Difficulty with protein?

Hey Dee;

There is quite a bit of misinformation perpetuated by the food industry that has vilified so many good foods through the "low-fat whole grain" mantra, which has subsequently been debunked by much respected peer-reviewed research. Namely:

Dietary cholesterol intake affects cholesterol levels. Just not true. Enjoy your eggs and shellfish. Egg yolks are good for you and contain essential nutrients. What drives up "bad" cholesterol elements are sugar and processed wheat products.

Animal fat is bad. Also not true. You can enjoy red meat guilt free. After all, we evolved as hunter gatherers over millions of years. Red meat has been a staple of our diet forever and does not increase heart disease risk.

High total cholesterol levels lead to heart disease. Half-true. There is no correlation between a high total number and heart disease risk. There is, however correlation between high Triglyceride levels and low HDL (good Cholesterol). The best way to drop Triglyceride levels is to cut out sugars and processed carbs like wheat. The best way to raise HDL is with the good fats you mention and with exercise.

Net - your protein options are much broader than what you think. The only fats you should avoid are the man-made ones because they can cause inflammation (vegetable oils, trans fats).

Lastly, as others have mentioned - what's most important is not some rigid formula, but rather what gives you the best balance of satiety, energy, blood sugar and weight control, and lipid levels. A diet rich in natural, non-processed real foods low in starches and regular exercise should get you there easily.


Oh Dee, I do hope you are not a dietician. I am currently in a day treatment program for binge eating disorder and all they stress is "intuitive eating" which means eat when hungry, stop when full, and include all of your favorite foods. Blah blah blah. Well, I did that, and since Feb I've gained 42 pounds. And I wasn't a string bean to begin with.

How many grams of protein are you eating each day. The actual requirement is about 0.8 g / kg of body weight. This means if you weight say 60 kg you only "need" about 60 g of quality protein.

There is no problem to make up your calories with fat. Fat is great! As mentioned by other posters the only bad fats are transfats, and manmade fats (this includes the commercial vegetables oils - canola, etc). Preferably do not repeatedly fry in the same fat (but animal fat is safest if you did do this).

Oh no Kathy - I'm not - this is not my article, I was just posting it as I felt it underscored what Dave was saying. So sorry to hear of your experience. I'm finding that everywhere I turn there is different, conflicting advice, each one stated in such an authoritative manner and dismissive of the other "wrong" approaches. Each day I'm getting more confused about what to eat.

Thank you for your input Christopher. The bit about triglycerides is particularly interesting to me (I'm just starting to learn about triglycerides) and I'm eager to see the difference in my blood tests in October now that I've gone so low with processed carbs. I admit I was a carb addict all my life and would eat all kinds of processed junk. Not so much straight-up sugary things or soda, but lots of crackers, cheddar flavoured popcorn, pasta etc.

My last blood test in May/June (before I turned things around) showed excellent LDL and low overall cholesterol, but low HDL and high triglycerides. Makes sense with what you've said above, and I'm expecitng/hoping to see lower triglycerides and higher HDL in October, fingers crossed.

The red meat thing would be hard to wrap my head around even if I read several studies - it's just so engrained in me to avoid it.

Thank you JustLooking, this is great - I've never seen that formula before. Using that, I'm well above my protein needs... which has been a challenge to do and is probably why my body is telling me to stop!!

Oh, how frustrating. Actually, each day I'm getting more confused too. I guess these secret is that each person is different and had different needs. Best wishes on cracking the code!!!

You too!

If you are having trouble eating something I would say that is your body's way of saying enough. I have no trouble eating my ~60-80 grams of protein per day, but then my meals are a lot different than yours and I am aiming at a macro-nutrient ratios of 5% carbs, 20-25% protein and 65-70% fat. For example, my typical breakfast is a 3 egg omelette made with 1/4 cut heavy cream and either bacon or sausage, lunch is a raw vegetable with 1 oz cheese, and dinner is meat with one or more vegetable sides. Note that I do not really count the protein and fat on a daily basis and I only count carbs based on meals that I have found safe for me.

OldTech, when you say 5% carbs, are you counting total carbs or net carbs (minus fibre)?

Try and make sure that the 'fatty' foods like nuts or vegetables you consume have the highest amount of protein, so broccoli/spinach would be a better substitute than carrots or peas. Foods like beans have decent amounts of protein, but besides that you would really have to just eat more lean meats, try getting lean steak mince or change up the way you cook your chicken might help with eating it. If having another protein shake in the afternoon/night would be more convenient that would also be something to consider.
All the best :)

That's really helpful - thank you Padraig. I was focusing on just non-starchy veg, but I should look closer at their protein content. I'm also going to try to split it up more throughout the day.

Hi Dee,

I was overweight for so many years, and now am at a normal weight (after developing Diabetes).

I basically eat 3 meals a day, each one based on a protein (cheese or eggs for breakfast, and meat/chicken/fish for lunch and dinner) with a salad and cooked vegetables. A vegetable soup at the beginning of a meal is useful if you feel especially hungry.

For dessert (when I feel I need it) - nuts, 100% chocolate, (its like baking chocolate, bitter but you get used to it), a small glass of red wine.

Sometimes between meals, some cheese on a piece of cucumber, a small piece of fish or salami with a vegetable..

Water throughout the day. (I add lemon for some vitamin C), , and of course coffee with full cream

I don't get up from a meal feeling overfull, just satiated. I don't weight the protein or anything. I find that overall I eat much less than I used to. It came about naturally, now that I got rid of those carb cravings.

Its easy, don't need to weight, measure, or keep track of anything. It works.

Just go with the flow....
Good luck

BTW Hba1c, cholesterol are great.

Hey Dee

I was the same as you: I loved processed carbs much more than sugary foods. I could eat a whole bag of corn chips in the blink of an eye. My friends used to joke that bread to me was nothing more than "raw toast."

Needless to say when I went cold turkey on carbs and sugars my triglycerides dropped from the mid 100's to the 50's. I eat as much fat and meats as I like, and enjoy bacon and eggs almost every morning. I've been eating this way for almost three years now and make sure to go for extensive physical every year, part of which includes screening for plaque in my arteries. I have zero.

What's important is that you find non-processed foods that you like. If you feel queasy after eating more than a certain quantity of a given protein, choose something that you like more. Your body is telling you something. As long as you are eating real foods and excluding starches and starchy vegetables, you will find a diet that gives you the satiety and energy you require. I think you'll also be pleasantly surprised by your updated HDL and triglyceride numbers after the switch.

Also, I don't know if you saw this recent article from the New York Times, but it should help assuage your hesitance to incorporate red meat into your diet. Of course, I'm only suggesting this if you like the taste of meat and are reluctant to eat it because of health concerns. If you don't enjoy the taste, then by all means, go for other sources of protein. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/02/health/low-carb-vs-low-fat-diet.html?action=click&pgtype=Homepage®ion=CColumn&module=MostEmailed&version=Full&src=me&WT.nav=MostEmailed&_r=0

All the best!