3

votes

Is it necessary to have protein with every meal?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created May 23, 2012 at 4:05 PM

Is there any scientific or nutritional reasoning behind including protein with every meal? How bout just a hearty dark green leafy salad with avocado or something?

FWIW, I'm a 22 year old male, 5 foot 10 and 118 lbs. For my whole life, gaining weight has been virtually impossible no matter how much/how often i eat. My only sources of protein these days are fish and chicken liver. I would like to gain weight, but it's not necessary/I've given up on that prospect.

EDIT: The reason behind me not consuming other sources of protein has to do with my rheumatoid arthritis. All other sources of protein make me flare up badly in my joints. So please don't suggest I add other things to my diet. I just want to know if I'm better off eating protein all day with every meal, or just often but not always.

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on May 25, 2012
at 12:40 PM

Fatty acids make up most of the the bi-layer membrane of the cells. That probably accounts for most of it.

194d8e8140425057fe06202e1e5822a7

(3979)

on May 25, 2012
at 04:06 AM

Why would my diet be the answer to all those people who want to lose weight? When I say gaining weight has been impossible for me, that's including when I eat 3000 calories a day of crap...

194d8e8140425057fe06202e1e5822a7

(3979)

on May 25, 2012
at 04:05 AM

Wow, now THIS is the answer I was looking for, thank you. Wait, muscle is mostly made of fat?? What? That's news to me.

F5a0ddffcf9ef5beca864050f090a790

(15515)

on May 25, 2012
at 03:32 AM

Dan, out of curiosity - I would love to know what you eat on a daily basis. Maybe your diet could be the answer to all those people who want to lose weight? Thanks.

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on May 24, 2012
at 03:39 PM

Bodybuilders worry that if they don't eat protein every 3-4 hours muscle building will stop. This is based on how long it takes to digest protein. This appears to be more of a myth than fact. There is constant turnover/recycling of amino acids and protein and most amino acids can be made from pyruvate (byproduct of Krebs cycle/breakdown of glucose). Paul Jaminet makes the case that fat is more important than protein for muscle building since muscle tissue is mostly made of fat. I'm guessing that you start to lose muscle after 1-2 days of fasting, although ketosis helps to spare it.

194d8e8140425057fe06202e1e5822a7

(3979)

on May 24, 2012
at 01:31 AM

Okay, I realize it's not *necessary*. But is there a reason to eat protein with every meal, any reason at all?

980a08fc871f83f803191278d1a8c3c3

(531)

on May 23, 2012
at 11:27 PM

Oh bummer! Well I hope you find a good solution, all the best in your health journey.

194d8e8140425057fe06202e1e5822a7

(3979)

on May 23, 2012
at 11:14 PM

As an experienced faster, I guess I already knew that protein wasn't NECESSARY every day... I guess I just wanted to know if there was any scientific reasoning behind the suggestion that one eats protein at every meal. It's been suggested to me before by nutritionists, so I was trying to recall the reasoning.

194d8e8140425057fe06202e1e5822a7

(3979)

on May 23, 2012
at 11:12 PM

Or rather, ultimately, unless I'm trying to gain weight, I can just listen to my body. :)

194d8e8140425057fe06202e1e5822a7

(3979)

on May 23, 2012
at 11:12 PM

That's what I figured--it's only "necessary" if trying to gain weight. Otherwise, it's just natural to include protein in maybe half my meals.

194d8e8140425057fe06202e1e5822a7

(3979)

on May 23, 2012
at 11:10 PM

Thanks for the tip, but I'm not interested in carbs at the moment. It seems that if the carbs aren't in the form of green vegetables (or onions, garlic, cabbage, that sort of thing), they make me flare up.

194d8e8140425057fe06202e1e5822a7

(3979)

on May 23, 2012
at 11:08 PM

I have done lots of fasting for my RA. It helps a lot, but not enough. I've done 10-day juice fasts and I've gone months at a time doing the Alejandro Junger's "Clean" protocol, which is in a nutshell 1 solid meal and two liquid meals a day (similar to IF). I've done the master cleanse fast a couple times too... I've fasted a lot in various ways, in other words. Fasting is very healing for me, but it only goes so far in treating my immune system's confusion.

194d8e8140425057fe06202e1e5822a7

(3979)

on May 23, 2012
at 07:25 PM

I wish I could say yeah but coconut is pretty bad for RA. I'm good with calories though, I eat a lot of avocados, olive oil, fish fat, ghee, stuff like that.

B04787f664abf9bebc28f71bf7825a3c

(877)

on May 23, 2012
at 05:04 PM

No one that I know says you must eat protein with every meal :D

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8 Answers

4
A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on May 23, 2012
at 04:32 PM

No, of course not. It's not even necessary to eat protein every day. Many people do 24 hour fasts without problems - even athletic types. Often the athletic types.

Getting a certain amount of protein (on average) is important because it's the only way to get the amino acids your cells need to construct the wide variety of proteins that do just about everything.

The certain amount is something we sometimes quibble over, so perhaps it isn't so certain... Somewhere between 15-25% of maintenance calories is usually a good ballpark.

By the way, 1 whole avocado has about 9 grams of protein. :)

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on May 24, 2012
at 03:39 PM

Bodybuilders worry that if they don't eat protein every 3-4 hours muscle building will stop. This is based on how long it takes to digest protein. This appears to be more of a myth than fact. There is constant turnover/recycling of amino acids and protein and most amino acids can be made from pyruvate (byproduct of Krebs cycle/breakdown of glucose). Paul Jaminet makes the case that fat is more important than protein for muscle building since muscle tissue is mostly made of fat. I'm guessing that you start to lose muscle after 1-2 days of fasting, although ketosis helps to spare it.

194d8e8140425057fe06202e1e5822a7

(3979)

on May 23, 2012
at 11:14 PM

As an experienced faster, I guess I already knew that protein wasn't NECESSARY every day... I guess I just wanted to know if there was any scientific reasoning behind the suggestion that one eats protein at every meal. It's been suggested to me before by nutritionists, so I was trying to recall the reasoning.

A968087cc1dd66d480749c02e4619ef4

(20436)

on May 25, 2012
at 12:40 PM

Fatty acids make up most of the the bi-layer membrane of the cells. That probably accounts for most of it.

194d8e8140425057fe06202e1e5822a7

(3979)

on May 25, 2012
at 04:05 AM

Wow, now THIS is the answer I was looking for, thank you. Wait, muscle is mostly made of fat?? What? That's news to me.

3
F694fc245d03b64d6936ddb29f4c9306

(2613)

on May 23, 2012
at 06:05 PM

Paleo doesn't dictate which ratio of macronutrients is necessary (or even optimal) in each meal. Ancestral hunter-gatherers probably wouldn't have paid much mind to it.

However, there is scientific research that suggests that you can benefit from controlling such ratios. For instance, for the Zone diet (which can be combined with Paleo), Barry Sears and others have advocated a 3:2:2 ratio of carbs:proteins:fats for a variety of reasons. One of the primary reasons is hormone balance. To oversimplify things, your body reacts to carbs through insulin and proteins through glucagon, and Sears argues that controlling these hormones through diet can generate certain health benefits.

1
980a08fc871f83f803191278d1a8c3c3

(531)

on May 23, 2012
at 10:58 PM

I don't see why you should worry about including protein in every meal. Doesn't seem natural at all to perfectly balance every meal. I would try to keep a decent intake on average though. By the way, in my experience the fastest way to put on weight is combining fats ad carbs, such as fruit with almond butter, potatoes with tons of butter, full fat yogurt with a bunch of fruit mixed in, etc. I avoid doing this as much as possible because I am focused on leaning out a bit more and have to be careful, I stick to one or the other based on the day's activities and other factors- but I think you will have the best luck if your non-protein meals are heavy on both fats and carbs!

194d8e8140425057fe06202e1e5822a7

(3979)

on May 23, 2012
at 11:10 PM

Thanks for the tip, but I'm not interested in carbs at the moment. It seems that if the carbs aren't in the form of green vegetables (or onions, garlic, cabbage, that sort of thing), they make me flare up.

980a08fc871f83f803191278d1a8c3c3

(531)

on May 23, 2012
at 11:27 PM

Oh bummer! Well I hope you find a good solution, all the best in your health journey.

1
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on May 23, 2012
at 05:30 PM

The U.S Department of Agriculture's recommendation for protein of 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day I think? You can probably hit that easily enough without having to include protein at every meal.
Are you ok with coconut milk? It could be a nice alternative to having fish or chicken for some meals. It's also fairly easy to get quite a few calories of it down your neck if you are worried about maintaining your weight. I don't put on weight easily but I can put on weight with coconut milk if I really go for it.

194d8e8140425057fe06202e1e5822a7

(3979)

on May 23, 2012
at 07:25 PM

I wish I could say yeah but coconut is pretty bad for RA. I'm good with calories though, I eat a lot of avocados, olive oil, fish fat, ghee, stuff like that.

1
1edb06ded9ccf098a4517ca4a7a34ebc

on May 23, 2012
at 04:31 PM

Hi, Dan. 22 as well, and my main protein sources come from fish/seafood and chicken, but I do also eat beef (about 1x per week). personally I don't think getting protein in with every meal is that imperative, UNLESS I want to gain weight. Basically no matter how many carbs I eat, I can gain weight unless I'm eating over 150g protein per day. I would not be able to do that in under 3 meals, so if I were trying to gain weight I would eat protein in small portions 4-6x per day. However, when i'm not trying to gain weight, I just eat SOMETHING 4-6x a day- a piece of fruit, raw veggies or a salad without protein, a chicken breast with avocado, a bowl of steamed spinach with a yukon gold potato, some scallops, a cup of berries. That's eating 6x a day and only two of the meals are protein. I've got 30lbs on you at the same height, and it's how I eat often without compromising muscle mass. In the end I wouldn't worry about it unless actively trying to gain a good amount of (muscle) weight.

194d8e8140425057fe06202e1e5822a7

(3979)

on May 23, 2012
at 11:12 PM

Or rather, ultimately, unless I'm trying to gain weight, I can just listen to my body. :)

194d8e8140425057fe06202e1e5822a7

(3979)

on May 23, 2012
at 11:12 PM

That's what I figured--it's only "necessary" if trying to gain weight. Otherwise, it's just natural to include protein in maybe half my meals.

0
D8612a7c536e74f9855b70d8e97919b5

(1042)

on July 10, 2012
at 12:48 PM

I like J. Stanton's answer: http://www.gnolls.org/1794/why-snacking-makes-you-weak-not-just-fat/

Quote from the above: "Every time you stimulate insulin production by eating carbohydrates, you need to eat some complete protein with it—or instead of rebuilding your muscles and tissues, your body will continue to disassemble itself to get that protein."

So my take is that if you're eating just fat with little carb or mostly vegetables, that's alright. But if you're eating a good amount of starch, be sure to get some protein with it.

0
868ced835329fa41cc4a0c02bb53cde6

on July 10, 2012
at 10:54 AM

Protein drinks, or maybe the favorite smoothies, really are a basic blend of various nuts, some fruits along with milk. Musclemen particularly like drinks which is a huge help in the bodybuilding procedure, plus it enhances the function of our own digestive system. Protein drinks may also enhance our metabolism and allow us to lose body fat easier.

There are various other food items, which will help you begin every day in a best way, to illustrate, grape fruit or perhaps orange juice. They are simply filled with natural vitamins, minerals and also healthy proteins on top of that. There are many different sources of protein. Then again, you are able to take in milk every morning which we recommend in case you don’t have symptoms of lactose intolerance.

There is certainly a very important factor you must keep away from, which happens to be to start out the day with a coffee. It usually is far better to drink a full cup of fresh squeezed juice. It is usually not suggested to avoid the morning meal as you could really feel fatigued and sleepy. To avert this, often try and have a nutritious morning meal.

0
263f4d936a63d03f2c4454334997551a

on May 23, 2012
at 10:46 PM

Protein is not necessary, in it's purest form. I do a lot of fasting, and after you get past a day or two, your body will pull from stored energy stores, fat, for the energy it needs to run the body. If you go for more than 72 hours, ketosis sets and your brain begins to use ketones for energy.

You might consider a medical grade fast for your rheumatoid arthritis. It would not be easy, but a good long medical fast typically cures that ailment. Check out "Fasting and Eating for Health: A Medical Doctor's Program for Conquering Disease," by Joel Fuhrman and Neal Barnard.

194d8e8140425057fe06202e1e5822a7

(3979)

on May 23, 2012
at 11:08 PM

I have done lots of fasting for my RA. It helps a lot, but not enough. I've done 10-day juice fasts and I've gone months at a time doing the Alejandro Junger's "Clean" protocol, which is in a nutshell 1 solid meal and two liquid meals a day (similar to IF). I've done the master cleanse fast a couple times too... I've fasted a lot in various ways, in other words. Fasting is very healing for me, but it only goes so far in treating my immune system's confusion.

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