Nutrition and Labeling - Protein problems




View Full Version : Protein problems


ImpalaHoarder
07-03-2008, 11:36 PM
I've been trying to up my protein intake as I've just kicked off what is essentially a last-ditch effort to get my butt in shape before two weeks of fencing camp. Problem is, as far as I can tell I should be getting at least 70 grams a day based on my weight and exercise. Today I ate practically nothing but protein- fruit salad for breakfast (okay, not protein) a protein bar for lunch, a yogurt for a snack (nearly all the calories were from protein) and a hamburger and two soy patties for dinner. My calories came in at about the usual 1200. But I only managed to take in 57 grams of protein, despite my efforts.

How can I better get more protein into my diet without increasing my calories? (all the sources I've read said that increasing calories and protein was a recipe for fat gain)


SoulBliss
07-04-2008, 12:14 AM
Protein powders can be purchased that are pure protein.

Personally, I like hemp protein powder. It's got a LOT of fiber too, so much that it has zero net carbs.

RealCdn
07-04-2008, 12:24 AM
I won't comment on the idea of working out hard on 1200 calories, or taking a protein bar for lunch... but ditch the protein bar. Or at least take a really good look at the label. I suspect it's got more carbs than protein (a lot of them do). If you were taking it as a snack I'd suggest substituting a straight whey protein shake in it's place. Your soy patties are likely low cal but likely have more carbs than protein. Most hamburger patties have lots of fat for the cals (my next experiment will be to mix beef and turkey to see how it goes). You didn't mention vegetables in the diet above. Are you eating any?

And at less than 20% protein you did not eat all protein all day. I'm not good at working with 1200 calorie diets (too low for me) but if you start looking at each component I suspect you'll find the areas where you can change things around.

An example:

Breakfast - whole grain toast (120), peanut butter (100), orange (62)
Lunch - 6oz grilled boneless skinless chicken breast (165), 2 cups spinach (13), tsp oil (40), Tbsp balsamic vinegar (15)
Dinner - 6oz grilled pork tenderloin (204), 2 cups broccoli (49), tsp butter (34)
Snacks - apple (81), 1oz soy nuts (134), protein shake (135)

Total - 1152cals - 42% protein - 122g

I used some items I personally wouldn't eat (hate spinach). It can be done, but it will likely be a truly boring existence. You won't be able to add anything other than spices to meats and you'll probably get sick of grilled meats. I suspect if you're training hard that 1200 calories isn't enough food, but I'll leave that up to you.


RealCdn
07-04-2008, 12:27 AM
Oh, and I should have added - 16 weeks ago I started a strength training program. I've increased my protein, and calories, and have been losing weight more consistently than I was before.

KLK
07-04-2008, 12:32 AM
Try to work cheese into the mix (i.e. some parmigiano or goat cheese or feta on a salad or on a tofu patty). Also pick up some raw/unsalted nuts -- almonds and the like -- and have those as a snack to up both protein and calories. I also eat a serving of peanut butter as a snack with some full-fat milk (more protein).

ddc
07-04-2008, 12:34 AM
Hmmm, ...egg whites, non fat powdered milk. ? ?

Yea, one of the guys on another board that I frequent did a month long experiment where he upped his protein but also his calories to about 3000 per day. He gained about 10 lbs and his fat % went up, so his conclusion was that it didn't help him gain much muscle :(


Good luck :)

RealCdn
07-04-2008, 12:54 AM
Silly question, but was he lifting as well? :)

Sorry, I suspect he was. A lot depends on weight, overall activity levels, etc. I know some people lift so heavy that the rest of the day they do nothing. Bulking is a science (one which I know very little about). From what I understand most people will gain fat as well as muscle during a bulk, then do a cutting phase to lose the fat. I was watching one woman on another board doing probably 2700 for a while. She's now in her cutting phase and has dropped ~ 10lbs and 4% BF in the last two months - eating ~1700 cals (and we're talking about someone who is 124lbs). She's very active though (scary active).

ddc
07-04-2008, 01:05 AM
Well, it's a bodyweight forum, so he was doing bodyweight stuff-squats, pull ups, chin ups, push ups, etc.
His overall goal is to lose weight, but have good muscle definition also, so he decided it was counter productive to his goal. He's going back to lower calories.

ImpalaHoarder
07-04-2008, 01:14 AM
Wow. I'm amazed I managed to not notice all the foods I could have been eating instead. I think I have a tendency to eat a ton of processed foods because I am a horrible cook, and that's probably not helping any of this. Still, I bet I can find some sort of basically pre-cooked meat thing with less fat than the soy patties/hamburger. And protein shakes will almost certainly help.

So yeah, thanks for the help. I am, in my experience, an incredible amount of a not going to lose weight on lots of calories person. I'm short, relatively light, and blessed with a metabolism that thinks 170 is exactly the right weight for me (I've been seesawing back and forth between 165 and 170 for months). I'm maybe going to up it an extra hundred calories a day, or even more every few days, just to keep my body from getting too efficient, but I don't think I can handle much more than 1500 calories a day without my weight loss stalling, and extra weight is one of my biggest problems as far as being able to keep up with other people in physical activities, so I want to reduce that as much as I can.

WarMaiden
07-04-2008, 03:04 AM
Here's what I have for breakfast:

Berry-Spinach Protein Shake
1 cup nonfat milk
1/2 cup frozen chopped spinach
3/4 cup frozen blueberries
1 ounce soy protein isolate
2 tbsp ground flaxseed
1/4 tsp ground ginger

Put that all in a blender and blend. Takes just a few minutes to prepare. Nutrition info:

Calories = 338
Fat = 8 grams / 21% of calories
Carbohydrate = 37 grams (of which 11 grams are fiber) / 40% of calories
Protein = 37 grams / 39% of calories
Glycemic Load = 13
Inflammation factor = 450 (strongly anti-inflammatory)

Supplies:
194% of vitamin A
12% vitamin C
50% calcium
37% iron

Also a good source of riboflavin, folate, magnesium, phosphorous, copper, vitamin K, and manganese.

That would get you halfway to your protein goal, for only a quarter of your calories. PLUS so many other nutritional benefits.

RealCdn
07-04-2008, 09:43 AM
Well, it's a bodyweight forum, so he was doing bodyweight stuff-squats, pull ups, chin ups, push ups, etc.
His overall goal is to lose weight, but have good muscle definition also, so he decided it was counter productive to his goal. He's going back to lower calories.

Okay, well, part of the difference is that I'm talking about a combination of bodyweight and bar-loaded lifts. Having said all that the concept of bulking (increasing muscle) is something you do when you're at lower bodyfat levels. Depending on what fat levels you're at you will likely only maintain muscle or minimize muscle loss when eating at a deficit. Although I've seen studies where it's possible to build muscle on a deficit I think it's the exception, not the rule. Right now I'm more interested in weight loss, lurking around learning about bulking and cutting, which I'll worry about more when I'm close to goal.

RealCdn
07-04-2008, 09:48 AM
Wow. I'm amazed I managed to not notice all the foods I could have been eating instead. I think I have a tendency to eat a ton of processed foods because I am a horrible cook, and that's probably not helping any of this. Still, I bet I can find some sort of basically pre-cooked meat thing with less fat than the soy patties/hamburger. And protein shakes will almost certainly help.

The best advice I can give you is learn to cook. :D

Processed foods will be tougher to deal with. A lot are higher in sodium as well. Lean meats and a grill aren't that tough to deal with. I cook a little fancier than that but I know people use something like a George Foreman grill to cook simple items without a lot of fuss.

I'm truly amazed how much better I feel having dumped most of the processed foods out of my diet. You get more bulk for your calories, which helps with hunger (always a problem in the past for me). Somewhere along the way I've lost interest in a lot of the stuff I used to eat with abandon. Of course, if I do say so myself, I'm a good cook, so for me it wasn't as hard a jump. :o

KLK
07-04-2008, 09:48 AM
I'm a terrible cook/I hate cooking too lol.

And my body has also decided that a certain weight is my *ideal* -- around 186lbs. *I* don';t think it's ideal, but my body LOVES that weight lol and thus I hit a plateau. Blagh.


Wow. I'm amazed I managed to not notice all the foods I could have been eating instead. I think I have a tendency to eat a ton of processed foods because I am a horrible cook, and that's probably not helping any of this. Still, I bet I can find some sort of basically pre-cooked meat thing with less fat than the soy patties/hamburger. And protein shakes will almost certainly help.

So yeah, thanks for the help. I am, in my experience, an incredible amount of a not going to lose weight on lots of calories person. I'm short, relatively light, and blessed with a metabolism that thinks 170 is exactly the right weight for me (I've been seesawing back and forth between 165 and 170 for months). I'm maybe going to up it an extra hundred calories a day, or even more every few days, just to keep my body from getting too efficient, but I don't think I can handle much more than 1500 calories a day without my weight loss stalling, and extra weight is one of my biggest problems as far as being able to keep up with other people in physical activities, so I want to reduce that as much as I can.

Mel
07-04-2008, 05:10 PM
I eat between 1200-1500 calories a day and exercise hard most days- heavy lifting lifting and cardio. I usually get between 120-150 grams of protein from FOOD, not bars or powders. Here is a typical menu:

Meal 1: A giant mug of coffee with 1 tbs of evaporated milk. organic chicken sausage, 2 egg whites, big pile of spinach, onions and mushrooms omelet. 1/2 c. gluten free rice chex or 1/3 c. oatmeal.

Meal 2: 1/2 c. lowfat cottage cheese mixed with 1/2 c. danon lite yogurt (ok, that's pretty processed and I count the yogurt as a carb, NOT protein.

Meal 3: a HUGE pile of mixed salad greens, a few baby carrots, peppers, mushrooms, 1/3 c. chick peas or black beans, 1 tablespoon Newmans Own Lighten Up Balsamic dressing and 4 oz. cooked chicken breast cubed.

Meal 4: a medium apple and 2 pollyo cheese sticks.

Meal 5: some sort of lean protein meat or fish, a big pile of broccoli and a giant salad

snack: a very little bit of yogurt and strawberries.

I'm 5'2 and maintain on this. About once a week I have an apple and way too much peanut butter attack.

Look at lowfat cottage cheese, egg whites, chicken breast, turkey breast, fish, fish, fish, shrimp, pork tenderloin etc for sources of lean protein.

Mel

tiredofbeingafatmom
07-05-2008, 04:42 PM
Mel...

I am in awe!
I just posted asking about could too much protein kill me!
can I pick your brain on your diet?

BlueToBlue
07-06-2008, 05:17 AM
When I was losing weight, I ate around 1200-1400 calories per day and averaged around 80 to 120g of protein. I don't eat any protein bars, protein shakes, or protein powder. At less than 1400 calories per day, I needed to eat real food--those things all had far too many calories for far too small an amount of food. I also don't each much cheese, other than fat free cream cheese, again because it is so high in calories for the amount of food it provides.

For breakfast I eat 1 cup of plain, fat free, Greek yogurt with 1/2 cup cereal and fresh berries. This is over 20g of protein right there, requires no cooking, and is around 200 calories (my cereal is only 60 cal per 1/2 cup).

For lunch, I always eat 2 to 4 oz of lean protein. In some cases this is just a sandwich/wrap with lunch meat, tuna, or precooked chicken strips (again, very little cooking required). Frequently I just take 4 oz of chicken, pound it flat with a meat mallot, and saute it with a little cooking spray. Then I serve it over pre-cooked polenta (from a tube) with a sauce of some sort (low cal spaghetti sauce would work if you don't want to cook). Sometimes I add spinach, cheese, or other veggies.

Dinner always has to include 4 to 6 oz of lean protein. There are lots of options that don't necessarily involve much prep or cooking. Chicken or fish broiled and served with a sauce and side of veggies or diced and tossed in a salad, for example. There's all sorts of ready made marinades and seasoning mixes you can get to flavor the meat. Pork tenderloin is another great option; it comes pre-seasoned and you just throw it in the oven, set the timer, and forget about it until the timer dings. Chili is another great meal with lots of protein and very easy to prepare. Or tacos made with lean ground beef or 99% fat free ground turkey (have the taco meat over lettuce with pinto beans, peppers, onions, and salsa, instead of with tortillas, for a super low cal meal).

I try to make sure both lunch and dinner both include 20g of protein. So with breakfast, that's gets me to 60g and I only have to make up 20g of protein with snacks to have consumed 80g of protein for the day.

Here are some of my favorite high protein snacks (most involve little or no cooking):

Yogurt (20g protein per serving)
Cottage cheese (14g protein per serving)
Tofu (7g protein per serving). Try pressing the water out and sauteing it or marinating it and then baking it. If you live near a Trader Joe's, they sell baked tofu that is fabulous and has 16g protein per serving. Or make fruit smoothies and add some silken tofu.
Eggs or egg whites (6g protein per serving). Make yourself an egg-white omelet and add some reduced fat cheese for some more protein. Or I sometimes take a hard-boiled egg and mix the yolk with dijon mustard to make a sort of deviled egg.
Oatmeal (5g protein per serving) or oat bran (up to 7g protein per serving, depending on the brand)
Low carb wrap with one wedge laughing cow cheese (7.5g protein)
Low carb wrap with refried beans (12g protein). Add a laughing cow cheese wedge for an extra 2.5g protein.
Tuna or salmon. There are some great flavored tuna options, like BumbleBee's tuna sensations or the tuna and salmon sold in pouches. A can of bumblebee sensations sun-dried tomato tuna has 18g of protein and makes a great snack.
Kippered herring or sardines (16g protein per serving)
1 tbsp SnacLite Power PB (http://www.gnc.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2761103&cp=2167100.3032666&parentPage=family) (6g protein). Stir it into your oatmeal or eat it on a slice of high fiber bread.
Trader Joe's also sells egg-white salad that is fabulous and has 7g to 9g protein per serving, depending on which variety you buy (they have three, spicy ranchero, chive, and salmon and dill)
Yogurt Vegetable Salad: 1/4 cup plain, fat free yogurt, 1 tsp dijon mustard, 2.5 oz diced cucumber, 1.5 oz halved cherry tomatoes (use sun-dried tomatoes or roasted red pepper if fresh cherry tomatoes aren't available), 1/4 cup chickpeas, 1 tbsp minced fresh basil or mint, sea salt and pepper to taste. Mix it all up and eat--no cooking. This makes one serving at 85 calories and 9g protein.