Do you know the primary difference between protein and carbohydrate? For that matter, do you know the purpose of each energy source? Each most definitely has its place in your daily diet, but do you know the correct proportions to match your needs?
Protein is found in meats, fish, nuts and dairy and serves the purpose of repairing muscle and aids in recovery.
Carbohydrate is found in grains such as bread and cereal, pasta and even fruit. The primary purpose of carbohydrate is to fuel your activity and allows you to perform by sending energy more quickly to your body.
As Americans, we consume FAR too much protein and not enough carbohydrates. My wife serves as team dietician for 2 local professional sports teams and regularly interacts with the players. She counsels them on the proper intake of each energy source and shares with me the predisposition that most of these athletes share. More meat, less grains…
Here’s something to consider that might change your mind about your own daily intake…
The body cannot store protein; what does not get used in recovery turns to fat. Excess protein equates to excess lbs.
Some advice that my wife recently shared with one of her players was brilliant and I can easily follow her logic:
“replace a handful size portion of meat with an equivalent size potato.”
So to answer the question posed in the title of this post: “You need both, but you don’t need as much protein as you think!”
So how much protein do you need exactly?
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Dietitians of Canada and the American College of Sports Medicine recommend the following for power and endurance athletes, based on body weight:
Power athletes (strength or speed): 1.2 to 1.7 grams/kilogram a day
Endurance athletes: 1.2 to 1.4 grams/kilogram a day
AND HERE’S YOUR CARBOHYDRATE CALCULATOR: