Some important equations for your health

Photo by Marsha Tudor

Photo by Marsha Tudor

We would be a much healthier people, if we just had some additional info and a few basic tools.  I recommend that you keep in your nutrition toolbelt the information about eating conscious of the acid-forming versus alkaline-forming character of your food and of how to optimally combine or to avoid combining food groups.  I wrote about both of those notions recently in this blog, and there’s lots on the web about it.

I thought I’d also assemble a couple of possibly- new-for-you factoids and tools that might impact your food choices if you knew.

The Protein Myth:  There is considerable evidence that one can eat too much protein.  Although we’ve been told for many years that we had to have a minimum amount of meat and dairy in our diets, that appears to be just not true, or else vegetarians and vegans would have all expired, instead of experiencing a restoration of rosy health.   One of the factors, if not causes, of gout, for instance, is meat consumption.  Gout?  Try cutting way back on protein (and eating on the acid-alkaline diet).  The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine has lots of info and resources for the use of nutrition for restoration of health, in the first instance, instead of immediately turning to pharmaceuticals.

But how to know how much protein to eat?  Well, it depends upon your age, height, weight, level of activity, basal metabolism rate, level of health and maybe some other factors.   I know.  Lots of things to consider, but really easy to figure out, like of rule of thumb.  Always pay attention to your own precious body’s response.

One way of calculating how much protein is as a percentage of the total calories you need each day.  First, you calculate your basal metabolism rate (BMR); the calories are then a percentage of your BMR.  Another way is based directly on your weight.  Both are discussed below.

Basal Metabolism Rate:  Your basal metabolism rate is the minimum number of calories that one needs to consume daily in order to support vital functions (breathing, circulation, digestion, etc).  So, even if you’re dieting, you probably don’t want to go below this daily intake.  Here’s a calculator that will spit out a number based on your height, weight and age.  Mine is 1322.

How much protein for you? Once you have your BMR, you can calculate how much protein you need.  We generally need about 15% to 30% of our calories to come from proteins.  So, take your BMR, and multiply by the lower end if you are sedentary and healthy, or on the higher end if you are weight lifting or have a health challenge that requires more protein.  But do some reading about this last notion.  Most folks that are ill will benefit from and recover faster on an alkaline diet.  Proteins often come from acid-forming sources (meat, dairy).

Another way of calculating protein need is based on your weight:

  • Take your weight in pounds.  Divide by 2.2.  That gives your weight in kg.
  • Take your weight in kg and multiply by 0.8 – 1.8.  Use the lower number if you are in good health and are sedentary.  Use a higher one (between 1 and 1.8) if you are under stress, pregnant, recovering from an illness, or exercising or doing weight training regularly.

And remember: eating protein does not mean that you have to eat meat, milk and eggs.  But I’ll save that chat for another day.  In the meantime, think legumes, nuts, whole grains and green leafies.  I look forward to seeing us all becoming healthier!

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