A Little Catching Up on the Research

Wow, what a month! December is always such a busy time for us private practice Dietitians!

December started as a month of learning while attending the Dairy Farmers of Canada conference on Protein with my colleague Susan, followed by a 2-day conference in Phoenix Arizona on sports performance. So often with the field of nutrition we are reading research papers, evaluating the evidence and using that information to make recommendations. As you might guess-sometimes new research can take a while…or it may be very limited. These conferences allow us to be in a room with some of the leading researchers and experts in our field to ask questions and envision practicality to our patients.

We at Revive try to stay on top and even ahead of the research. For anyone of our clients reading this, you well know that protein is a point of passion for us. Most of us are aware that it is one of the key building blocks for building lean muscle mass; muscle mass is important to health as it plays a role is maintaining blood sugars levels and maintaining a positive whole body protein balance.  Muscle mass also plays a key role in fighting illness and stress, which in turn can help prevent the onset of chronic disease. Since we lose muscle as we age, it is ideal to build muscle tissue above the normal range to help reduce our risk of developing insulin resistance, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.  Muscle burns more calories than fat, a higher percentage of muscle mass will allow us to eat more calories while maintaining our weight.  Coupled with the fact that protein from our food can help minimize blood sugar fluctuations and reduce cravings.

With all these benefits of protein you can see why we feel so strongly about this particular nutrient.  Unfortunately our society can take information like this to extremes, and while I could discuss excessive protein in the diet, this is not the point of the blog.

The seminar on protein was interesting in the fact that, for weight management it seems to be more beneficial to have small amounts of protein throughout the day, and that the body seems to have a certain threshold. One of the most interesting pointes raised was the threshold of protein by Dr. Douglas Paddon-Jones from the university of Texas found that body protein synthesis does not significantly increase above 30 grams of protein per meal. That would be about 4oz of protein.  This is why portion sizes can be helpful to look at. How often do we skip protein at breakfast, maybe grab a sandwich for lunch from the deli and then have and 8 or 10 oz steak for dinner. The extra 4 or 6oz at dinner will not be utilized to build muscle and since these is no amino acid type storage form in the body; extra intake is converted and stored as fat.

For many people, an average weekly breakfast will contribute a high carbohydrate load with inadequate protein. The following are two simple examples of balanced 30-gram protein breakfasts:

  • 2 slices of toast with 1 tsp of butter, 2 eggs, 1 cup of milk, ½ cup of blueberries (Total protein ~ 27-29 g)
  • ¾ cup cooked old-fashioned oats cooked in 1-cup milk, with 2 tbsp. of hemp hearts, ½ cup Greek yogurt, and ½ a large banana (Total protein ~ 30-32 g)


My second conference took place in phoenix Arizona at athletes Performance. For anyone who knows me knows that this was my version of heaven. A top rate training facility, a shake bar to make individualised pre and post exercise shakes, a kitchen that makes some of the most delicious post exercise meals I have ever tasted.

With sports nutrition being a competitive field it was interesting to being in a room full of sport Dietitians to discuss different ideas supplement and special considerations.  Now back in the swing of things, I am fired up to investigate a few new supplement companies to work with, and research some more supplements to using with clients. I will keep you posted on what we find in the upcoming months.