bars, powders and protein shakes; do you really need it?

A fellow CrossFitter of mine stopped me in the parking lot and asked if I wanted a box of cookie dough protein bars. Since I’m never in the habit of turning down free stuff, I accepted it and took it to the break room at work. This morning, my desk coordinator picked one up and remarked, “280 calories? I can eat this pack of Ritz Peanut Butter Crackers and they’re only 200!

Before arguing for or against one or the other, I quickly checked the labels to see the most important ingredients and here is the comparison:

— The protein bar contained 280 calories, 6 g fat, 20 g protein, 33 g carbohydrates and 400 mg sodium. The peanut butter crackers were as mentioned, 200 calories but contained 11g fat, 4g protein, 22g carbs and 310mg sodium.

If I was choosing a snack I would go for the protein bar – probably only half – but as a rule I don’t eat these regularly as many of them have too many carbs and calories that I just don’t want .

So how much protein do you need? A simple way to calculate your daily protein needs is to take the number 0.36 and multiply it by your weight. If you exercise, increase it to 0.5. Anything beyond that is wasted.

Dana Ellis Hunnes, PhD, a hospital clinical dietitian at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center and an adjunct assistant professor at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, believes people can achieve their desired goals by ditching supplements and committing to healthy eating. with real foods that contain protein. Proteins and carbohydrates are also essential for rebuilding muscles that are broken down by exercise.

That being said, before you spend all your savings on the giant jar of soy protein, check out these real food options to fuel your muscles:

— Lean meats: Turkey, chicken, fish and other types of seafood are an excellent source of protein. Even beef, if you choose lean cuts, can do the trick.

— Beans: If meat isn’t your thing, you can try plant-based protein sources. Beans, peas and lentils are all good sources.

— Yogurt and cottage cheese: These milk-based sources of protein are fairly easy to digest. Have a carton of yogurt about 30 minutes before working out.

— Nuts: All nuts are an excellent source of protein. Keep some in your gym bag and snack!

While there is a place for protein supplements, the best way to get protein is from real food. If you need a protein snack, get there before grabbing a protein bar or shake. It’s better for your body as well as your bank account!

Kathy Hansen has over 30 years of experience in the health and fitness industry. She can be reached by email at [email protected]

Richard Dement

The author Richard Dement