Nutrition
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Special report

Protein: What do you need and when do you need it?

Photo by JANIFEST / iStock

The latest craze

How about insect protein? Sounds icky right? Cricket protein is considered one of the latest protein trends. However, it is also one of the oldest. Humans have been eating insects for a long time. Cricket protein is rich in bio-available protein, fibre, vitamins, minerals and healthy fats. In other words, cricket powder is easily digested. A recent study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry indicates that these nutrients are more soluble and have better uptake than from beef or wheat.

The best for you

Typically, you’d use a specific gauge like protein quality tests to determine which protein is best for particular needs. The most common criterion for measuring the quality of a protein is Biological Value (BV), which is the amount of nitrogen (body protein in grams) replaceable by 100 grams of protein in an adult diet. Proteins with the highest BV are considered by many to be the best for promoting growth.

Whey is a complete protein with a high BV. It contains all the essential and nonessential amino acids and boasts the highest branched-chain amino acid (BCAA) content found in nature.

Plant protein, primarily pea protein, is a great option for vegans, vegetarians and those with allergies to dairy and eggs. Not only is it hypoallergenic, it’s high in BCAAs and has a 98% digestion rate—meaning the body is able to use and process most of the amino acids per serving.

Pace yourself

The most commonly asked questions are what and when to eat for weight loss, better health and performance. Try protein pacing. This is the scientifically proven combination of eating healthy, lean, protein foods at the right time of day to maximize health and performance. It has been proven to aid in weight loss, cardiovascular health and athletic performance.

The basics

  • Consume at least 1.4g of protein per kg daily. Note that a recent study showed that individuals who consumed 2g of protein per kg daily, showed significantly greater improvements to performance compared to those who consumed 1g of protein per kg daily.
  • Spread protein over four to six meals per day.
  • Consume about 20g to 30g of protein, or 25% to 35% of your total protein intake, per meal.

There are several advantages to consuming protein shakes in place of whole food protein sources throughout the day, including convenience, faster absorption for post-workout protein requirements, better absorption and digestion, a flood of amino acids and improved body composition.

Whatever source works for you and your lifestyle and allows you to get the protein you need, is the best. Whether it’s fresh eggs, a shake, or crickets, find what you like and be mindful to consume what your body needs. No more, no less.

Karen Lee is the founder of Forever Fit Movement. She is a fitness expert and sports nutritionist. Karen is also a published writer and contributor on numerous topics relating to health and fitness for various print and online publications.

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Uploaded by Karen Lee