Madison Life and Times Summer 2016 - Page 25

HEALTH 2. Don’t eat too much protein The National Strength and Conditioning Association recommends that athletes and others seeking to build muscle eat double the amount of protein recommended in No. 1. Richart begs to differ. “The only time we would ever change that is if someone is at nutritional risk if they are malnourished,” she said. “No matter what you’re doing, you don’t really need more than” the recommended level. Richart said too much protein can leave byproducts in the digestive system and cause health problems, such as kidney damage. Aside from long-term damage, eating more protein than the body needs will just lead to the body storing it as fat, Olney said. She does sometimes recommend more protein for elderly people who are losing lean muscle mass. 3. Target highquality proteins While many foods have at least some protein value, it’s good to know which foods provide complete proteins. Meats, dairy and beans are high-quality sources of protein. Vegetables and grains are low-quality sources. The reason why animal sources can be more effective is because of how amino acids and the body break down the protein. “In animal sources, the amino acids are more readily available,” Richart said. “Less has to be done to get to them.” 5. Keep cooking clean 6. You don’t have to eat meat Watching your weight while maximizing protein is as easy as eating lean proteins, such as fish and chicken, without preparing them with fatty ingredients. “You don’t want to take a good lean piece of fish and fry it,” Richart said. Like breading, sauces and gravies are unhealthy to put on lean proteins. Grilling lean proteins is a healthy alternative to baking. 4. Don’t eat all your protein at dinner For those who think they’re not already eating enough protein, it might just be an issue of when they’re eating it, Olney said. “It’s not that they are not eating enough protein; they aren’t spreading it throughout the day to maximize what they can get out of it,” she explained. Olney recommends spreading peanut butter on your breakfast food or eating a single egg. Greek yogurt is another high protein breakfast or snack choice. Olney dispels the myth that you have to eat meat to get your share of protein. Since many dairy sources have high-quality proteins, such as Greek yogurt and milk, vegetarians can get their protein there. For vegans, beans are a great source of protein, as are lentils. “You can also eat a variety o