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Calculating Protein Need to Overcome Fatigue

Calculating Protein Need to Overcome Fatigue

Confused by how much protein to eat?

It can be hard to know when to increase or decrease your protein. But that’s only because you have not been told how easy it can be to figure out. And once you know how to do it, you are going to amazed at how this can impact your energy.

Dr. Arland Hill, functional medicine doctor and regenerative farmer, illustrates how to find your exact amount of protein. He even walks you through what consuming this will look like for you each day by providing options anyone will enjoy using.

Too much protein or too little protein? Which one’s affecting your fatigue and what are you going to do about it? Hi. I’m Dr. Arland Hill, and today, we’re going to tackle that very issue, because it seems like when we start talking about protein in the diet, there’s a lot of misconceptions around the right amount of protein, so on one end, we have that a lot of people just don’t consume enough protein, because they don’t really understand where to get it from, and on the other end, we might know where to get that protein, but we seem to over-consume it, and there’s some concerns about that too. So how do we dial in the amount of protein that you should be consuming to really overcome fatigue?

To help understand that, I think we need to start with why protein is so important to really tackling fatigue. One of the first reasons we have to appreciate is that whether we’re talking about physical fatigue or whether we’re talking about mental fatigue, protein has a big role to play with both of those, so when we start talking about physical fatigue, we begin to think about just looking at our physical structure, the makeup of our body. We have to appreciate the muscle tissue that we have throughout the entire body, and when we start to fuel that muscle tissue and have energy to be able to allow that muscle to function, protein is one of the sources for that. In fact, what are known as the branched-chain amino acids, three amino acids that are directly derived from protein and that are essential to get in in our diet in adequate quantities, are actually a primary fuel source for the muscles, so if those aren’t available, the muscles aren’t going to have the fuel that they need to function at a high level.

In addition to that, when we start talking about just producing energy as a whole, again thinking in the aspect of physical fatigue here, when we talk about starting to produce energy as a whole, we have to understand that energy production is a multi-step process, and at multiple points throughout that process, we require the breakdown products of protein, again these amino acids, to come into play and start to drive various parts of that energy production. So if we’re going to get from point A to point Z through that energy production process, we have to facilitate that with protein in our diet, and as that protein gets broken down, those breakdown products funnel right into those energy cycles and help to manufacture energy for us.

So, that’s the physical fatigue. Well what about the mental fatigue? This may be one of the most concerning as a whole, because when we start thinking about that fatigue being associated with a loss of motivation … And maybe there’s some issues around, say for example, anxiety, not wanting to be in social environments anymore, maybe we are a little more quick tempered. If you’re feeling some of those types of symptoms and you’re struggling with fatigue, those are pretty good indicators that your neurotransmitters aren’t getting support that they need.

Now, you may ask, “What in the world’s a neurotransmitter?” Well, neurotransmitters are chemicals for our nervous system. It’s how our nervous system communicates within itself and to other areas in the body. The majority of these compounds that … The majority of these neurotransmitters are derived from protein in the diet, so when we consume inadequate amounts of protein, that can have a direct impact on how we feel when we get up in the morning. It can have a direct impact on how that affects our blood sugar throughout the day. Are we able to motivate ourself to get things done?

In addition to that, when we start looking at proteins like thyroid hormone, a lot of folks like to talk about thyroid hormone and how impactful that can be for energy production, keep in mind that if someone is not consuming enough protein, that can be a direct precursor to not manufacturing thyroid hormone, and thyroid hormone is just one hormone that can become a player here.

So, there’s multiple reasons that we have to get enough protein in the diet, and on the other end, so that’s all towards the low end of the spectrum, but what about if there’s too much protein? Well, too much protein can be a contribution to fatigue as well. So when we start thinking about that, if we’re creating or if consuming an imbalance of the different portions in our diet, so let’s say that we’re consuming too much protein compared to the amount of fats or carbohydrates, high-quality carbohydrates that we’re getting in, then the body has to go through a different process to break those down, and that’s a very fatiguing process to the body.

It’s very energy intensive, so you’re actually putting forth a lot of energy to utilize and make energy from the food you’re taking in. We can do a much more efficient job of that when we start looking at carbohydrates and fats in the diet. So, we want to strike that middle ground and find out what the right amount of protein is, so that brings us to the ultimate question of how do you know what the right amount of protein is for you? Well, let me show you.

Now that we’ve looked at why protein is so important to help overcome fatigue, let’s talk about how to dial in the exact right amount of protein for you, and this can be done in a simple three-step process. So let’s jump right into these three steps. Step one is we need to know how much you weigh in kilograms. Most of us think in pounds, myself included on that, so we need to convert that, how much you weigh in pounds, over to kilograms, so let’s use the example of 150-pound person, and to convert 150-pound person to kilograms, we’re simply going to divide 150 by 2.2, so if your body weight is 130 pounds, you’re going to divide by 2.2. If you’re 200 pounds, you’re going to divide by 2.2 to get the amount that you weigh in kilograms, so in this example, 150-pound person weighs approximately 68 kilograms. Now, that’s step one, just find out what the kilograms are.

Step two is we’re going to determine what your activity level is, and there’s three options you have here, and you can fall somewhere in between, but if you’re a sedentary individual, you’re going to be in the range of .8 grams per kilogram of body weight per day, so you’re going to consume .8 grams of protein per kilogram of your body weight, so you can begin to see why knowing your kilograms is important here. So, what’s your activity, so are you sedentary, are you moderately active, or are you highly active? Most people are probably going to fall in this moderately active category, which is middle ground here. It’s going to be the individual who’s up moving around throughout the day, someone who exercises a couple of times a week. That’s pretty much going to be your moderate activity individual.

Your highly active individual is going to be the person who is doing some type of high-intensity exercise most days of the week for an extended period of time. So, most of us don’t fall into that category, but if you do, instead of using .8, you’re going to use 1.6, so literally double the amount here, and again, you can fall somewhere in between these numbers too. These are just good starting points. So that’s step two.

Now step three is we’re going to dial in exactly what your daily protein should be. So let’s go back to our kilograms that we determined and which category we fall into, so for sedentary, we’re going to take that 68 kilograms and we’re just going to simply multiply that by .8, and that’s going to give us 54 grams of total protein that we should consume throughout the day in divided dosages distributed throughout the individual meals. If you’re moderately active, that number goes up to 82, and if you’re highly active, that number goes up to 109. Now, these numbers that I’m presenting to you are based on what the research says and what studies say on this, and it’s interesting, because sometimes there’s a recommendation of providing one gram per pound of body weight, and you’ll see that that would mean 150-pound person would consume 150 grams of protein per day, but this is too much. You don’t need that much protein. There’s no added advantage to consuming that extra amount of protein, and in fact, it can in some scenarios begin to work against you in regards to giving more energy and helping to overcome fatigue.

So, we want to make sure that we find enough protein, that we’re consuming enough protein throughout the day, but not too much protein throughout the day, and if this number fluctuates slightly from day to day, that’s okay. We don’t have to hit the nail right on the head. We just have to get in the close approximation of this number. So, with that being said, let me show you how these numbers translate into your food and your protein selections, and some of those different options as you go throughout the day.

So I gave you that example of how to find the right amount of protein for you, gave you some specific numbers to look at there, but let’s make sense out of these numbers that we were talking about here, and I’ve got a few examples here in front of me that are pretty common examples that you’re probably going to find in your diet or look to include in your diet, so we want to make sure that you’re consuming a good source and the right amount on this, so let’s break this down.

When we start talking about different protein sources, one of the ones here, I’ve got a grass-fed beef source. This is from our friends over at Coastal Prairie Farms. These guys are going to be producing 100% grass-fed beef. Now, why is 100% grass-fed beef important? Well, in regards to the protein conversation that we’re having here, this is important because it’s going to supply an efficient amount of these amino acids that we were alluding to earlier on.

If you take this, this is a pound of ground meet here, so if we look at this, there’s going to be 16 ounces in this, so for every ounce, you’re going to have about seven grams of protein, and if we’re trying to hit say roughly about 20 grams of protein per meal, and again, that’s going to vary based on the numbers that I showed to you earlier, if we’re trying to translate that into how much you’re going to consume, that would be about … 20 grams would be about a quarter of this pound. So literally, you could just take a quarter of this, to just break this in quarters, and one quarter of this could be enough for a meal, so you can see a pound of ground beef here would be potentially enough for four meals.

Now, that may not be quite enough if you need to consume more throughout the day. However, it may be a little bit too much if you’re a little smaller framed individual and maybe a little more sedentary, so it just depends how active are you trying to be and what’s your body weight, and we want to make sure that those balance out. So, just a rough idea with the pound of beef here. Got a few other examples for you.

Just another meat source here, I’ve got maybe a little bit different than certainly what you see in the grocery store here, but this is a chicken that was raised here on my ranch, so this was one that we raised up, and this is about a four-pound bird, so if you translate that, you’ll find out that there’s quite a few meals you’re going to get out of a four-pound bird. Now granted, there’s some bones in here that have to be considered into that number as well, but the point being on this is that if you cook a four-pound chicken like this, this is going to last for quite a few meals if you’re eating an adequate amount of protein and not overeating, but yet again, this is going to be a high-quality protein source to make sure that you’re getting in an adequate amount. Just another example here.

Right along with that, I have two others here for you, and these might be examples of how you would start your day. In my right hand here, I’ve got a chicken egg, and in my left hand here, I’ve got a duck egg. You’ll notice on these, there’s not a lot of difference in the size of these. Sometimes, the duck eggs get a little bit bigger. These also were raised here on the ranch, so we gather these every day out here. The point being on this is that when it comes to fatigue and busting your fatigue, you’ve got to start out with getting the right amount of protein in in the morning, so an egg, a typical egg like this, what’s often characterized as a large egg, is going to put you somewhere in the realm of about five grams of protein, so think about that if you need that 20 grams of protein, roughly about four eggs is what it’s going to take to get you there in that one meal.

Now, you’re probably saying, “How in the world? I don’t want to eat four eggs in the morning. I don’t want to eat that much protein.” I have a couple of things to share with you on this that can really help that out, because I understand that when you’re not eating enough protein and you’re trying to think about how to increase protein in the diet, it can feel a little bit overwhelming, so let me show you two other examples to make getting to that total number that’s specific for you a little bit easier.

The first one that I’ve got here are going to be some powdered protein sources. I’ve just got a plant-based source over here. This is a pumpkin seed protein. There’s a lot of different ones out there. There’s hemp seed, pea protein. You got a lot of different options you can choose from. And then I’ve got an animal-based source here. This is a bovine or a cow source protein. Either way you look at this, these are powdered proteins, so the unique thing about these is that it allows you to get a very efficient protein source in, especially if these are animal derived. They’re complete proteins, and as a result of that, you’re going to be able to add that into a smoothie, add that into a shaker cup, and get that protein down pretty easily, and these are often flavored, or you can mix them up with something to flavor them as you want to, and that makes that protein go down a lot easier.

Now, everything I’ve shown you, with the exception of this powdered protein, has been animal derived, and these are all complete, and animal protein is more of … It’s a complete protein, so it has all the essential parts in it, the essential amino acids that make up those proteins. They’re all found in an animal source. However, this is an important thing, because you’re probably looking at all these animal sources and thinking, “I don’t want to eat that much meat, or maybe I don’t want to eat that many eggs.” How are you going to do that without having to incorporate in all these animal sources?

Well, here’s another option for you, and here I’ve got a bag of … These are just baby lima beans, so just a lima bean source. Beans, we often think about as a protein source, so the point behind this is that if it’s difficult for you to get these protein sources in, and again, we’re thinking about this in the context of fatigue, if I want to fire up my hormones, fire up those neurochemicals, get my energy production going, help get my muscles to producing energy so that I don’t feel fatigued as I’m going throughout my day, you don’t have to derive all that from animal sources.

You can pull some of that from plant sources as well, and from nuts. Nuts, seeds, these are other good protein options, so don’t feel like it all needs to come from animals. You can combine that together, and if you’re getting a little over half of your total protein from animal sources, the rest of it can be made up from the plant sources in your diet, and it’ll balance itself out to give you enough of the essential amino acids that you need to give you that complete amino acid profile, and more importantly, give you the precursors that are going to insert themselves in your energy pathways, that are going to help make these different neurotransmitters to fire up the nervous system, to let it do what it’s supposed to do, and ultimately get you to feeling better from the beginning of your day all the way to the end of the day.

So guys, with that being said, try to find that balance point for yourself. You know, if you’re eating too much protein, maybe you want to look at these numbers for yourself. Just run these quick calculations and back off where you need to. You may be surprised. You may be eating more than you’re actually need to benefit, and on the other side, you may find that getting a little bit more protein in is not quite as hard as you think it might be once you actually know how much you really need and have a benchmark to try to shoot for.

Hey, I appreciate you taking the time to listen. I truly hope that you can get this amount of protein into your diet and can start beating your fatigue and overcoming that when you dial that amount of protein in. Hey, if you think that this information was helpful, make sure you share this with someone, and if you liked it for yourself, give it a thumbs up. That way, we can get it out there and help other individuals learn how to incorporate more protein into their diet, or better stated, the right amount of protein into their diet. I’m Dr. Arland Hill, and the hanks for listening, guys.

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