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Protein or Fiber, which would your body prefer?

How do you know you get enough protein? As an endurance athlete I would love to receive a baht for every time I get asked this question. In this first blog post in the category food myths, I am going to ask you this question:

"What do you think your body craves more, protein or fiber?"

It is fascinating that there is so much fuss about protein intake in the first place. A quick search tells us that protein deficiency in the general population is extremely rare. WHO research of the Standard American Diet (SAD) shows that there is more of a case of too much protein intake rather than too little. In fact, only 3% of the American adults are protein deficient, presumably because they are on a extreme calorie restricting diet and are not getting enough food full stop. If you want to be sure you take in enough protein, keep this guideline in mind: 0.8 gram per kilogram body weight. With that guideline, a 75kg male would need approximately 60 grams (or 240 calories) of protein per day.

There is however a food group or nutrient that we generally are deficient of, which is fiber. "Why bother with fiber since we do not digest the stuff" you might ask. Technically, we do not digest the fibers but our friendly neighborhood watchmen in our intestines thrive on the stuff! Our intestinal flora (our gut bacteria), loves receiving fiber. They in turn produce short-chain fatty acids (SCFA) in digesting the fiber you feed your little friends. These SCFA's protect your colon lining, ease the passing of stool and aid in the production of HDL Cholesterol (the good guys). In terms of fiber consumption, the protein percentages are reversed: 97% of the general population is indeed fiber deficient. The daily recommended requirements are 25 - 30 grams. There are easy ways for you to start increasing your fiber intake. Here are a few:

- drink smoothies instead of juice, keep the fibers in the juice

- choose whole wheat or brown rice over processed wheat and white rice.

- add a salad to your lunch and dinner

- eat more fruits (easy to do in Thailand!)

- add flaxseeds or chia seeds to your breakfast cereal

Healthstax offers group and individual sessions for people looking for advice on food, lifestyle, weight loss and the prevention of lifestyle induced illnesses. If you want to know more about this topic, please do not hesitate to contact us for an initial meeting.


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