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Does Protein Give You Extra Energy?

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Protein/nutrition bar manufacturers like to advertise that their products give you more energy. In fact, the body burns calories from carbohydrate and fat before it even begins to burn protein. The body will burn/oxidize protein if there are insufficient carbs or fats available to provide the energy necessary for the body. There is no documented evidence, however, that extra protein intake gives you extra energy.

Although the body prefers to use carbohydrates or fat, it has the ability to use functioning protein and break it down into amino acids in order to provide energy necessary for the body to continue to function.

This is actually a very wasteful use of protein, since protein's main function is to provide the building blocks for the body's cellular regeneration. If energy is being expended more quickly than glucose is available to provide that energy, or using it faster than fat reserves can provide fuel, the body will break down functioning protein (muscles) to provide the energy that is needed.

One factor to consider is that protein is excreted by the kidneys. Excess intake of protein may result in damage to the kidneys and may lead to kidney failure. The key is to plan a protein intake that is within the healthy range for your body size and your recommended calorie intake. Here is an SP chart to use as a guideline

Nutrient Carbohydrates Fat P
rotein (Women) Protein (Men)
Healthy Range 45%-65% 20%-35% 10%-35%
1200 calories 135-195 g 27-47 g *60-105 g N/A
1500 calories 169-244 g 33-58 g *60-131 g *75-131 g
1800 calories 203-293 g 40-70 g *60-158 g *75-158 g
2100 calories 236-341 g 47-82 g *60-184 g *75-184 g
2400 calories 270-390 g 53-93 g *60-210 g *75-210 g


One of protein's greatest virtues is providing satiety (feeling "full"). Protein also helps repair daily tissue breakdown in the body---especially after strength training exercise.

From my education and experience as a nurse and my informal study since my retirement, I have come across four factors which relate directly to maximizing the body's energy levels. These are all familiar to you. They include:
1) adequate quality sleep
2) balanced diet with adequate micro-nutrients (magnesium, selenium, etc.)
3) adequate and balanced exercise
4) and stress management.
The SP site has many great articles on all of these topics to help give you suggestions for enhancement of your fitness journey.

Although many health food manufacturers would like to sell us on their particular recipe or potion for "extra" energy, I have come to believe that there is no such thing. Any time an individual uses a stimulant (of any kind) there is a resultant energy "crash" which follows. What we are called upon to do instead is to create a lifestyle which provides appropriate nutrition and effective body motion to support and respect the temple that is our body.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Wow. Thanks for the information. emoticon
    2723 days ago
  • no profile photo CD13876765
    Thanks Lynne!
    2726 days ago
    Good information. Have you seen how much sugar some of those bars have in them and a lot of calories too. I am trying to change to a lower carb diet, particularly sugar. I'm doing okay with it but by fiber intake is going a little overboard. LOL But I do feel better and have gotten a little weight loss too.
    2727 days ago
    I cut out most carbs and stayed within 50 carbs a day and my energy whet through the roof!!! I did not need an afternoon nap. I was clear headed and it was like a cloud lifted off of me... It worked for me. If you have a donut or a high carb desert you will feel tired, try it... You'll see... If you have just a plain chicken breast you wont feel that fatigue...
    2727 days ago
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