Tuesday Tip

Tuesday Tip: Do you need protein shakes?

Tuesday Tip: Do you need protein shakes? 🥤

Protein shakes – all the rage, essential gym kit eh? But are they really necessary?

Protein itself is essential, especially for maintaining and building muscle, so it helps with recovery and is also great at keeping you feeling full. But the reality is most people’s diet includes more than enough protein as it is. Average daily recommended intake is 55g for men and 45g for women’s (with heavy exercisers needing a bit more: 1.2 – 1.7g per kg body weight). It’s not hard to get that in your meals e.g. 1 egg: 6g, 1 chicken breast: 20g, 30g cheddar cheese: 7.5g, 1 serving cooked beef mince: 18g, 1/2 pot cottage cheese: 18g, 1 tin of tuna: 25g, 1 serving Greek yogurt: 18g etc. So it’s pretty easy for most people to eat the required amount, with no shakes or powders required.

In an ideal world, if trying to build muscle then you do want to get some protein in within 30 mins of a strenuous workout. So that could be a reason to grab a shake. But you could save some pennies and instead go for something simple like a glass of milk (dairy milk contains 8g protein, soya milk contains 7g), or one of the best post-workout recovery drinks – chocolate milk (perfect carbs: protein ratio).

Aside from saving money you will also be protecting your health. Recent research shows that too much protein in the diet can increase your risk of osteoporosis amongst other health issues. Plus if you’re already eating a good diet then all you’re doing is taking on extra calories you don’t need, which could stall your weight loss attempts. They’re also not ideal as a meal replacement unless you combine them with other ingredients. For example as an grab and go brekkie option they’re great when combined in a smoothie with banana, milk, etc to give you a range of nutrients and a good balance of carbs too (but Greek yoghurt also does the same!).

So if you’re eating a balanced diet, and working out at a normal level (i.e. not an Olympic athlete!), then don’t stress about protein shakes as they’re really not necessary at all! Save your pennies!

Happy Tuesday 🤗

Xx

Tuesday Tip

Tuesday Tip: Too Much Protein?

Tuesday Tip: Too Much Protein? 🍗

Protein is all the rage right now – pushes for its ability to aid weight loss, help keep you full, build muscle and added to pretty much everything in the supermarket now! But is it possible to eat too much?

Yes and no!

It’s important to get enough protein – not only is it essential for health (Amino acids in protein are the building blocks for your body), it’s also great at keeping you fuller for longer, but do we really need as much as it seems? The recommended amount is around 0.75g of protein per kg of bodyweight. So if you weigh 65kg you need around 49g a day – a chicken sandwich, porridge with milk, and a veggie chili will give you well over that easily.

Studies do show that higher amounts of protein keep you fuller for longer and there’s also evidence to suggest that higher intakes of protein can help preserve muscle mass when losing weight. If you’re trying to build

Muscle then higher protein is also important(1.2g to 1.6g per kilo).

But…. just because slightly more protein is good that doesn’t mean loads is better.

Studies have shown over 2g per kg brings very little benefit. There’s no way to store protein so any surplus is used for energy – which means of course if you’re consuming more calories than you expend you will store it as fat. Despite scaremongering about excess protein and kidney issues there is little evidence of this in healthy adults. There is evidence though that excess protein causes changes in gut bacteria and digestive issues.

It’s also worth considering what you’re cutting out in order to get extra protein in. If you’re swapping grains for protein you’ll be consuming less fibre which can lead to gut issues.

For the majority of people, exercising regularly and eating a balanced diet, you’ll be getting plenty of protein. So if you’re reaching for ‘protein’ laden snacks just because you think they’re better then don’t bother, have what you enjoy instead. If you’re adding protein powder to everything just for the sake of it – stop and think whether you really need to. Are you just adding extra calories for the sake of it? As always, balance is key! 🙌🏼

Happy Tuesday 🤗

Xx

Nutrition and Calorie Tips

‘Let them eat cheese!’ 🧀

‘Let them eat cheese!’ 🧀

We’re often told that high protein is a better option when it comes to snacking. Brands capitalise on this by marketing their products based on their protein content. There is evidence that higher protein can help with weight management – but only because it helps to make you feel fuller, which thereby makes you less likely to consume more calories later. The end result is hopefully that you stick to your calories and are able to maintain or lose weight. Total calories are however the most important factor.

This is a great example of that marketing. The protein balls are delicious and do make a great snack if you’re wanting something sweet – but they actually only have 7g protein for 170 cals. The light babybels on the other hand give you a whopping 10g of protein for only 84 cals! And fat too to keep you full!

So if you’re partial to a bit of cheese, fancy something savoury or are really focusing on higher protein snacks then the babybel is definitely a better option. If you fancy something sweeter then go for the protein balls but just be aware they’re not as high protein! Both make great snack options – just read the labels and then make your choice!

🤗xx

Tuesday Tip

Tuesday Tip: Are BCAAs worth it?

Tuesday Tip: Are BCAAs worth it? 🥤

This week’s tip may seem a bit specialist but I’ve had lots of people asking me about these. BCAAs (branched chain amino acids), the supposedly vital pre-workout supplement (usually taken as a drink) which helps muscle recovery and building – are they actually worth taking?

In general – No. Why not?

#1 They don’t build muscle

BCAAs contain leucine, valine and isoleucine, 3 of the 9 essential amino acids for muscle growth/repair. You need all of them, not just those 3. There are also recent studies showing they can actually inhibit muscle growth. Taking them on their own creates competition with other amino acids for absorption, making it harder for the body to use the other “building blocks” to form new muscle tissue.

#2 but…

But “I read that BCAAs increased muscle protein synthesis!” Maybe, but most of these studies have serious limitations, including being conducted by the companies that make them! They’re often compared to water in these studies which isn’t a fair comparison. When compared with other protein sources BCAAs show no benefits.

#3 They don’t reduce muscle soreness.

A recent study showed no reduction in muscle soreness by taking BCAAs which is one of the many benefits proponents of them claim.

#4 They’re empty calories

They’re not zero calories. Think about it – how can they be no calories if they’re amino acids and used for muscle synthesis? Of course they have calories (check the packet!). So you’re taking on extra calories for zero benefit.

#5 They can make you eat more

Recent studies have found BCAAs actually increase your appetite and make you eat more. They also have no impact on fatigue or tiredness. Many reports of this are anecdotal – in most actual studies they have no impact at all.

BCAAs have no nutritional benefits. Unless your diet is devoid of protein, BCAAs will do nothing to help you look better, feel better or perform better. So rather than wasting money and calories on BCAAs just because someone at the gym or on Instagram said they’re ‘vital’ simply have a balanced diet, with normal amounts of protein instead.

Happy Tuesday 🤗

Xx

Tuesday Tip

Tuesday Tip: Avoid the Protein Hype

Tuesday Tip: Avoid the Protein Hype 🍞

Protein enhanced products are everywhere now – protein chocolate, protein porridge, protein crisps…. but is there really any benefit? Or is it just a marketing ploy?

Protein is important for muscle repair and growth so it’s vital for those wishing to build lean muscle. It also helps to keep you fuller for longer, so can aid in weight loss as it means you’re less hungry, and less likely to overeat. This has lead to widespread hype and a proliferation of protein-enhanced versions of existing products. These obviously appeal to people interested in weight loss and fitness but are they really worth the calories?

Well in most cases, no they’re not, and you’d be better off making different choices for those calories. Just because the word “protein” is on the side doesn’t instantly make it healthy, or low calorie (in fact in most cases they’re higher in calories) and often not even a great choice for protein content either!

For example in a special K Protein bar you would get 4g protein, 123 cals and 6 g of sugar… great … but a slice of bread will give you 5g protein for only 95 cals and 2g sugar (and at 5% of the price!). If you wanted to get a typical serving of 25g protein you’d have to have 6.25 bars, nearly 770 cals and 37.5g sugar!! Other examples – branded protein smoothies provide about 8g protein, 220 cals and 33g sugar, Snack packs (e.g graze) give about 7g protein, 130 cals and 1g sugar whereas a glass of semi-skimmed milk is 13g protein, 180 cals and 17 g sugar, and a packet of salted peanuts is 8g protein, 171 cals and 1g sugar etc

So if you enjoy these products – then go for it! But if you’re consuming them because you think they’re healthier or better for you due to the protein content then you’d be far better off saving your pennies and calories and just having a piece of toast instead!

Happy Tuesday – Enjoy your toast 🤗

xx