I think by now we are used to hearing the phrases, “You need more protein in your diet” or “Eat more protein and you’ll lose weight!” Or something along those lines.
People on a high-protein diet do find it easier to manage their cravings and weight. Reason being that, protein increases satiety and helps curb appetite; long story short, it helps you feel more full and satisfied.
We need protein to maintain a healthy lifestyle, but knowing how much we should be eating and where we should be getting it from can be hard to figure out.
There’s a lot of information out there with differentiating opinions on how much protein we should be eating, and some of it can be misleading or downright wrong.
Why do we need protein? Protein, is broken down into amino acids and is used throughout our bodies, from head to toe. It’s important for the structure and function of our cells.
Protein also promotes chemical reactions that help the structural components of our hair, bone, skin, and connective tissues.
More importantly, protein helps our bodies build and maintain muscle, aids in the movement of muscles, improves our immune systems and helps carry oxygen throughout our bodies.
Our bodies produce some amino acids, but the majority aka essential amino acids, come from our diet.
How much protein do we need? The amount of protein needed differs from person to person. There are many factors that can change how much an individual should consume. Gender, age, weight, and activity level all determine how much protein you should be consuming.
According to the DRI (Dietary Reference Intake), the average adult should be consuming about 0.4 grams of protein for every pound of body weight per day.
For those who are more active, this suggestion may be a little on the low side. Athletes, on average, need to be consuming more protein in order to keep up with their body’s demands.
For example, strength athletes should be consuming 0.6 to 0.8 grams of protein per pound of body weight daily, and endurance athletes should consume of 0.5 to 0.6 grams per pound of body weight.
It’s often thought that being meat-free and still getting enough protein can be challenging when in fact, there are many other foods that can be used as an alternative protein sources.
Foods like vegetables, beans, grains, nuts, and seeds, when combined, can provide you with plenty of protein. For example, broccoli has about 8 grams of protein per serving.
No matter where you receive your protein from, it’s imperative that you’re getting your protein from clean, high-quality sources. If you’re getting your protein intake from an animal-based source, look for animals that are hormone-free and on a healthy, natural diet themselves. Healthy animal means healthy you.
This same concept should be applied to plant-based proteins. Go with organic, chemical-free, and pesticide-free whenever you can.
Lastly, apply this to your supplements as well. The less artificial ingredients, the better. Hate to say it as well, but the cheaper it is, generally the cheaper the ingredients.
Depending upon your health and fitness goals, protein should make up about 20 percent of your total calorie intake. Exceeding 35 percent of an overall calorie intake may be dangerous, leading to chronic hydration, bone mineral loss, and kidney damage.
Have questions on protein intake, figuring out your macronutrient needs, meal plans, etc. Message me on social media (I can be found as Tommy Destefano or Tommy Destefano Fitness) or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.