When and How to Supplement Protein
I hear a lot from my girls that they have specific goals, know roughly how they need to eat, what calories they need and the macros they need to reach their goals. The biggest problem I come across with my girls is that they just simply CAN'T reach their calories or CAN'T reach their macros, specifically their protein macro, through their diet alone.
This tends to happen when:
- You have a small appetite
- You are changing your diet drastically (to a large surplus or large deficit or are changing your macros)
- You start a restrictive diet like vegan/vegetarian etc.
- You are uneducated on the foods in different food groups
- You are financially incapable of buying enough food to keep up with your macros
Luckily, there is a way around all of these and they are called SUPPLEMENTS!
But first I want to talk about...
Nutrition through your food
If you know anything about me you know I am a HUGE advocate for getting nutrition from real food sources. I love eating, cooking (check out my COOKBOOK AND NUTRITION GUIDE for whole recipes with amazing nutrition) and most importantly food is complex and has many different vitamins, minerals and other types of nutrition in it, besides macro nutrients, which are all important to help your body be all around healthy.
We are so focused on the big 3 - fats, carbs and proteins because they help us see physical results and be specific about how we end up looking on the outside but how about on the inside? We are so focused on these top macro nutrients sometimes we forget food is WAY more than just these three things.
For example, a 100g chicken breast not only comes with 27g of protein, but it also comes packed with vitamins like:
- Vitamin A: helps boost immune system, vision and reproduction health. Being low in vitamin A can cause acne, dry skin, dry eyes, delayed growth, infections, infertility
- Iron: used by your body to create some hormones, and helps make hemoglobin which carries oxygen in the blood around your body. Being low in iron can cause you to be tired, pale skinned, short of breath, easy loss of consciousness.
- Vitamin B-6 (Cobalamin): Improves mood and aids in reducing symptoms of depression, and aids in hemoglobin production. Being low in vitamin b-6 can cause weakened immune function, depression and confusion.
- Magnesium: increases exercise performance, can lower blood pressure, has anti-inflamatory benefits and helps fight depression. Being low in magnesium can cause mood swings/irregular mood, can weaken your bones and cause bad headaches.
- Calcium: helps build and maintain strong bones and helps support functions of muscles, heart and nerves. Being low in calcium causes cramps in muscles/spasms, fatigue, dental problems, depression, painful premenstral syndrome and skin issues.
While 1 scoop of protein powder comes with 25g of protein it only is accompanied by:
So as you can see by looking at the list comparisons, a chicken breast is going to supply you with much more nutrients than a protein powder even though they are very close in relation to their protein macro.
So you may be wondering: if protein supplements aren't as good as real protein sources...
It's simple, at the end of the day. If you have health and body goals try your best to eat your nutrients through your food. But, like I said above, sometimes factors of life get in the way and we simply just need some help. Something is better than nothing when it comes to nutrients.
Supplements should be used simply for HELP! An addition to an already fruitful, healthy and diverse diet. NOT as a substitution to eating actual food.
So let's tackle some of the causes I listed above for not being able to reach your macros and how you can use supplements to change that narrative for yourself.
- You have a small appetite: if you have a small appetite and find it hard to reach your calories and macros for the day a protein supplement is a SUPER easy way to add both calories, carbs, fats and proteins to your diet depending on which protein you choose (some have more or less calories/carbs/fats in them than others so make sure you're choosing the right one). If you are looking for overall help with getting more calories/protein/carbs and fats use my code:KALI20 for 20% off and try the "1UP Whey" flavour: COOKIES AND CREAM it is the highest in calories, carbs and fats and comes with 25g of protein per scoop.
- You are changing your diet drastically: if you are making a big change to your calories or macros supplementing your protein in while you adjust your diet and figure out what is best for you is a great way to stay consistent while trying to make these changes.
- You start a restrictive diet like vegan/vegetarian: since most people get their protein from meat sources prior to turning vegan or vegetarian, when you choose to go vegetarian or vegan you often end up needing to spend time figuring out replacements for your animal products that you actually enjoy and that may take some time to do. So, like I said in #2, you should utilize vegan protein supplements to keep you consistently on track to your goals until you have settled in to an all around good vegan/vegetarian diet or use the supplement permanently to insure you are getting full protein/amino profiles (without meat it is hard to get all the proteins your body needs). Use my code: KALI20 for 20% off and try the "1UP Organic Vegan Protein" to get your protein in!
- You are uneducated on the foods in different food groups: this is when supplements really help you stay on track. When you are unsure of the foods that supply you with protein or other nutrients you should definitely give yourself an easy alternative, supplement, while you spend some time learning what sources of the nutrients you may need are that you actually like!
- You are financially incapable of buying enough food to keep up with your macros: this one is a real problem people have. Vegan foods and good meat is generally expensive. Luckily, protein supplements are actually more affordable than they seem. For example you may buy 6 chicken breasts for around $30, which only gives you 6 servings of protein where you can get 28-30 servings of protein in any one tub of protein for around $50 AND I got you with my 20% off code: KALI20 for all your 1UP NUTRITION supplements so you can get 5 times the protein servings for $40, only $10 more than your chicken! NOTE: this doesn't mean you shouldn't buy chicken but you can buy less and save more money if you financially can't keep up with the demand of your macros.
Thank you for reading through this post and I hope you learned a lot! I hope I have made a good argument for and against protein supplements and that I've fully stressed the importance of trying your best to eat your nutrients before supplementing. Supplementing is an excellent tool to reach your body and health goals when help is needed but should only be used as a tool, not as your lifeline.
Check out MY COOKBOOK for recipes and more nutrition advice.
Thank you in advance for supporting me through using my code: KALI20 at checkout on www.1upnutrition.com.
Please tag me on instagram (@kalinatesa/@bootybykali) if you use my code and don't forget to share this blog post with all of your friends so they can learn a little more about protein supplementation.
Stay healthy, do it with love and live passionately every day ♥️