exercise that they may benefit.

Even when there are studies on effectiveness of an ingredient, the next step is determining whether a particular product has an active amount of that compound. In addition, I look for those that not only say they have 3rd party (“independent laboratory”) testing for potency but offer the report as well. In addition, consumer sites such as Labdoor.com and ConsumerLab.com allow you to search their review/analysis by product name.

Remember, supplements are of best value when they complement a well-chosen high-quality eating plan!

Resources:

  • Position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Dietitians of Canada, and the American College of Sports Medicine: Nutrition and Athletic Performance. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. 2016;116:501-528.

– Debbie J., MS, RD

This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

Some questions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

Ask our Dietitian

Have a nutrition question? Our registered dietitian is ready to help!

Email nutrition@lafitness.com or submit your question below and it may be featured in an upcoming article!

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