‘Pie hole’, colloquial for one’s mouth, is believed to have evolved in the USA in the 1980s from the British expression ‘cake hole’ (coined in the mid 20th century). Pie hole refers to a mouth, as in: Shut your pie hole or, in this case: Put less in your pie hole.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Does this Protein Bar Make Me Look Fat? Pt I

Protein, protein, protein. If you're a gym goer of any kind, you've probably heard some bro-science (translation: not real science) about protein. More than likely, you've overheard conversations about people's protein bar meal replacements, protein snack bars, protein recovery shakes or a protein product promising a pink panther driving a Porsche... Or something. Let's powwow about protein.

A few fun facts to get us started:
  • The building blocks of protein are called amino acids (AAs)
    • There are 20 AAs
    • 9 essential, 11 non-essential
    • Essential means we must get them from food
  • Protein is not stored in the body
    • Body proteins are in a constant state of 'flux' (constantly being broken down and rebuilt)
    • That's why we've got to eat protein daily
  • Protein is important for many things in our bodies 
    • Muscles, cells, enzymes, hormones.. Just to name a few
  • Plant and animal products both contain protein (more on this in pt II)
  • Studies show protein helps us to feel satiated/satisfied
So, if protein is good... More protein must be better, right? Umm, well... No. Happy to burst your bubble here. A little more info? Let's start off with how much protein our bodies actually need:
  • Current guidelines recommend 10-35% of our daily calories come from protein
  • For the average adult, the recommendation is 0.8g/kg (this number may increase for those who are physically active, pregnant, growing or for older adults - much more on this in pt II)
    • Eg: If you weigh 70kg (154lbs) you need roughly 56g of protein daily
  • The average 19-30 year old eats 91grams of protein per day
People lucky enough to live in developed countries are rarely deficient in protein (as you just saw.) 
So, protein supplements... Let me pose you this question: What happens when you eat too many carbohydrates?
Answer: Whatever your body doesn't use immediately to run away from a lion, is stored as glycogen... Until your muscles and liver are filled up and can't store any more glycogen (yes, there's a maximum, kind of like your piggy bank.) The rest gets stored as fat.
Ever wondered what happens when you eat too much protein? Yep, the extra stored as fat, just like extra carbs. Pigging out on protein is pretty pointless.

Digest that and in the next installment of this mind-blowing madness, we'll discuss how your body breaks down protein, the consequences of excess protein, protein needs for active people, vegetarian people and older people.


  1. Hi! This is an interesting article, thanks! I just wanted to ask you, if there is a way to know if your level of protein is low?

    1. Hi Beth,
      You can work out your protein requirements as stated in the article. Then track your diet for ~3 days using a tool like SuperTracker https://supertracker.usda.gov/
      Then compare your intake with your estimated requirements.
      Good luck!