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How Much Protein Do I Need?

With Paul Kriegler, RD, CPT

Season 6, Episode 5 | January 24, 2023

If you ask any of the Life Time dietitians — including this episode’s guest, Paul Krieger, RD, CPT — they’ll note that one of the most important things you can do for your nutrition is make sure you’re consuming enough quality protein. Kriegler explains why this macronutrient is so critical for health, and he shares how much protein you need, what animal and plant sources are the best, and ways to support your body in properly digesting and absorbing it.

Paul Kriegler, RD, CPT, is the director of nutritional products at Life Time.

The answer to “how much protein do I need?” is individualized and may vary depending on your goals. Yet Kriegler says the simplest way to meet your needs is to aim to consume one gram of protein per pound of lean body mass that you have each day. Some signs you’re not getting enough protein in your diet might include the following:

  • You’re hungry a lot. Protein has a strong satiety signal, so if you have issues managing your appetite or find yourself hungry a couple hours after eating, the balance of protein in your diet may be off.
  • Your recovery from exercise is slow. If you’re sore two to three days after a workout, that can be a clear sign you’re lacking in protein.
  • You can’t build muscle. This often applies to aging adults, but for all groups, it can signal that you can’t maintain the muscle tissue you have.

If you’re noticing any of these signs but feel like you’re hitting your daily protein target, it could be that your body is not properly digesting, absorbing, and using it. In those cases, you may want to consider introducing amino-acid supplementation.

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Transcript: How Much Protein Do I Need?

Season 5, Episode 5  | January 24, 2023

[MUSIC PLAYING] Welcome back, Life Time fam. Today’s episode is all about protein. We’ll talk about the beneficial pieces for our health, nutrition qualities, and differing protein sources that impact our protein choices, that they can have on the environment, and more.

Today’s special guest, a familiar face. Been here a few times, right? Paul Krieger. To give you a little background on Paul, registered dietician, personal trainer who has worked with Life Time for over 13 years.

Throughout his college he competed in track and cross country. And since has finished also several marathons in three Iron Triathlons. All right, so Paul serves as Director of Nutritional Products at Life Time, and consults on a number of other scientific health and related topics for all of Life Time. Welcome back, Paul.

Thanks for having me again.

Yeah. And we talked about the familiar face, so you lead in a category here as far as being featured as our number one guest when we talk about the amount of times and frequency you’ve been on. So how does that make you feel?

That’s pretty wild to think about.

I love it. I love that you’re back. I think you’re going to beat our Sam after we’re done with this season by one episode. So we’ll see. We might have to bring her in one more time, and just keep the race going.

Yeah. [LAUGHS]

All right, so just a little fun question to kick us off here. When you think of protein, what’s the first word that comes to mind? For all of us, what’s the first word that comes to mind?

Muscle.

I was going to say eggs.

Oh, wow.

Resilience.

Uh, I see very different. There we go, OK. All right, so let’s dive into the topic right away. So let’s get into protein right off the bat. Why does it matter for our health? Why do we need it?

Yeah. Every structure in our body– so we think about being strong, healthy, resilient, every structure is built from protein. So our only way of storing protein or amino acids on our skeleton is as bone lean tissue, muscle tissue. And it’s in constant turnover. So if we don’t get enough, we have a hard time keeping up with that repair process. And that’s when we can see health start to decline in many ways.

Yeah. And that matters for us no matter what stage of life we’re in, right? I mean, and as people start to age and get older, especially protein becomes even more important. Is that right?

Yeah, throughout the lifespan it’s super important. But there are some– a couple of times that it’s extremely important, in periods of growth and periods of decline where there’s other signals in our body that are telling us that it’s going to take more work and more effort to maintain whatever we’ve built, in terms of strength, structures, and resilience.

Awesome.

Yeah, the reason why I said muscle is because we always talk about the muscle building blocks as far as like within protein. And you just said, like, repairing. So when you think of protein as one of those macros is so essential to helping build lean muscle mass.

So when you dive into different– you’ve got different sources of protein, right? You got animal protein, you got pea protein which is more like plant-based. So is there one that is better than the other or they all serve different purposes in their space?

They can all contribute to that protein turnover, it’s called. And when we say protein, we’re really talking about the collection of amino acids that proteins are made of. So if you think of it, proteins are just long chains of amino acids.

And our food sources contain various amounts of various types of amino acids. There’s about 20 of them, 20 types of amino acids in our food supply that we have to consume on a regular basis.

If we don’t, then our body will use the protein we have on board, strip it back down into amino acids, and reassemble it for whatever our body needs the most for survival. So we think about muscle protein, that’s like– kind of a luxury tissue.

It takes a lot of resources and a lot of effort for our body to maintain it. So when push comes to shove, if we get sick or we don’t need that muscle tissue, it just becomes expensive to maintain, we will sacrifice it pretty quickly so that our body can just simply survive.

So we go first to muscle then to fat, right? That’s what– when we need to survive like that. Is that correct?

Well, there’s a mixture of both. You’re using both. But you can’t necessarily break down fat tissue and build another structure. So take, for example, liver enzymes. Liver enzymes turn over every hour or so. Skeletal muscle turns over every– about every month.

So think of it about how much muscle you might have, and your body completely remodels that muscle tissue each month. And when you add it all up, we rebuild every structure in our body three to four times per year. That’s why I went protein as a macronutrient. The other two are fat and carbs. And then a fourth could be alcohol because that provides energy as well.

Protein is unique in that we need relatively consistent doses of it to stay in what’s called positive nitrogen balance or positive protein balance. Which means we can maintain any new structure building processes or maintenance processes without going into a catabolic state. Which means we’re just simply losing protein that we previously spent time building up.

So in that process– I mean, and all the listeners. So when we’re actually in the club and we are working out and we’re breaking down this muscle, the optimal time, as far as after the workout is where we’re repairing and building as far as rest recovery and then, obviously, the supplementation of protein, so on and so forth.

So what exactly– one, is there a true, like, window where you need to optimize taking in protein post-workout? And then, obviously, we speak to sleep being essential to help the body repair and build as well. So can you, kind of, break that down? One, is there an optimal window? And then, two, when we are asleep, if there is a protein we should take prior to going to sleep to help accelerate the rebuilding of muscle, or anything like that.

Yeah. To keep it simple, there is a window that appears to be helpful to consume protein after you’ve gone through a stressful event. Like a workout is a stressful event. You’re either doing mechanical breakdown, so you’re actually tearing the muscle fibers through resistance training. Or through more conditioning workouts, you’re actually doing metabolic damage to the tissues.

But, yeah, there’s a window. And it appears that the sooner after that stressful event that you start to consume protein, and you get up over what’s called the threshold of protein intake, you can start the repair process. So the sooner you get it, the better off you’ll be in the long run.

Now is it absolutely critical that you get it in an hour or two after workout? Not necessarily. But the sooner, the better. And in terms of hierarchy of how to make sure you’re getting enough protein, look at it for each 24 hour cycle.

That’s number one priority, is get enough each 24 hour period to maintain whatever your goals are. If that’s just to maintain what your– where you’re at with lean body mass and health and enzyme function, satiety, or fullness. So that’s priority number one for my clients is every day just meet your total protein needs, regardless of when you get it.

The next to perfect that approach or next step towards perfection would be like space it out evenly. So if you know what your protein target is for the day and you’re going to be awake for 12 to 16 hours, it makes sense, for how our body operates optimally, to get protein relatively evenly spaced every four hours or so while you’re awake.

Right. So let’s talk a little bit about the protein needs because it’s very individualized. How would someone go about determining their individual protein needs?

Yeah. The simplest estimate is take 1 gram of protein per pound of lean body mass, so fat free mass.

Right. And that can change depending on your goals too, right? Depending on what you’re going to do?

Yeah, that’s a good starting point. That keeps exercising individuals in a really healthy spot regardless of what their goals are. Now that might change a fraction if their goals are to gain more body mass or to lose weight, those sorts of things. But as a starting point, 1 gram of protein per pound of lean body mass or fat free mass.

I know I hear this from a lot of people, like, that’s so much protein. That seems like so much, how do I possibly get that amount? Where do you recommend people start? I know we have a lot more to get into but I think that’s one of those things where it’s like, uh, that is a ton of protein, at least from a perception standpoint.

Yeah, and it’s a different target than most people might be familiar with. So in terms of the familiar number of people are aware of, and it’s written about all the time, lots of experts even get this– they get confused by this. The RDA or the recommended daily allowance for protein is set at a minimum for a sedentary individual to just not develop protein deficiency syndromes clinically. So basically it’s the minimum amount.

And that’s based on a reference protein. So when you dive into the literature of what they mean by 0.8– and that’s 0.8 grams per kilogram. So it’s about half the amount that I said is the beginning target.

That minimum amount is based on a reference protein. And that they consider a reference protein to be a high quality protein, which in parentheses they put meat, fish, or eggs. So animal proteins is the reference protein because those are the proteins that provide the most efficient source of the essential amino acids.

So there’s that amino acid term again. There’s 20 amino acids. Nine of those 20 are essential. Our body cannot make them. So we have to consume them from outside sources, whether a diet or supplements. And the richest sources of essential amino acids happen to be animal foods.

Right. Which actually brings us right to you, David.

Yeah, I mean, Paul is aware of this and, Jamie, you too. I have been vegan now for– coming up on three years. So, I mean, a lot of mine comes from pea protein. I know it’s– mainly I was doing it at first to see how my body would respond, be able to speak to it. There are a lot of individuals who ask about veganism, so on and so forth.

So my response was a positive one to this style of eating, right? And the way it works for my body might not necessarily work for everybody else. So for all those individuals out there, they might want to jump and, oh, let me go try this. I think anything, experience is always the best teacher.

So with that being said, I know that I might be losing out on certain things, being that I am so heavily plant-based. But can you speak to both sides of it of, like, oh, these are the benefits, these are the pros and cons on whether it’s being a vegan or if you are doing animal style protein.

Yeah. I think if you’re very aware of your protein needs and you’re moving towards plant-based diet, you’re going to be a step ahead of some other people that are just cutting out meat. So there’s one approach of just, I’m just going to cut out all the animal foods, and that’s automatically going to make me healthier. That doesn’t always work.

But if you substitute the animal foods and the amino acids that you were getting from those, and take care of some other nutrients that are unique to animal foods as well through those other supplementation, then you can– it can work very well. You love our vegan All In One protein.

Yes.

That’s designed to be a very, very close resemblance to a whey protein, which happens to be a– whey is a super high quality protein for humans. That vegan All In One is designed to be a like for like replacement of it.

You also use amino acids, essential amino acids on a regular basis. So I think you are taking a very smart approach, making sure that you’re getting ample amino acids, especially given your high activity level and your high lean body mass, that it’s– you haven’t missed a step.

I want to dive in to it because I think going back to you were saying pretty much 1 gram per lean body mass. When you think of what is that exactly being absorbed in a setting. So let’s do the All In One. I think it’s 30 grams within the serving. Am I absorbing all 30 grams of that? Or am I really probably getting 20 or so? So how do we know how much is actually being absorbed by an individual?

Yeah. The short answer is we don’t know exactly what the upper limit is in a specific dose or, like, a meal time period. It appears that to flip the switch from protein breakdown to protein building, you need at least 20 grams worth of protein or about 10 grams of essential amino acids. That’s what flipped the switch into– from catabolic to anabolic.

And within that– not to get super technical– but you need about 3 grams of leucine. That’s like the master switch. And you can do that through plant sources. It just often– more often comes from highly concentrated supplemental sources or specific amino acid supplementation. That’s like a guaranteed way. And it’s safe and it’s effective.

So 20 grams is the threshold. If you go above that, you do start to see a plateauing of the anabolic effect. But it doesn’t stop. So you can consume– and it’s scaled in the context of who’s consuming it at what time and what context.

So if you just finished an Alpha of strength workout and you’re on six hours of sleep, you’re, kind of, ultra catabolic. 20 grams is maybe barely going to touch your anabolic switch. You might have to go 30, 40, 50, maybe even 60 just to stay ahead of the curve.

Now some of those, as you get closer to that upper end of 60 grams, maybe some of those amino acids end up getting oxidized for energy or they get spilled over into excess. But it’s not all of them above 20.

So the anabolic switch happens at 20, the signal gets stronger up to about 40 in most of the research, but it doesn’t stop necessarily. And there’s other benefits of that protein that remain if you get 50, 60, maybe even higher than that. Now, do you have to go that high? No, at some point it’s probably wasteful. But it’s not harmful, unless you have existing kidney disease or active lever disease.

Well, go ahead.

Yeah, I was going to go back to– I know I asked earlier, as far as protein prior to going to sleep. And then I can say for myself I know that I can work better at more sleep. So I might get six to seven, sometimes five hours.

So to the point of what you just made, as far as that switch, is there a certain protein prior to going to bed that is going to be beneficial, especially if you’re saying that you’re going to need a higher consumption? Being that you’re lacking in the area of sleep, but yet you’re performing at high levels.

You would want to consume– again, back to the hierarchy is are you getting enough total for the day? And if you’re not, then maybe that time before bed that you are getting a limited amount of sleep becomes crucially important that you don’t leave yourself at a gap for several hours.

So maybe you’re entering your sleep window already at a deficit, you don’t want to be in that deficit as your body is trying to do most of its mechanical repair early in the sleep window, or physical repair, I should say. So, yeah, at that time, it would be crucially important to get the essential amino acids, for sure.

Dairy proteins happen to have really high doses of essential amino acids. So you’ll hear it in bodybuilding circles– and they’ve known this for decades now– casein protein. So same stuff you’d find in Cottage cheese, Greek yogurt. There’s casein protein powders you can get. But, honestly, just a good grass fed whey protein– I know not for you, but for the general listener, would be an awesome thing to mix in maybe some Greek yogurt.

Got you.

But my favorite bedtime snack is plain full fat Greek yogurt with a little vanilla collagen protein mixed in, and some berries.

Nice. And get a little extra dose there right before bed time.

Yeah.

And a snack–

And then the collagen protein I use at that time because– and I use it in my coffee in the morning as well. But because I don’t eat a lot of gelatinous connective tissue meats necessarily. My diet consists mostly of muscle meats and eggs. So the proteins that are found in connective tissues have special properties that help support our own connective tissue, like the collagen in our skin, our joints, our tendons, that sort of thing.

Yeah. So I have a question going back to– you were talking about individual needs. And I’m thinking about in our modern world there’s a lot happening with personalized and individualized medicine.

Is there a way or is there a test now to more accurately determine somebody’s protein needs? I mean, I know there’s the general recommendation, but is it based on genetics? Or what are the factors? And can you test for them? Or do you see that being a thing that we’ll be able to test for to be able to optimize down the road?

Yeah. I mean, even routine lab work, you can look at someone’s albumin level, you can look at their globulin level, and the ratio of those two. That’s usually a pretty good indicator already, very cheap routine lab test.

But there are some other clues that you can start to deduce. Someone that has an issue with protein adequacy, if they’re under muscled or over fat, meaning they’re weak, they don’t have strong bones. So DEXA scans can start to clue you in.

But even functional questionnaires. Like if someone has constantly reflux or they just have a real challenge digesting anything, fibrous or protein rich or even fatty, that’s a clear sign that their digestive enzymes aren’t functioning well. And enzymes are made from proteins.

So the chemicals or the helpers that help us break down dietary protein are made from protein. So if those aren’t working well, you can almost guarantee that they’re inadequate in protein for quite some time.

So we’re going to tag team. I’m going to tag team something with you. So I’m going to ask the one, and I know you can ask the latter part of it. So is there probably these top three items that you can look at– and I know it could be more than three– as far as I know I’m deficient in protein if these things are happening. What would you say they are? And I know it can be subjective here, but things that you’ve seen in your experience in this space that you might be deficient if you’re seeing these things.

If you’re hungry a lot. Yeah, protein is the– it’s got the strongest satiety signal, so if people have issues managing appetite. And they’re just hungry after they eat two hours later. You can bet that their diet is– their diet mix is off in protein. They’re not getting enough. If recovery from exercise is slow, meaning your soar for two three days after a workout, that’s a clear sign that you’re not getting enough protein.

Maybe you’re eating it, but maybe you’re not digesting and absorbing and utilizing it. So those are differences as well. You’re getting enough crude protein in the diet, but your body’s not jiving with it. So that’s a scenario where simply adding 10 or 15 grams of essential amino acids twice a day can just turn that whole situation around pretty quick.

The third thing is if you can’t build muscle or you have brittle bones, that’s probably more for aging adults. But if you can’t maintain the muscle tissue you have, that’s a very clear signal that you’re not getting enough protein.

So I’m going to recap it to make sure I then pass the ball to you. So we went, if you’re not having enough– and I’m going to pass it to you. So always hungry, right? Recovering slow. And we said to fix that probably you can start to incorporate aminos. Even if you are getting a lot of protein in but still recovering slow, maybe you incorporate aminos. And then building muscle, obviously, if you’re having a hard time building muscle.

So those are the three. If you are listening, make sure you write that down, all right. And then, Jamie, I’m passing the ball to you. So that’s, if you’re not getting enough– what about the other [INAUDIBLE].

Before you do that I should mention too, like, so if you– you might be eating enough protein and not digesting absorbing and assimilating it, you could take essential amino acids. But an easier step still would be just chew your food more thoroughly. And don’t drink liquids with your meal.

So if you have a ton of liquid with a meal, you dilute the enzymes you do have. And by not chewing thoroughly enough, you’re actually not mechanically breaking up the proteins before it gets to your digestive system, which is a chronic problem in modern lifestyles. People eat– I’m guilty of it too– eat way too fast. They don’t chew enough. They don’t let their saliva and the enzymes in their saliva start the work for their digestive system.

So without having to resort to supplements– because I know not everyone is as enthusiastic about supplements as I am. But just eat slower, choose higher quality food sources. At the meals you do have protein, which should be every meal, but eat the protein rich foods first.

So get started with that. And that can make a big difference not just in protein adequacy and absorption, but also in blood sugar management, which I know you’ve talked about with Sam at length.

It’s such an important component for all of those OK, So I’m kind of curious what you think I’m going to ask next because he’s like, I’m handed it to you. Well, too much protein, is there such thing as getting too much protein?

I actually read an article, or I might have been editing an article, and I was like, this is very counterintuitive. And I think I edited it out because I was like, I don’t think this is right. But is there such thing as getting too much protein? Or this article said that they’re worried that people are getting too much. I have never heard that in our work here at Life Time so I’m really curious about your take on that. And can you get too much?

I’m sure there’s a point that’s too much because excess amino acids, your body does produce urea out of them. And the main route of getting rid of urea is through the urine. So you do that.

In theory, it makes your kidneys work harder. But there is no clinical evidence that suggests if you don’t already have kidney disease, that it’s going to cause kidney disease, that extra urea load. So I think the concern of getting too much protein is overblown, but it’s certainly possible.

There’s really interesting research done by– or it’s published in the International Society of Sports Nutrition over the past decade or so. A few different studies have shown this, where exercising individuals were given protein supplements on top of their diet, to the tune of like an excess 800 calories a day beyond what their calculated or estimated metabolic needs were.

So they were getting four or five times the RDA of protein, and literally nothing bad happened. They actually got stronger and leaner. And they didn’t gain as much body fat as researchers– as the calorie excess would have predicted.

Predicted.

So from that you can of assume or understand that getting way more protein than you need is the least likely form of macronutrient to turn into body fat. And there might even be some benefits to it. Like you’re going to be– it’s hard to consume that much. Like–

I was going to dive into, OK, we have different variations of proteins. It was an article that I read, obviously, from Sam. And I was looking at it earlier today. We were talking about switching out your proteins as far as how that helps contribute to healthy gut. What should be that cadence?

And I know it’s, once again, to each his own, but what should be that cadence? Is every two to three months maybe going from a way to a pea protein? And how often should you be doing it?

Yeah. I mean, in theory protein when it hits our bloodstream, our body doesn’t even know it’s protein. It should hit our bloodstream as individual amino acids. And if it does reach our bloodstream as longer chains of amino acids or intact proteins, that means the body hasn’t done its job breaking down and digesting the proteins that was eaten into those amino acids.

So that I would consider a digestive insufficiency. So a lack of enzyme function or concentration, under acidified stomach, that just shouldn’t happen. If it is happening, then, yeah, you need to rotate your protein sources.

Because if intact proteins reach the bloodstream, and they’re not normally supposed to be there, that means the gut wall, the digestive wall has some lack of resilience. So the tight junction aren’t as tight as they should be.

And that can over-excite your immune system too because the immune system’s job is to identify, tag, and attack any foreign proteins that show up in the bloodstream, which are what we call food sensitivities. So food sensitivities only develop if your digestive system isn’t working right. So–

So if you’re taking–

–if you’re in that scenario, yes, you have to rotate your foods. Typically if you identify a protein source that is problematic, you have an immune response to it, then you need to remove that for anywhere from 30 days to three months while you let your immune system calm down its response and repair the gut lining itself, and restore digestive enzyme function.

So what is an example of the immune response? Like, what exactly is happening?

You can measure in the bloodstream simple blood tests. You can measure IGGG, immuneglobulin G reactions. And there’s a couple of other different immunoglobulins that can be tested. But if those are elevated in response to a certain food protein, you have an issue with that from– I would say from the very start of your digestive system, all the way to the point where that protein reaches your bloodstream. And it shouldn’t.

Is there are other things that one can see? Whether it’s like being gassy, still, loose. Is there– are there things that–

Yeah, yeah, I mean, those kind of go hand in hand with– they don’t always come hand in hand with food sensitivities, but often do. So burpiness, gasiness in the upper GI, that usually indicates the stomach acidity is not as low as it should be, and so the PH isn’t as low as it should be.

There isn’t enough concentration of proteases and amylases and lipases, which are enzymes that break down proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. So if you have upper GI discomfort, usually that’s an indication of insufficient digestive enzyme function and stomach acid.

Now, if it happens later on in the small and large intestine, that can indicate some maybe pancreatic enzyme insufficiency, because that’s– the pancreatic enzymes are introduced after food leaves the stomach in the beginning part of the small intestine. So that might be some pancreatic enzyme issue. And that would usually leads to like floating stools and–

All of that.

Like partially digested foods, and that sort of thing. Bathroom urgency, that kind of stuff. If it’s purely lower intestine issues, that could be another challenge, like dysbiosis. Imbalance of good and bad bacteria, lack of diversity of fibers in your diet, those types of things.

OK, so let’s talk a little bit about sources of protein, because we’ve got plant-based protein, we’ve got whole foods sources of protein often in the forms of meat, chicken, eggs. What else did you say? What did you say? Fish as well, was that the other one?

Yeah.

Yes, there we go. And then there’s supplementation. So let’s talk a little bit about each of them. So when you think about whole food sources, both animal-based and plant-based, what are the best sources? And then where does supplementation come in? I know we’re big advocates for supplementation.

So let’s start with animal foods. I mentioned this earlier, but animals– animal foods appear to be the most concentrated sources and the most efficient sources for the body to absorb essential amino acids. So they have all 20 amino acids.

They’re most closely modeled around what our own muscles are built out of, which kind of makes sense. So those end up being the most efficient, most effective sources of protein to delivering those essential amino acids.

The protein that you can measure out of those foods in a lab almost entirely are usable proteins by the body. So I didn’t mention this earlier, but the unique thing about amino acids versus carbohydrates and fats is they contain nitrogen.

Now, plant foods like beans, lentils, pulses, peas, those tend to be the richest plant sources of protein. Now, all the nitrogen that you can measure in those foods in a lab overestimates the amount of protein they actually contribute to the diet.

Interesting.

So some of the nitrogen from plant foods that you can measure in a lab is not from protein, it’s not from amino acids, it’s from nitrates.

Oh, OK.

So it’s assumed, or there’s a factor that assumes the plant protein content from all those foods, including grains too. And the assumption is that all of those foods, the nitrogen present in there is 16% protein. But that’s not the case. The way it works in our body is some of those nitrogens are actually from nitrates.

So if you look at a nutrition panel on a box of cereal or a bag of beans, or something like that, and it says 4 grams of protein, you might only be able to get 2 grams of useful protein out of it.

Because of the nitrogen and the nitrates. Got it.

So a crude amount of nitrogen in there is measured in a lab. The amount of dietary protein is not as high as that measurement.

Interesting.

Does that makes sense?

Yeah, absolutely.

So in effect, if you’re going exclusively plant-based, then you probably need more protein than someone getting most of their amino acids from animal foods.

OK, got it. What about supplements? So I know, obviously, we’re trying to get a certain amount. How much– I’m not sure how to ask this question. But, look, your 100% daily intake of protein, should most of it be from whole foods?

Yeah.

Like, ideally that’s what we’re after, more whole foods, the better. But if we need it, how much from a supplement?

I mean, you could– you can do all of it from supplements, and it’ll serve its utility. But, absolutely, get as much as you can from whole food sources because you’re not just eating food for the protein, right? You’re eating it for the other vitamins and minerals that you can deassimilate from it.

Supplements, you can get close to the profile, the nutrient profiles if it’s well designed, but that’s not their purpose. It’s to supplement the food you’re eating. So I treat it as a convenience food for people. We look at what’s realistic in their lifestyle pattern from whole foods, and we build their plan mostly around that.

And then wherever life gets in the way and they need, then at that point I’m thinking, well, we can’t miss your protein. So we’re going to substitute this thing that you just add water to, and you’re going to get a little more. Or you like oatmeal? We’re going to throw some protein in there, so you now have a balanced breakfast. So I treat protein supplements as– purely as a convenience food that’s healthy.

Nice. The one animal food I want to go back to for a second is organ meats because I know that that’s something that comes up a lot now. Talk to us a little bit about organ meat specifically.

Yeah. So once upon a time, humans ate not just the nice filet mignon and just the chicken breast without the skin on it. So organ meats have been almost exclusively taken out of the American diet.

But that’s– it’s kind of a bad thing because there’s a lot of minerals and fat soluble vitamins that are unique to those organ meats. And they’re super high concentrated, high quality sources of those that I think that’s why we’re seeing a little bit of– at least what I pay attention to– we’re seeing a resurgence of– including nose to tail healthy animal consumption that– from responsibly raised, sustainably raised livestock and other animal sources.

So organ meats, to call it out, it’s vitamin A, preformed vitamin A, not beta carotene that your body only converts 5% or 10% of to vitamin A in the body. Vitamin D, zinc, copper, selenium, magnesium, iron.

All the stuff we need.

All these things that contribute to super strong bones, healthy immune systems, healthy eyesight. If there ever was at nature’s multivitamin, it would probably be organ meats or egg yolks.

I can do that the egg yolks.

The things–

I think I could do the egg yolk.

–taught to not eat.

A rocky moment there, just straight, crack it open, egg yolk.

Well, we’re back to eggs, which is my favorite thing. And I was just going to say my– I was thinking about is it Beauty and the Beast where Gaston is like, I had eat five dozen eggs. It’s protein sources. It’s a good source. I’ll go to that, anyway. [LAUGHS]

It takes me to Disney all over again.

Oh, back to that trip. I love it. Well, Paul, we’ve been talking a lot about protein. What have we missed? What do you want to make sure people know about protein before we sign off?

I think there is some confusion about animal protein being Carte Blanche bad for the planet. And I think that’s a little misguided. If you want to avoid animal proteins because of animal welfare reasons, there’s enough good reasons to do that. But there’s also a way of producing animal proteins for human consumption that don’t hurt the environment, that don’t– aren’t disrespecting the animals.

So I think it’s important for people to look at what’s out there from other sources like the Savery Institute. There’s a few other people I could mention if we want to put it in the show notes. But there’s some really enlightening content that we can steer listeners to that show there are ways to produce very healthy animals that actually revitalize pastures.

Prevent desertification in the land, that actually sequester carbon out of the atmosphere, even though cows do burp and they produce methane. But it’s not all bad. And it’s not the biggest source of methane production on the planet, that’s still transportation and energy industry.

Well, and what you’re talking about is regenerative agriculture, which we have done several articles on that we can point to as well, and why it matters. And I think that’s a really great point to call out in terms of how we can do this in a way that it’s good for us and good for the planet as well, which we all know needs as much love as we can give it.

Yes, yeah.

Lead with love. And I got a mic drop movement that I’m about to throw at you if you’re ready for it.

I’m ready.

Yeah? Is that all right?

Yeah, I’m ready if Paul’s ready.

Yeah, I mean, so I mentioned earlier, obviously, we got a Ironman over here. You’ve done triathlons, you’ve run many times. So now the mic drop moment is if you had to pick between running a marathon and biking 100 miles, which one would you do right now, and why?

I’d bike 100 miles.

Why 100 over the marathon?

Over the marathon?

Yeah.

Oh, mechanically I’m just– getting on a bike is not as stressful on the eccentric phase of the muscle contraction. So I could ride a bike all day. Yeah, even if– I mean, saddle might hurt a little bit, but I haven’t spent six hours in a saddle for a while. But running a marathon is completely different. The eccentric stress on, especially the quads and the lower legs is something you got to train for.

There it is. There you have it.

There you go. Well, I’m not doing an Ironman or biking.

OK.

Never say never.

Well, I know, never say never.

What about some Alpha?

I’ll do some Alpha.

OK, there we go.

I’m going to go to Alpha, that’s my preferred mode of movement there, strength training. Well, Paul, thank you again for coming back on. If people want to find you, I know you have some social stuff, I know you’re kind of sort of active, but you have articles that experience life debt– Life Time Debt Life. Where else can they find you?

Yeah, I’m probably most active on Instagram, but it’s just mostly pictures of my new daughter, so.

Yey. Yeah, and the last time you were here, we were just talking about you were going to be a dad. You are a dad, so congrats on that new addition to your life.

Thank you.

Awesome, awesome. Thank you, again, Paul.

Thanks for having me.

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We’d Love to Hear From You

Have thoughts you’d like to share or topic ideas for future episodes? Email us at lttalks@lt.life.

The information in this podcast is intended to provide broad understanding and knowledge of healthcare topics. This information is for educational purposes only and should not be considered complete and should not be used in place of advice from your physician or healthcare provider. We recommend you consult your physician or healthcare professional before beginning or altering your personal exercise, diet or supplementation program.

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