Protein consumption is not, according to Pike, a "one-size fits all" type of situation. However, there are some good practices that can help you stay healthy.
How much protein should I eat?
Some studies have found that people who eat more than 18 ounces of red meat a week have a higher risk of colon cancer and cardiovascular problems. 18 ounces of red meat is equal to three 6-ounce portions of beef or duck, and those meals can add up faster than you might realize. Pike recommends the "hand" model of protein control. You can find out more about this handy (couldn't help myself) method here.
Strive for balance. According to the USDA, the ideal daily balance between protein, carbs and fat is:
*Pike says people tend to think of only pasta, rice and bread as carbohydrates, but forget that some fruits and vegetables are also carbohydrates.
Does it matter what type of protein I eat?
First, realize that while a 6-ounce steak might deliver a lot of protein, it also delivers fat, including saturated fat. According to Pike, a 6-ounce steak has 38 grams of protein, but it also delivers almost 75% of the recommended daily intake of saturated fat.
What type of protein should I eat, then?
Pike recommends the following lean protein sources:
When should I eat protein?
It is best to consume protein with each meal because, among other reasons, it helps you feel fuller than eating a carbohydrate-loaded meal. Here's why:
Carbohydrates, like potatoes and cereal, are burned quickly--because they provide your body with its primary source of fuel, glucose. If you have carbs for breakfast (like cereal, for instance) you might get hungry for your next meal faster than if you had eaten protein (like eggs).
Stay tuned for more on healthy eating.