Why Does The Body Need Protein


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How Much Protein Do I Need

Why do our bodies need protein?

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.

Its All About The Protein Package

When we eat foods for protein, we also eat everything that comes alongside it: the different fats, fiber, sodium, and more. Its this protein package thats likely to make a difference for health.

The table below shows a sample of food packages sorted by protein content, alongside a range of components that come with it.

To call out a few examples:

  • A 4-ounce broiled sirloin steak is a great source of proteinabout 33 grams worth. But it also delivers about 5 grams of saturated fat.
  • A 4-ounce ham steak with 22 grams of protein has only 1.6 grams of saturated fat, but its loaded with 1,500 milligrams worth of sodium.
  • 4 ounces of grilled sockeye salmon has about 30 grams of protein, naturally low in sodium, and contains just over 1 gram of saturated fat. Salmon and other fatty fish are also excellent sources of omega-3 fats, a type of fat thats especially good for the heart.
  • A cup of cooked lentils provides about 18 grams of protein and 15 grams of fiber, and it has virtually no saturated fat or sodium.

What about protein powders?

Protein Supports A Healthy Immune System

The immune system uses specialized proteins called antibodies or immunoglobulins to protect against infections. Antibodies are specifically created and released in response to an invasion from harmful pathogens like bacteria and viruses.

As this process repeats itself, the immune response becomes more efficient at producing pathogen-specific antibodies, thus making it easier for the body to fight infections.

Additionally, certain amino acids may have an immuno-preserving effect. For example, the amino acid arginine can help promote the healthy function of T-cells, an essential part of the immune system. Arginine can also protect against low protein levels, which may compromise the immune system.

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Which Is Better: Plant Protein Or Animal Protein

You may be thinking that animal proteins are the best type of protein since they are more likely to have all the necessary essential amino acids. Not so fast! There are plenty of plant-based complete proteins and protein pairings that offer similar, if not better, benefits than animal proteins.

Lets take a closer look at the pros and cons of plant-based versus animal-based proteins to find out which foods will best help you reach your goals.

Foods That Are Good Sources Of Protein

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You can easily up your intake of protein by changing whats on your plate. The percentages listed here are based on the daily value of 50 g of protein per day :

  • 1 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
  • ½ cup chickpeas
  • 3 oz chicken breast
  • ½ cup cooked black beans
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter
  • ½ cup unflavored oatmeal

When youre choosing your protein source, pay attention to fat content. Skinless poultry and fish, for instance, are better choices than red meat because they dont have high levels of saturated fat, which can be dangerous in excess because it can increase the LDL, or “bad” cholesterol in your blood, according to the American Heart Association.

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How Much Protein Your Body Needs

Okay, so how much protein are we talking about here? The amount of protein your body actually requires for the purpose of tissue growth and repair is determined by factors like sex, age, height, weight, health, activity level, and overall calorie need, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. So its going to vary a lot from person to person.

A good starting point for roughly estimating minimum protein needs is the recommended daily allowance for protein, or the average minimum daily intake thats sufficient to meet the nutrient requirements for most healthy individuals . The RDA for protein is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day, or about 0.36 grams per pound. For instance, the average 200-pound person needs at least 72 grams of protein per day to meet the RDA.

People with a higher activity level will likely need more. Individuals who work out and want to maintain and/or build muscle mass through diet and exercise definitely benefit from getting more protein than the RDA, Adam M. Gonzalez, Ph.D., C.S.C.S., assistant professor in the Department of Health Professions at Hofstra University, has told SELF.

Based on those recommendations, for instance, a 200-pound person would want to get between 100 and 180 grams of protein a day. Generally, the more active you arethe more frequent, strenuous, and long your workouts arethe higher in that range youll be, Dr. Gonzalez says.

How Much Protein Do I Need Per Day If I Want To Lose Weight

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The recommended daily protein requirements range between 0.8-2.2 g / kg body weight, and for those who exercise regularly and moderately, 1.5 g / kg / day is a good quantity. The more intensive the strength training, the greater the requirements within the range mentioned above . Based on this, if you are a person who weighs 70 kg, for example, your needs range from 56 to 154 g / day.

Proteins are 10-20 percent of total calories.

Recent research recommends that weightlifting champions take between 1.2 and 1.5 grams of protein per kg of weight. If the athlete weighs 70 kg, he or she needs 105 grams of protein, equivalent to 10 percent of the total calorie intake Calories.

It is desirable to diversify the sources of protein from food. The body needs the basic protein elements by a certain amount, but the increase in it in the body turns into fat inside the body and does not lead to the building of muscles for the athlete. The dismantling of the protein elements and their analysis to get rid of them exhausts the kidneys.

Eat 85-115 grams of protein per meal.

Protein is a wonderful food ingredient in your diet. It will also help you feel full, which will support weight loss.

Maintaining a protein ration of 85-115 grams per meal will help keep the calories under review.

You should focus on small sized meat to help you lose weight. Eat fish, lean beef, poultry, eggs, low-fat dairy products, as well as various types of cereals and nuts.

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How To Calculate Your Recommended Protein Intake

The recommended dietary allowance is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. To maintain nutritional balance, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s MyPlate guidelines recommends protein make up about one-quarter of your plate.

To calculate the target number of grams of protein you should eat each day, Harvard Health Publishing says take your body weight in pounds and multiply it by 0.36. The result should get you within the recommendation to source 10 to 35 percent of your daily total calories from protein, according to MedlinePlus. Usually that means having some kind of dairy at each meal plus a piece of meat the size of a deck of cards thats 3 ounces or the equivalent amount of plant-based protein at lunch and dinner, according to Mayo Clinic.

Keep in mind that these recommendations may change depending on age and health. The recommendation changes for athletes, too. People who exercise frequently or are training for a race need to increase their protein intake to between 1.1 and 1.7 g per kg of body weight daily. Anything over 2 g per kg of weight is considered excessive.

Protein And Athletic Performance

Why is Protein Important for the Human Body?

Protein has long been associated with athletic performance. Protein plays a key role in helping to repair and strengthen muscle tissue after exercise. Although protein is critical for building muscle, to maximise the benefits it should be considered in the context of the whole diet, which includes the right amount of carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals. Optimum protein intake will depend on the type , duration and intensity of exercise, with more not always being better. A protein intake of 1.42.0 g per kg body weight a day is thought to be sufficient to meet the needs for most exercising individuals.7Athletes should aim to achieve protein intakes through consuming a balanced diet, with protein supplements being used for individuals who need to keep protein high but limit total calorie intake.

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Why We Need Protein And Protein Sources

Protein is one of the three key macronutrients we need , and it plays an important role in helping our bodies grow, develop and repair. We should eat protein as part of a varied and balanced diet to get the necessary nutrients for our bodies.

Protein is essential to the development of new cells as well as the restoration of muscle, skin and bones.

Choosing a variety of foods helps to provide our bodies with the right quantity and quality of proteins. These can include plant-based protein sources such as pulses and peas or animal-based protein sources such as fish and lean meats.

Having a well-balanced diet that is rich in a variety of plant-based proteins can help with the general maintenance of good health.

Why Do You Need Protein

Protein plays a role in many bodily processes, including things such as bone health and digestion. Practically all of the reactions in the body are regulated by enzymes, which are a type of protein. These biological molecules are found within cells, and are almost always in the form of proteins. “Enzymes affect the rate of a physiological process, so they can speed up a reaction in the body,” says Jessica Bihuniak, Ph.D.,R.D.N., an assistant professor of clinical nutrition in the department of nutrition and food studies at New York University. They do this by reacting with molecules called substrates, which bind to a part of the enzyme referred to as the active site. Reactions caused by enzymes occur significantly faster once the substrates bind to the active site. Some enzymes also help break up large molecules into smaller ones, which can more easily be absorbed by the body. Digestion and energy production are two examples of bodily processes that are influenced by proteins. Enzymes work alongside chemicals in the body, such as stomach acid and bile, to break down food. Enzymes are also responsible for the storage and release of energy.

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What Does Protein Do For Your Body

Proteins are essential to the human body. They are one of the building blocks of body tissues and can be used as a fuel source.


The most essential and defining characteristic of protein from a nutritional standpoint is its amino acid composition. There are 9 essential amino acids which humans must obtain from their diet in order to prevent protein malnutrition and resulting death.

Asides from water , proteins are the most abundant kind of molecules in the body. It is found in all cells and is the major structural component of all cells in the body , especially muscle.

Protein is a nutrient needed by the human body for growth and maintenance.Proteins are also used in membranes such as glycoproteins. When broken down into amino acids , they are used as precursors to nucleic acids , co enzymes, hormones, immune response, cellular repair and other molecules essential for life. Proteins are also needed to form blood cells.

Proteins are used as an aerobic fuel when carbohydrates are low or as aerobic fuel when lipid resources are also low.

When Is The Best Time To Consume Protein

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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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What Does 1530 Grams Of Protein In Whole Foods Looks Like

Eating a banana, Greek yogurt and a hard-boiled egg will get you 19 grams of protein on average. A 3-ounce chicken breast with a half-cup rice and a half-cup of vegetables amounts to 25 grams protein. An egg and bean burrito with a glass of milk is about 28 grams of protein.

As you can see, it’s easy to get the recommended 1530 grams per meal. Most people even athletes can reach their protein needs by including a serving of dairy at each meal and a piece of meat the size of a deck of cards at lunch and supper.

Protein should accompany fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Protein should not be the entire meal. If you feel like you might have increased protein needs, consider adding more beans, lentils, soy or seafood rather than processed supplements.

Kristi Wempen is a dietitian in Nutrition Counseling and Education in Mankato, Minnesota.

For the safety of our patients, staff and visitors, Mayo Clinic has strict masking policies in place. Anyone shown without a mask was either recorded prior to COVID-19 or recorded in a non-patient care area where social distancing and other safety protocols were followed.

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What Are Essential And Non

Many amino acids can be synthesized in the body from other biological molecules and do not need to be consumed in the diet however other amino acids cannot be made by the body and have to be eaten in the diet to sustain health. Amino acids that must be eaten in the diet are called essential amino acids whereas those that the body can make are called non-essential amino acids .

There are 9 essential amino acids, which include: histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine. The most common non-essential amino acids include alanine, arginine, asparagine, aspartic acid, cysteine, glutamic acid, glutamine, glycine, proline, serine, and tyrosine. During growth, arginine is also considered an essential amino acid. There are certain conditions that may require consumption of nonessential amino acids, which are called conditionally essential. For example, in burned individuals, the metabolic demand of proline surpasses the body’s capacity to synthesize the amino acid .

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Tips To Increase Your Protein Intake

To include more high-quality protein in your diet, try replacing processed carbs with high-quality protein. It can reduce your risk for heart disease and stroke, and youll also feel full longer, which can help you maintain a healthy weight.

  • Reduce the amount of processed carbohydrates you consumefrom foods such as pastries, cakes, pizza, cookies and chipsand replace them with fish, beans, nuts, seeds, peas, chicken, low-fat dairy, and soy and tofu products.
  • Snack on nuts and seeds instead of chips, replace a baked dessert with Greek yogurt, or swap out slices of pizza for a grilled chicken breast and a side of beans.

Not a seafood fan? Make fish more palatable

If youre not a fan of seafood, but want to include more in your diet, there are ways to make fish more palatable.

  • Always buy fresh fish. Some say tilapia, cod, or salmon have the least fishy taste.
  • Disguise the taste by adding a flavorful sauce.
  • Add shell fish or white fish, such as cod or tilapia, to a curry.
  • Combine grilled fish with fresh salsa or your favorite chutney
  • Mix canned salmon or tuna with low-fat mayonnaise and chopped onion for a tasty sandwich filling.

True Or False Big Steak Equals Bigger Muscles

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

False. Although adequate protein throughout the day is necessary, extra strength training is what leads to muscle growth not extra protein intake. You can’t build muscle without the exercise to go with it.

The body can’t store protein, so once needs are met, any extra is used for energy or stored as fat. Excess calories from any source will be stored as fat in the body.

Extra protein intake also can lead to elevated blood lipids and heart disease because many high-protein foods you eat are high in total and saturated fat. Extra protein intake, which can tax the kidneys, poses an additional risk to people predisposed to kidney disease.

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