106 Healthy eating tip : Put protein in perspective. Protein gives us the energy to get up and go—and keep going. Protein in food is broken down into the 20 amino acids that are the body's basic building blocks for growth and energy, and essential for maintaining cells, tissues, and organs. While too much protein can be harmful to people with kidney disease, the latest research suggests that most of us need more high-quality protein than the current dietary recommendations. It also suggests that we need more protein as we age to maintain physical function.
How much protein do you need? Protein needs are based on weight rather than calorie intake. Adults should eat at least 0.8g of lean, high-quality protein per kilogram (2.2lb) of body weight per day. A higher intake may help to lower your risk for obesity, osteoporosis, type 2 diabetes, and stroke. Older adults should aim for 1 to 1.5 grams of lean protein for each kilogram of weight. This translates to 68 to 102g of protein per day for a person weighing 150 lbs. Divide your protein intake equally among meals. Nursing women need about 20 grams more high-quality protein a day than they did before pregnancy to support milk production. The key to ensuring you eat high-quality protein is to try different types, rather than relying on red meat and whole milk dairy products which are high in saturated fat. Replacing processed carbs with high-quality protein can improve your good cholesterol and reduce your risk for heart disease and stroke. You'll also feel full longer, which can help you lose weight. Replace red meat with fish, chicken, or plant-based protein such as beans, nuts, and soy. Replace processed carbohydrates from pastries, cakes, pizza, cookies and chips with fish, beans, nuts, seeds, peas, tofu, chicken, low-fat dairy, and soy products. Snack on nuts and seeds instead of chips, replace baked dessert with Greek yogurt, or swap out slices of pizza for a grilled chicken breast and a side of beans.
A quick definition of healthy carbs and unhealthy carbs. Healthy carbs (sometimes known as good carbs) include whole grains, beans, fruits, and vegetables. Healthy carbs are digested slowly, helping you feel full longer and keeping blood sugar and insulin levels stable. Unhealthy carbs (or bad carbs) are foods such as white flour, refined sugar, and white rice that have been stripped of all bran, fiber, and nutrients. Unhealthy carbs digest quickly and cause spikes in blood sugar levels and energy. Tips for eating more healthy carbs: Whole Grains.
Include a variety of whole grains in your healthy diet, including whole wheat, brown rice, millet, quinoa, and barley. Experiment with different grains to find your favorites.
Make sure you're really getting whole grains. Be aware that the words stone-ground, multi-grain, 100% wheat, or bran can be deceptive. Look for the words "whole grain" or "100% whole wheat" at the beginning of the ingredient list. In the U.S., Canada, and some other countries, check for the Whole Grain Stamps that distinguish between partial whole grain and 100% whole grain.
Try mixing grains as a first step to switching to whole grains. If whole grains like brown rice and whole wheat pasta don't sound good at first, start by mixing what you normally use with the whole grains. You can gradually increase the whole grain to 100%.