- Longevity doctor Peter Attia said he eats up to 10 venison jerky sticks a day.
- He aims to eat 150 to 180 grams of protein per day to help combat age-related muscle loss.
- However, highly processed red meats like jerky have been linked with health risks.
Longevity doctor Peter Attia eats up to 10 venison jerky sticks a day to hit his protein target.
Attia is the author of the 2023 New York Times bestseller “Outlive: The Science and Art of Longevity” and is considered a guru to many interested in longevity, although others have reservations about him.
In a special Q&A episode of his podcast “The Drive,” released October 20, Attia said he aims to eat 150 to 180 grams of protein per day, including five to 10 venison jerky sticks. He also takes nine daily supplements in the hope of boosting his longevity, Insider’s Hilary Brueck reported.
Eating enough protein helps maintain muscle mass, which we lose with age. Having more muscle mass is linked to a lower risk of heart disease, diabetes, and dementia, while having excess fat and low muscle mass has been linked to a range of health issues.
Jerky can be highly processed and high in sodium
Attia said he has the luxury of spending his days at home and thus being able to have control over his diet.
He tries to get most of his protein in four hits over the day, with a sizable chunk coming from Maui Nui venison sticks (he is an investor in the company). “I will easily throw down five to ten of those sticks a day,” Attia said, adding that he prefers eating jerky sticks than making protein shakes most of the time.
A pack of 24 sugar-free pepper venison jerky sticks costs $102 and each stick provides 10 grams of protein as well as 380 milligrams of sodium, which is 17% of a person’s recommended daily amount.
Although some jerky can often contain artificial additives, Maui Nui is made using all natural ingredients, according to the brand’s website.
Venison is a lean red meat meat with lower levels of saturated fat than others, such as beef. It’s also a good source of iron, vitamins B6 and B12, and potassium among other vitamins and minerals.
“It has no garbage in it, it’s literally just got some natural flavors in it, I absolutely love the taste of it,” Attia said.
Depending on the brand, Jerky can be a convenient source of protein but also high in sodium and highly processed. Processed red meats have been linked with a higher risk of cancer as well as cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes, according to research.
Different people need different amounts of protein
How much protein a person needs depends on their size, age, activity levels, and body composition.
Experts generally recommend eating a high protein diet when trying to lose weight as this helps you hold on to muscle and lose fat while in a calorie deficit.
But if someone has a lot of body fat to lose and also has adequate muscle mass, aiming for one gram of protein per pound of bodyweight daily makes it harder to hit a calorie deficit, which is required for fat loss. So eating around 0.6 to 0.7 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight daily is sufficient, Attia said.
If someone wants to lose fat but doesn’t have much muscle mass, they should keep their protein intake higher to help prevent muscle loss, he said.
Research suggests that eating at least 0.7 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight is enough to maximize strength gains, Insider’s Gabby Landsverk reported. And NFL nutritionist Mike Minnis previously told Insider that he recommends people strive for a similar amount of 0.8 grams per pound of bodyweight.
Attia recommends that people under 50 put on as much muscle as possible because it gets a lot harder the older you get — sarcopenia (muscle loss) begins to occur from around the age of 35, which is why resistance training and eating enough protein is important as we age. This helps people avoid frailty and stay “physically robust,” Attia said.
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