Today I want to cover some simple facts about Protein. How much protein do we really need? Where can we get our protein from? What is protein?
What are proteins? Where do they come from? What do we need them for?
Proteins are made out of amino acids. There are 20 different amino acids, from which are essential and some are not. Some our body can produce itself, some we need to consume through the food we eat.
Proteins have a lot of functions in our body. They are necessary for the structure of our cells, their functions, carrying out chemical reactions and so on. The most common function, and probably why you are reading this article, is that proteins repair our muscle tissue and build up the muscle stronger than before. Whenever we work out, our body breaks down muscle tissue. We think we are training our muscles in the gym or on the track, meanwhile we are actually breaking them down and damaging them. The repair phase occurs mainly while we are sleeping. Proteins are repairing and strengthening our muscles while we rest.
How much protein do we need?
In today’s fitness industry we see thousands of bodybuilders and fitness models eating 200+ grams of protein, and I thought when I first started training that I really need that much, I was wrong.
Most big nutrition organisations like the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommend a fairly low protein intake. An adult who is not working out and just going through his daily life, should consume 0,8g of protein for ever kilogram of body weight.
Ex: Josh is 45 years old and weights 90kg. 0,8×90 = 72g Josh should consume 72g of protein.
You can guess where I am going with that, we really don’t need as much protein as we think we might. A good rule of thumb is: If you consume three meals per day, try and include 20-25g of protein in each meal and you will be safe.
Okay. But I am an athlete and I am working out for hours every day. Don’t I need more protein?
Yes athletes definitely need more protein. They break down a lot of muscle tissue during their hours long workouts.
Tamberly Powell, MS, RD
Lane Community College
The table was created for a college nutrition class, but is exactly what the American College of Sports Medicine, American Dietetic Association and so on recommend.
The average human being does not need as much protein as everyone thinks. The average American, according to a survey conducted by the National Health and Nutrition Examination, consumes almost twice the amount of protein as needed. Unless you are an athlete, you do not need to worry about your protein intake, and might even cut it down a little. Most of the protein comes from red meat, fatty meat, and can bring many many health risks with it.
Good protein sources would be beans, lentils, green vegetables or lean meat like chicken.
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