Top Protein MYTHS when it comes to Eating for Energy

Ok so let's dive into some of the most mis-understood MYTHS about Protein before we dive into putting this into action.

Because seemingly Protein is taking it's turn as being the "poster child" of healthy foods...but truly there are some tricks to eating a "perfect amount" for YOU.


Special note: Feel free to skim this section if you’re the type of learner who wants to start taking action right away…if you’re someone who likes to know why I’m making these recommendations—read this section in full…and don’t worry—the next section is very actionable, clear & short!

I do think it’s important to know WHY I’m sharing these recommendations…and to dispel these Top 5 MYTHS about Protein.

So without further ado...Here are the Top 5 Protein Myths:

Protein Myth #1:

Protein is good for *Energy*

I know, I know—I just told you how Protein can help give you the energy you need to exercise…

However, it does this in a non-direct way…keep reading to see about the MYTH that we directly get ENERGY from Protein…

Protein, Protein, Protein…

why is everyone always talking about Protein?

Protein can supply your body with energy—however, as Dr. Chris Masterjohn explains, the last thing your body wants to do with Protein is actually use it for energy—those jobs are better left to Good Fats and Safe Carbs.

Protein instead is involved in almost every cellular process in your body—from:

  • building and repairing muscle, cells, tissue...
  • directing biochemical reactions in your body (with enzyme forms of protein)...
  • acting as hormones—otherwise known as the cells' express messenger system...
  • and providing structural framework—both stiffness and elasticity in all the right places. 🙂
  • plus, Protein & Exercise *tell your body HOW TO USE FOOD*

Plus, Proteins regulate the ph of your body…regulate body processes to balance fluids…form antibodies to fight infections…and carry valuable substances through your bloodstream & tuck them into the best storage places.

We want to use Protein for all of these body processes…and make sure that we’re eating enough of it to feel full and satisfied WHILE optimizing all of these awesome body processes…

And NOT losing muscle when we’re going for losing weight.

For all of these reasons—that’s why it’s so important to get into a FLOW with a solid amount of Protein in each and every meal.


**Protein & Exercise tell your body how to USE FOOD

And Micronutrient researcher Dr. Chris Masterjohn summarizes the role of Protein in our bodies as being a food messenger (along with exercise) that tells our bodies HOW TO USE FOOD:

"You eat protein because you need protein to optimize your neurotransmitters, you need protein to optimize your metabolism, and you need protein to optimize your body composition."

Protein's main and important message to our bodies when it comes to having good energy and losing weight with exercise--is that it tells our body that it's safe to keep and even build new muscle, while burning stored body fat.

If you don't get enough Protein, your body will also burn/catabolize muscle, if you're going too low in your overall calories. We want to preserve and even add to our muscle mass--because having adequate muscle helps us accomplish everyday tasks with having muscle protects you from falls, injuries & disease as you get older...and it helps you look shapely and trim too.

Muscle Mass matters...

And Muscle is energetic and vibrant--I've found that just having more it makes you feel more energized (weird but true)...Plus, muscle moving beneath skin is magnetically attractive...

And having good muscle allows you to get into a FLOW with movement and enjoy it, too! 

And Protein is the food messenger that gives your body these important directions (keep/build muscle while burning fat with exercise). 

Protein is the food messenger  

Proteins are made up of amino acids that join together to form long chains. You can think of a protein as a string of beads—cellular-process jewelry :)—in which each bead is an amino acid. There are 20 amino acids that help form the thousands of different proteins in your body.

We want to use Protein as a "body composition messenger" and for all of these body processes…and you can see that the MYTH that Protein is best used for *energy* is just not true. Again, your body can use food Protein for energy--but it just has like a gazillion other uses for it, that it would rather use it for instead.

However, when it comes to FEELING GOOD with eating--we want to make sure that we’re eating enough Protein at each meal to feel full and satisfied WHILE optimizing all of these awesome body processes…

And again--NOT losing muscle when we’re going for losing weight.

For all of these reasons—that’s why it’s so important to get into a FLOW with a solid amount of Protein in each and every meal.

More Info...if you're interested

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Top Protein MYTHS when it comes to Eating for Energy CONT...

Protein Myth #2:

Having Protein *Snacks* gives you good energy

Ok, this is a little bit of a tricky myth--on one hand, eating a solid amount of Protein and having protein with your snacks--if you do eat snacks--is of course a good idea.

On the other hand though, I want to take a moment and talk about why when you eat a solid amount of Protein (which we will detail soon) with each & every meal (especially Breakfast & Lunch)...that this helps you feel FULL & SATISFIED...

And allows you to *not need* snacks between meals. :0

This can be a really powerful thing for your overall health, energy & Dr. Cate Shanahan says that the time between meals could be considered a "4th Macronutrient" (in addition to Protein, Carbs & Fat-)--and that it's important to let your Digestion REST between meals.

Of course if you're pregnant or breastfeeding and trying to get in extra calories (or you have another medical reason) you could be eating 5 smaller meals instead of 3 main meals...and that is still fine!

It's the idea that your metabolism, energy & body will work better when your stomach is allowed to fully empty & your digestion to get a complete rest before having to do the very energy-intensive work of digesting your food & extracting the nutrients and expelling waste from it.

And getting a *solid amount of Protein* at each meal (especially Breakfast & Lunch) allows you to feel full and satisfied--with no need for snacks.

Plus, who doesn't LOVE feeling full & satisfied, right?

Getting solid Protein at each meal gives your digestion a chance to REST, so that it can work more effectively when you do eat meals. Woot.

WHY Protein is so satisfying

So, one of the reasons why getting in a *solid amount* of Protein in every meal (especially Breakfast & Lunch)...

Essentially, what makes animal-based Protein so satisfying--is a very interesting reason:

One of the biggest parts of animal-based Protein is FAT.

And we want to make it so that we eat enough Fat (and the best kinds) to help support good hormonal health...while at the same time helping you to feel FULL and literally kill your sweet tooth after a meal too.

So many perks to getting IN a solid amount of Protein with each meal (especially Breakfast & Lunch).

So you may just find with the Step-by-Step strategies that I'm going to share next--so that you won't even need snacks.

Protein Myth #3:

Just Counting Macros is enough

Protein, Carbs & Fat are called MACROnutrients—because your body needs a lot of them.

With the popularity of Macro counting tools like My Fitness Pal—you would think that all you need to do is figure out how much Protein, Carbs & Fat you need…

And you’re set.

However, there are 2 big caveats to this…

First, the truth of the matter is that you also need a daily/weekly amount of MICROnutrients too.

Micronutrients are nutrients like vitamins & minerals that your body only needs a comparatively little amount of an a daily/weekly basis.

The thing is though—your body does need them.


MICROnutrients are important

So the US Government created the RDA (the recommended daily allowance) of Micronutrients…

And your body is mechanically *expecting* these Micronutrients in order to execute basic body processes, fuel your brain & happiness, have good body composition, and avoid disease.

AND—I’m excited to share how when you get all of the Micronutrients you need—you can also nip HUNGER in the bud…by giving your body everything it is “nutritionally expecting”and that it needs—in order to function well.

Your body no longer has to search for these missing nutrients (through feeling “hungry” for them)…

So getting IN your Micronutrients is great for feeling satisfied on a very cellular, physical level. Woot.

Macros & Micros are both essential—one is just much bigger than the other.

And you can get a lot of MICROnutrients from Protein-rich foods. And I’m excited to show you how to do just that!


Total Calories are important(!)

Ok and second—it’s a MYTH that it’s enough to only know how much Protein you’re getting....

When the truth of the matter is: you need to know how many Total Calories each day are going to be best for YOU—with your height, your ideal BMI/bodyweight…and your current activity level, too!

Because the thing is—if you don’t know how many total calories you should be aiming for…it is all too easy to either chronically under-eat these calories…or over-eat them, too!

As I mentioned before—it’s really difficult to eat the correct energetic amount of calories based on deciding how “full” you feel—or “eating intuitively” as food bloggers like to call it. The reality is that your stomach can shrink or grow to get used to an amount of food that has nothing to do with how much you truly energetically need.

AND—some whole foods and processed/pre-made foods are “hyper-caloric”…meaning that you can eat a little of them and be getting tons of calories (think nuts here).

AND—some processed/pre-made foods are “hyper-caloric” AND “super-palatable" at the same time—meaning they’re designed for you to eat a bunch of them without feeling full (hyper-palatable) and they have high calories for small amounts of food (hyper-caloric) …(think something like potato chips, cookies or soda, here).

So—it IS important to first find out how many TOTAL CALORIES you need to feel GOOD and have the ENERGY you need to get into a consistent FLOW with exercise you enjoy! You need those energy calories! Otherwise, you feel too tired to exercise…and it takes longer to recover afterwards…and instead of seeing muscle-building, you could be getting muscle-losing results instead! No Bueno!!

So the MYTH is that you only need to worry about How Much Protein...

And the reality is that instead your body needs a solid amount of Calories and recommended Macros & MICROnutrients to be able to feel full and satisfied between meals, and be able to burn fat while keeping/building muscle, too! 🙂

Protein Myth #4:

Low Protein for Longevity?…Super High Protein for Building Muscle?

Restricted Protein for Longevity?? Not so fast...

The Protein recommendation I'm going to share in this guide are also great to use if you're older--barring any health condition that asks you to limit protein (like kidney disease--more about this as we progress!)

The idea that eating less protein helps extend your life span has never been proven with humans, and only with mice. Alex Leaf goes into great detail as to why these mice studies are not a good recommendation for humans to increase longevity.

The main reason is that eating low protein puts you at risk of muscle and bone loss--making you at-risk for falls, as you get older. So don't skimp on the protein...and go for daily brisk walking & lifting weights a few times a week, too! 

Super High Protein for Building Muscle??...not needed!

Ok, so a fitness trainer named Brad Pillon pulled together an exhaustive level of research on Protein consumption and muscle-building.

And these same Protein recommendations can be applied to muscle-keeping, too!

His whole paper, called “How Much Protein” looks at this cumulative Protein research…and he was able to summarize that there’s an ideal amount of Protein that people can eat, where your body will have the resources it needs to maintain/build new muscle...

He cites some very foundational Protein research—that

in the late 1800’s researchers by the name of Carl Voit and Wilbur Atwater recommended a dietary protein intake of 118 grams per day for adult humans doing moderate muscular work.”

And they found that adding more protein on top of this amount, did not help your body build more muscle. Your body can only build so much muscle—and once you add on new muscle, it takes a lot of strength training work to make that muscle fiber more dense…


Too many calories--is still too many calories

Eating extra protein is just overwhelming your body with TOO MANY calories—too many of a certain kind of Macronutrient—which can actually cause Insulin Insensitivity and Insulin Resistance.

Yes, it’s not just too many Carbs that can do that (you’ll have to get excited about moderate Carbs with me in my upcoming Safe Carbs guide, next—‘cause I am def NOT anti-whole-foods-Carbs!!) BUT instead an excess of ANY Macronutrient can cause blood sugar dis-regulation problems.

And it won’t help you build more muscle.

Plus, some people have trouble disposing of the nitrogen-end-products from eating too much Protein you really want to be careful not to go too crazy with protein bars & protein powders...for some people that can be extremely dangerous.

It's all about eating a SOLID AMOUNT of Protein for you--and making it tasty & do-able, too!


So that’s nice to know that you can eat a relatively sane amount of Protein and get great body-composition results (*with good nutrition AND exercise).

UP NEXT—how to plan a daily amount of Protein for YOU--

That’s easy to pull off...helps you maintain/build muscle…and leaves you feeling FULL and SATISFIED in-between meals, too!

Protein Myth #5:

Food QUALITY vs. “eating in moderation”

I highly recommend the Daily & Weekly practice of Planning your Macros & Micros…

You want to make sure you're getting all of the nutrients you need...


And I do recommend understanding your daily Calorie needs too (because it's important not to flood your cells with *too much energy* in the form of too many calories--or potentially hobble your energy by not eating enough calories as well):

I'll share more below why I highly recommend going with a *Calorie Maintenance* approach with Lifting Weights & daily Brisk Walking...rather than the often recommended calorie-reduction model. I'm going to share a safe way to reduce calories though, if that's something you feel you're in a good place in your life to experiment with too.

The main reason I'm sharing that *counting calories* is important is because calorie energy does matter...You don't want to too much or too little for your cells...


AND at the same time--the idea of reducing & resolving inflammation...and considering the QUALITY of your food—is even more important to our overall health, energy and being able to build muscle & burn fat.

And again why "daily moderation" of processed foods is NOT the best strategy for most people. Plus, you may be relieved to hear that...


Eating Less & Moving More...was proven to be a HUGE failure

Dr. Paul Jaminet details why on the Perfect Health Diet blog, a major study that tried—very unsuccessfully—to prove that “eating less & moving more,” without taking into consideration the QUALITY of your food choices, was such a horrifying failure:

"The basic flaw in the Look AHEAD study [eat less & move more] was that it was designed to bring about weight loss, and hoped that weight loss would improve health.

A better intervention would seek to improve health through a more PHD-like diet and through circadian rhythm therapies. Successful health improvement would, more than likely, lead to weight loss.

For the overweight and for diabetics, the focus should not be on weight, but on health. Improve health, and weight loss will follow. Focus on weight with a simple-minded “eat less, move more” intervention without tending to the quality of your diet and lifestyle, and you might be doing yourself more harm than good."

So QUALITY is going to trump QUANTITY, any day of the week.

But let’s talk about quantity for a second (keeping in mind that the quality of your food choices is super, duper important)…

And creating a Daily Macro Calorie plan, that addresses the quantity—how much—with both:

  • total daily calories…
  • and how much Protein, Safe Carbs & Good Fats based on your goals, activity level & current body weight…

that would potentially work best for YOU!

It’s worth putting in a little extra time in the beginning though to see if you’re actually getting ENOUGH of each of these macronutrients (or too much of them too). Put the effort in up front—get paid back in spades as you continue to rock it 🙂