Protein is one of the most important nutrients the human body requires. Without enough protein in your diet,expect your body and personal health to suffer, with the macronutrient being the building block for our bodies. But not everyone is fully aware of how much protein they need to eat.
What is Protein and Why do we Need it?
To better understand why we need protein it helps to know what it is. Simply put, proteins are made of molecules called amino acids, which are consumed by the body after digesting protein. While the body produces small quantities of amino acids, most are sourced from our diets through protein.
Protein is commonly referred to as the building blocks of the body, which is no exaggeration given what they do. For example, proteins are responsible for the growth of our muscles, hair, nails, bones, blood, neurotransmitters, enzymes, hormones, and much more.
So, not only is protein needed to help all these vital parts of the body grow and function, they also needed to help build and repair our tissue. Given the importance of the nutrient and how it’s mostly sourced from our diets, we need a fair amount of protein daily to remain fit and healthy.
There are no protein stores in the body either, so if the body is ever running low on protein it doesn’t have anywhere to draw it from.
While a rare occurrence in most people, not getting enough protein (known as protein-deficiency) results in a form of malnutrition that has serious health implications, so we always need to ensure we get enough each day.
Thankfully, most people have a protein rich diet so don’t need to worry about protein-deficiency, although there are instances of eating too much protein.
How Much Protein You Need to Eat EveryDay
There are a few variables that effect the amount of protein you need to eat every day, such as age, weight, height, muscle mass, and fitness levels.
Therefore, the daily recommended amount of protein varies from each person, so nutritionists have developed a handy way to calculate the amount you need in your diet.
It is advised that adults each 0.75g of protein per kilogram of weight. For example, an adult male weighing 70kg (11 stone) requires 52.5g of protein daily.
Using this recommended amount, the average adult male requires 55g of protein while females require 45g of protein. Again, there are variables that impact how much an individual needs, but this average gives people a good starting point forhow muchprotein they need to eat each day.
This is a surprisingly low amount compared to most diets. Many adults eat more protein than this each day, and unless they are looking to build muscle the additional protein intake isn’t required. You can eat up to twice the daily amount of protein and not suffer any adverse effects.
However, the source of the protein is important when it comes to eating too much protein. For instance, if you get the protein from animal meats, there is a chance they are also high in fats and salts, which contribute towards things like weight gain and high blood pressure. Because of this, you should always get protein from quality sources rather than processed foods.
Remember, you always need to measure your own weight and take various considerations into mind when working out the amount of protein you need to eat every day!
Why You May Need More Protein
There are several instances where someone needs to eat more protein each day, protein powder have prepared the infographic “10 Reasons to Eat More Protein” which you can find below. The average daily recommendation is based on sedentary people, which means that people that are more active may need to increase their protein intake to accommodate their lifestyle.
For instance, people that are more active may require up to 2g of protein per kilogram of weight to maintain their current muscle mass and to help aid physical recovery. It’s also a good idea to eat this within an hour of your workout for the best recovery results.
Similarly, elderly people may benefit from additional protein in their diet. This is because the body struggles to convert protein into muscle, leading to a slow decline of muscle mass that causes issues such as fatigue and lack of mobility. Maintaining an active lifestyle with around 1g of protein per kilogram of weight when aged 65 and above can help avoid these issues developing.
Pregnant people also need to eat more protein as it their baby requires the nutrient for healthy growth throughout the pregnancy. Around 1g of protein per kilogram of weight is recommended for pregnant women, which is an average of 70g per day.
The Best Sources of Protein
As there are various sources of protein it’s not always obvious which are the healthiest. When sourcing your protein intake, it’s a good idea to follow a quality over quantity approach, getting the best protein possible for your health.
Animal proteins are considered the best source of the nutrient. These proteins feature all the amino acids the body requires for health functioning and there is a good chance you are already eating them in some capacity.
The best sources of animal proteins include:
- White Meat
- Red Meat
Remember, these need to be healthy sources of animal proteins, which means ditching processed and fatty meats for lean meats, while things like dairy should be low-fat.
Vegetarians and vegans often struggle to get the same amount as people eating meat and animal products due to a more limited source of protein. That doesn’t mean there are no options available however, as various other healthy sources of proteins are available including:
- Beans and Legumes
- Nuts and Seeds
Of course, these proteins are suitable for people that eat meat and animal products too, offering a rich source of protein and various other nutrients. It is actually a good idea to balance out your dietary intake of protein across these various foods, helping you to get the best source of protein along with other essential nutrients and vitamins.