Why I think a lot more about protein now
I hope you had a wonderful Easter break. It was so lovely to slow the pace down and spend more time just hanging with the family. On the blog this week I published a new recipe - Homemade Nutty Granola. I have shared other granola recipes on the blog before but when I was creating this recipe I wanted to choose some ingredients that would have a higher protein content.
I am in the perimenopausal phase of life and all the reading and research I have done has highlighted the importance of eating enough protein. Dr Stacy Sims is an excellent source of information on this topic so can highly recommend checking out her website. I also bought her book Next Level and it was a game changer for me so highly recommend it for any active perimenopausal women.
In her blog post Harness the Perimenopause “Power Window” Sims recommends the following for active women:
Broadly speaking, women should aim for 1.7 to 2.4 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day. (1 kilogram = 2.2 pounds, so to figure your weight in lbs to kg, just divide by 2.2.) Women in the menopause transition should target the higher end of that range (2.2 to 2.4 grams per kilogram), aiming for the lower end on easier days and the higher end on very heavy training days. Research also indicates that when undergoing a calorie deficit, higher levels of protein intake help you keep your lean mass, and lose body fat.
Equally important as how much protein you eat is when you eat it. Your body responds best to an even protein distribution throughout the day. Pre-menopausal women should aim for 30 grams of high-quality protein within 30 to 45 minutes after exercise and regular doses of 30 to 40 grams of protein at each meal and 15 to 20 at your snacks. As you reach peri and postmenopause, your anabolic resistance increases, so you want to aim to have that post-exercise protein closer to 40 grams.
By making sure you’re taking in regular doses of protein throughout the day, you’ll maintain a good nitrogen balance (i.e. the equilibrium between protein intake and losses) for lean mass development. This will help improve your recovery, reduce post-exercise soreness, and lower your risk for injury as well.
If we take the above recommendation to have 2.2 to 2.4 grams of protein per kilogram, then a 70kg woman should aim to consume between 154 and 168 grams of protein per day. This of course may vary depending on individual factors such as age, activity level, and overall health status. It is important that you do not take my calculation as health advice and before making any changes to your diet you talk to a healthcare provider or registered dietitian to determine the appropriate amount of protein for your specific needs. But there is a very high chance that like me, if you started tracking your food to see how much protein you consume each day, you would find that you are not eating anywhere near the amount of protein that is recommended.
With this knowledge now, I am trying to make sure I am bumping up the protein content of foods I make where I can. While my latest granola recipe isn’t necessarily high protein, it has a much higher protein content than previous recipes with the addition of soy protein crisps and buckwheat kernels. I don’t have this every day, it is more often on rest days as my usual breakfast is a protein powder based smoothie. It is high in protein and is perfect for recovery after my morning exercise. I have been using True Protein WPI90 Vanilla for about five years now, love it, and would highly recommend it. Ideally, I would consume all of my protein from food but the reality is that having a big protein hit from the protein powder at breakfast makes my life so much easier and lets me get much closer to obtaining my protein goals.
I am keen to hear - do you think you are getting enough protein?
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