Why Do We Need Protein


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Types Of Protein Sources 1 Caveat

What Is Protein and Why Do We Need Protein?

If thats starting to sound a little chicken-or-egg , remember that we have to get protein in our diets to keep this process going.

We take in this all-important macronutrient from two types of protein sources: plant sources like beans, nuts, and whole grains, and animal sources like meat, fish, and dairy products.

Animal-based foods are often known as complete proteins because they provide all nine essential amino acids, whereas plant proteins lack some of them. However, even if youre following a plant-based diet its possible to get all nine in your diet by varying what you eat.

But even so, the major benefits of protein all sound pretty good, right? So, is this a more is more situation? Are there any downsides to loading up on protein?

Well, lets start by saying that we do need to consume certain amounts of protein every day to keep things functioning properly. But its a little challenging to identify a one-size-fits-all answer to the correct intake of protein or the best source of protein.

In general, most Americans are already getting enough protein in our diets. The caveat is that certain widespread eating habits arent delivering the healthiest combination of nutrients to our bodies.

Now, lets identify how much protein we really need every day, before digging into the most nutritious sources of protein to look for.

How Much Protein Do You Need Every Day

Protein is essential to good health. The very origin of the word from the Greek protos, meaning “first” reflects proteins top-shelf status in human nutrition. You need it to put meat on your bones and to make hair, blood, connective tissue, antibodies, enzymes, and more. Its common for athletes and bodybuilders to wolf down extra protein to bulk up. But the message the rest of us often get is that our daily protein intake is too high.

The Recommended Dietary Allowance for protein is a modest 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. The RDA is the amount of a nutrient you need to meet your basic nutritional requirements. In a sense, its the minimum amount you need to keep from getting sick not the specific amount you are supposed to eat every day.

To determine your daily protein intake, you can multiply your weight in pounds by 0.36, or use this online protein calculator. For a 50-year-old woman who weighs 140 pounds woman and who is sedentary , that translates into 53 grams of protein a day.

The Perks Of Getting Enough Protein

Many people amp up their protein intake to help with hunger and weight loss, and these benefits have merit. According to Jamie I. Baum, PhD, associate professor of nutrition and director, Center for Human Nutrition at the Department of Food Science, University of Arkansas, protein has positive effects, but its not a magic bullet.

Mathematically speaking, if youre looking to slim down, when you add something to your diet in this case, more protein you have to take something out. But assuming youve adjusted for your calorie needs , a protein-rich menu will give you an edge. Protein burns about 10 to 20 extra calories a day, which might not seem like a lot, but its enough to counteract the one to two pounds that Americans gain every year, she explains. It also helps you feel fuller longer, which helps prevent overeating. As anyone who has lost weight knows, hunger is enemy number one.

Beyond weight loss and hunger management, packing your meals with protein helps you hold on to precious muscle as you age. Though skimping on protein at a single meal wont do any damage, each time you fall short, youve missed an opportunity to activate protein synthesis in your muscles. If this happens often and youre over 35 years old, your muscle mass may start to decline, explains Paddon-Jones.

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How Much Do You Need Daily

Now that we understand why we need protein, we should investigate how much of it we need daily.

To begin, most people arent deficient in protein. That said, the Recommended Dietary Allowance for protein starts at 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight per day.

More comfortable using pounds instead of kilograms? Calculate the minimum estimated amount of protein you should eat each day with this formula:

  • body weight x 0.36 = # of grams of protein needed per day

However, your needs may vary depending on your activity level and health status. For instance, moderately active individuals may need about one gram of protein per kilogram of body weight per day. Meanwhile, athletes and more intensely active people may need to up that quota to 1.3 or 1.6 grams.

A good rule of thumb is to aim for your meal to consist of about 25 percent protein. Plus, boosting your intake should be fairly simple. If you eat animal-based products , rest assured that they provide ample amounts of protein.

Otherwise, protein is readily available in a range of plant-based foods, including:

We Need To Maintain Our Muscle Mass As We Age Because We Become Less Active And Frail

Why do we need protein?

Most experts agree with Tipton that protein is best consumed in food instead of supplements. But there are some exceptions, such as athletes who find it difficult to hit their daily protein targets, points out Graeme Close, professor of human physiology at Liverpool John Moores University. I believe most need more than the recommended daily allowance, and theres good evidence to support this, he says. In this case, he says, a shake can be useful.

Another demographic who can benefit from extra protein? The elderly. Thats because as we age, we need more protein to retain muscle mass. But we also tend to eat less protein as we get older because our taste-buds begin to prefer sweet over savoury.

Emma Stevenson, professor of sport and exercise science at Newcastle University, is working with food companies to get more protein into snacks that the elderly are known to regularly buy, such as biscuits. We need to maintain our muscle mass as we age, because we become less active and frail, she says.

Close says the elderly should increase protein intake to around 1.2g per kg body weight.

Most people get more than their daily recommended allowance of protein from their diet

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Lowers Your Blood Pressure

High blood pressure is a major cause of heart attacks, strokes, and chronic kidney disease.

Interestingly, higher protein intake has been shown to lower blood pressure.

In a review of 40 controlled trials, increased protein lowered systolic blood pressure by 1.76 mm Hg on average and diastolic blood pressure by 1.15 mm Hg .

One study found that, in addition to lowering blood pressure, a high-protein diet also reduced LDL cholesterol and triglycerides (

29 ).

One study found that overweight women who ate 30% of their calories from protein lost 11 pounds in 12 weeks though they didnt intentionally restrict their diet .

Protein also has benefits for fat loss during intentional calorie restriction.

In a 12-month study in 130 overweight people on a calorie-restricted diet, the high-protein group lost 53% more body fat than a normal-protein group eating the same number of calories .

Of course, losing weight is just the beginning. Maintaining weight loss is a much greater challenge for most people.

A modest increase in protein intake has been shown to help with weight maintenance. In one study, increasing protein from 15% to 18% of calories reduced weight regain by 50% .

If you want to keep off excess weight, consider making a permanent increase in your protein intake.


What Does A Protein Ball Do

It provides a quick jolt of energy when you feel your energy levels flagging. It helps you get closer to your protein targets if you are tracking your macros carefully.

Protein balls make for delicious protein-packed snack options and are a great way to stop you from resorting to oily or processed foods that may wreck your nutrition goals.

And, as a recent cartoon in a newspaper said, they add some joy to your life!

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Can You Eat Too Much Protein

While many Americans are concerned about getting enough protein, they are more likely consuming too much. “If you’re including protein with most meals and with some snacks, you’re likely consuming an adequate amount,” Smith says. Bihuniak adds: “You really have to restrict your diet to not meet your body’s protein needs.” The daily amount of dietary protein recommended for adults is 0.8 gram per kilogram of body weight, or just over 7 grams for every20 pounds of weight. For a 140-pound person, for example, that equals about 50 grams of protein per day. “That number is going to increase the more that you are active. endurance athletes, that might pop up to about 1.2. Maybe the higher end is about 1.5 if you’re doing a lot of strength workouts. But I do think that the average person also overestimates how active they are.”

Your protein needs can change, however, if you are looking to lose weight.”Eating dietary protein is what we consider to be protein sparing, meaning the idea that when we lose weight, we don’t just lose fat,” Caspero says. “When we lose weight, we’re losing a lot of things in the body, and we lose about 10% of our muscle mass, or protein, as we lose weight.”

How Much Protein Do I Need

Why do we need proteins?

The National Academy of Medicine recommends that adults get a minimum of 0.8 grams of protein for every kilogram of body weight per day, or just over 7 grams for every 20 pounds of body weight.

  • For a 140-pound person, that means about 50 grams of protein each day.
  • For a 200-pound person, that means about 70 grams of protein each day.

The National Academy of Medicine also sets a wide range for acceptable protein intakeanywhere from 10% to 35% of calories each day. Beyond that, theres relatively little solid information on the ideal amount of protein in the diet or the healthiest target for calories contributed by protein. In an analysis conducted at Harvard among more than 130,000 men and women who were followed for up to 32 years, the percentage of calories from total protein intake was not related to overall mortality or to specific causes of death. However, the source of protein was important.

Its important to note that millions of people worldwide, especially young children, dont get enough protein due to food insecurity. The effects of protein deficiency and malnutrition range in severity from growth failure and loss of muscle mass to decreased immunity, weakening of the heart and respiratory system, and death.

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So What Happens When We Eat Protein In Our Food

The cells in your intestine cant absorb whole proteins, only single amino acids or very small chains of two or three amino acids called peptides. So digestive enzymes break down the proteins into their component amino acids essentially, cutting the string between the sausages.

The amino acids and peptides are absorbed into the bloodstream and safely delivered at different parts around your body where they are required, either to make new proteins or to be used to release energy. Most arrive first at the liver, where most new protein are made, and where excess protein is broken down ready for burning as a fuel for metabolism.

Did you know? There are around 30,000 to 50,000 different proteins in the human body! Each has its own unique gene in our DNA which arranges the 22 amino acids in a unique sequences. Proteins in the body cells are continuously being formed and broken down by enzymes, so amino acids are continuously being recycled from broken down proteins as well as the diet.

What Exactly Is Protein

Think of protein as strings of sausages. Long strings some many thousands. Each sausage represents one of 15 similar small molecules called amino acids. The order of amino acids in the chain is programmed by DNA. Amino means that they contain nitrogen, but they also contain carbon, hydrogen and oxygen atoms. In order to do their jobs, proteins curl up into characteristic shapes, and many of them need to incorporate minerals or vitamins in order to function.

Some proteins are solid, some are flexible in cell membranes, others are mobile in solutions

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Protein Helps Manage Weight

Protein can help you maintain a healthy weight in a number of ways.

For starters, its the most filling macronutrient. In fact, a review on the effect of protein suggests that it can promote greater satiety and increase thermogenesis, the process by which calories are burned.

In addition, protein can positively influence the hormones that affect appetite. Specifically, protein may help lower levels of ghrelin, the hunger hormone. Lower grehlin levels can help prevent overeating, which often results in weight gain. Protein can also promote healthy peptide YY levels, which can help you feel fuller, faster.

Moreover, a 2020 study suggests that following a high-protein diet can help support weight reduction and prevent plateaus throughout a weight loss regimen.

Additionally, another study found that women who increased their caloric intake of protein by 30 percent experience 11 pounds of weight loss over the course of 12 weeksall without making any other dietary changes.

When Is The Best Time To Consume Protein

What is protein &  why do we need it?

Spread out protein consumption evenly throughout the day. On average, people tend to get most of their protein during evening meals and the least at breakfast. Some newer studies show moving some protein from supper to breakfast can help with weight management by decreasing hunger and cravings throughout the day. Of course, more research is needed before these claims can be verified.

General recommendations are to consume 1530 grams of protein at each meal. Studies show higher intakes those more than 40 grams in one sitting are no more beneficial than the recommended 1530 grams at one time. Don’t waste your money on excessive amounts.

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Chickpea Superfood Cookie Dough Balls

Recipe by:TheBalancedBlondeBonus: these babies will last for a week and a bit in the fridge

These dough balls are gluten-free, dairy-free, refined sugar-free, vegan, low glycemic, and chock full of nutrient-dense and protein-rich superfoods. These dough balls are great pre-workout and post-workout energy boosts.

Taking Bcaas & Whey Protein: My Recommendation

My recommendation is to supplement with both BCAAs and whey protein powder to maximize your results. However, I recommend taking them separately rather than mixing them. Take 5g of BCAAs with water during your workout and a scoop of whey protein as part of a post-workout shake.

This allows you to get the benefits of BCAAs I described above during your training session, along with the benefits of whey protein powder for recoveryafter your training session.

On rest days, you can mix a scoop of BCAAs into your water for sipping over the course of the day.

Read Also: Good Protein Bars For Weight Loss

Why Do We Need Protein In Our Diet

Protein, also known as amino acids, is a necessary part of our diet. If we dont eat enough protein, our bodies may not be able to function properly. Protein is one of the most important building blocks in our bodies, so its crucial that we get enough of it in our diet. We can get protein from a variety of sources. As a general rule, most meat, seafood, eggs, dairy, nuts, and beans provide protein in our diets.

But What Is Protein Anyway

Med Talk, Health Talk: Protein – Why we need it

Alongside carbohydrates and fats, protein is one of the three macronutrients our bodies need in substantial quantities. Compare this to micronutrients like vitamins and minerals. Theyre still incredibly important, but our bodies need them in smaller doses.

Proteins are made up of some combination of 20 amino acids, which are organic compounds that link up to form long chains. Depending on the sequence and structure, each chain of amino acids serves a different purpose. An Oregon State blog describes the whole structure quite prettily, with amino acids as the charms on a charm bracelet.

Nine of these charms are considered essential amino acids. The FDA explains that our bodies need them to function normally, but we cant make them on our own. Lab tests have shown that missing out on these essential amino acids can cause illness and may even have fatal consequences.

The remaining 11 amino acids are considered nonessential, which means that our cells can produce them in a process known as protein synthesis. But this requires the help of other proteins and the essential amino acids.

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When Do We Need Protein

Protein is an essential nutrient, meaning that our bodies cannot function without it. Protein is made up of molecules called amino acids, and there are nine that are essential. These are: the essential amino acids known as Arg, His, Ile, Leu, Lys, Met, Phe, Val and Tyr. Although non-essential amino acids are also important, there are only 20 of them. The body can make essential amino acids, but in order for the body to repair and build new tissue, we need to get them from our diet. Additionally, many foods contain the amino acid called glutamine. Glutamine is important for the immune system and for rebuilding muscle. The body doesnt store or synthesize protein, so it needs to get it from its food. In fact, even before a woman has a baby, her body starts producing and storing proteins. This is called placental protein. The mothers body is using its own protein for her baby, which is stored in the placenta, so her body doesnt need to make its own.

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