I hope this article finds you all enjoying the holiday season! We all know 2020 is just days away, and some love the idea of resolutions and such. However, I’ve always been of the mindset that in order to make a change, why not just start now?
So I wanted to give you one simple dietary concept to follow if optimal body composition interests you. Optimal body composition usually suggests a healthy metabolism. Now, I’m no anthropologist or nutrition scientist, but if you glance through some literature, you’ll find that most animals (humans included...) have one nutrient that moves our satiety gauge. When adequate amounts have been achieved, this nutrient naturally promotes satiety (feeling full). That nutrient seems to be PROTEIN. Adequate protein has always been a driver of satiety. And animals will eat...and eat...and eat until that protein requirement is met.
Let’s do a thought experiment. Try eating an excessive amount of your favorite guilty pleasure. Let’s take Ben & Jerry’s. I’ll bet most people could crush a pint or two of their favorite flavor. Not only that, but I’ll also bet they’ll feel hungry again in a couple hours max. Why? There’s several reasons, but one could simply be protein needs weren’t met.
Now take another example. Try eating as much ribeye steak as you possibly can. I guarantee that you will not only feel more full, but you also won’t be hungry for hours on end. Why? Protein needs have been met and our body is satisfied.
What is the P:E Ratio?
See, we do NOT use dietary protein for energy. We use it for structure, from the genetic to the tissue level. The two main energy sources we have are obviously FATS and CARBS. One concept I’ve recently come across is called the Protein to Energy Ratio (P:E Ratio). This is a ratio of the amount of protein (or non-energy) to carbs and fat (energy) in a particular food. This is how it’s calculated:
Ex. 1: Ground Beef (4 oz.)
- Protein: 21 grams
- Fat: 17 grams
- Carbs: 0 grams
- Fiber: 0 grams
- P:E Ratio: 21/17 = 1.2
Ex. 2: Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Fudge Brownie (2/3 cup)...This sounds amazing!
- Protein: 5 grams
- Fat: 18 grams
- Carbs: 42 grams
- Fiber: 2 grams
- NET carbs: 40 grams (subtract fiber)
- P.E Ratio: 5/(40 + 18) = 0.09
So you can see that the P:E ratio is obviously higher in a serving of beef versus a serving of ice cream. The idea is to get that P:E ratio at 1:1 or higher. And the best way to do that is to think “Meat n’ Green.” A higher P:E ratio will essentially upregulate your metabolism while leaving you feeling full and satisfied. Of course, if you’re used to the Stupid, I mean...Standard American Diet (SAD), there could be a temporary adaptation period where you feel pretty lousy. The SAD is dreadfully low in protein and nutrients, but excessively high in energy (sugar and fat). So, for the first time in human history, we can have obesity AND malnutrition in the same person. Think about that one for a second...
How much protein should I eat?
As far as far as the amount of protein you should aim for, it depends on body weight. The RDA recommends 0.8 grams/kg. So if someone weighs 150 pounds, that’s about 70 kg. So, 70 multiplied by 0.8 equals out to 56 grams of protein a day.
The only problem with that RDA recommendation is that it’s the MINIMUM amount to prevent MALNUTRITION. That’s right. Shocked me too. What about the OPTIMAL amount? Optimal, according to some literature, seems to be anywhere from 1.2-2.0 grams/kg depending on activity level. Now, that same person that weighs 70 kg (150 lbs.) is looking at anywhere from 84-140 grams of protein per day.
So we really should be aiming for a certain amount of protein as a benchmark every day. We can then use fats and carbs as levers to provide us with additional energy if we need it depending on our goals. If fat loss is a goal, it makes sense to have a high P:E ratio. Take a look at the nice graphic below for a nice visual representation.
Hope this helps! Happy New Year and stay tuned for some exciting things in the near future with GFC. As always, please feel free to reply to this email and give us your feedback!
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