Protein has been a hotly debated topic in the world of nutrition for quite some time.
Some folks say we should get it strictly from plant-based sources, others advocate that animal products are a better option.
And then, somewhere along the way, protein became the black sheep of macronutrients, as the focus shifted to carbs and fats instead.
But protein is essential to good health, as it creates the building blocks for growth and development and is necessary for lean muscle maintenance—something we should all be concerned about if we want to age well. It also impacts our energy, neurotransmitters, and so much more.
When it comes to how much protein we should eat, there’s debate there as well. The current recommended dietary allowance for protein, or RDA, is based on a specific population and gives us the minimum amount we should eat to avoid illness, not the amount for optimal health.
If you missed this week’s episode of The Doctor’s Farmacy, I sat down with my good friend Dr. Gabrielle Lyon to talk about all things protein. Dr. Lyon practices muscle-centric medicine, which focuses on the largest organ in the body, skeletal muscle, as the key to longevity. She believes protein is the defining nutrient for a high-quality diet and that it’s time for a new level of science around this misunderstood macro.
Throughout this episode, Dr. Lyon and I talk about the ongoing confusion around what sources of protein are best. She feels animal-based sources are ideal and explains why. We also explore why a vegan diet just doesn’t work for some folks and how those who aren’t eating a lot of animal protein can use supplements, like branched-chain amino acids, as nutritional insurance.
Dr. Lyon also shares why our protein intake needs to be based on age and muscle mass, rather than sex, and recommends a special formula for calculating how much to eat. The result is likely to surprise you.
There’s a lot to think about when it comes to protein; Dr. Lyon shows us there is a much deeper conversation needed for this forgotten macronutrient.
Tune in to this episode of The Doctor’s Farmacy to learn more about the power of protein and how you can up-level your own diet.
Wishing you health and happiness,
Mark Hyman, MD