Protein: Are we getting enough of it It’s hard to ignore protein when you are trying to get healthy. High protein diets, keto diets, low carb diets, it seems like you can’t turn a corner these days without someone talking about protein and why you need it.
What’s the scoop?Protein is a macronutrient that essentially provides the building blocks of tissue in your body; it helps create muscle. Along with that, protein has an added benefit, it helps you stay full for longer, which is why it can go a long way towards helping you lose excess weight.
So how much protein do you need?Well, there is no one size fits all approach when it comes to how much protein you need. While as a general rule of thumb women need less than men, other factors like daily activity levels and overall lifestyle can affect the quantity. As a general rule, you would need 0.8 grams of protein for every kilogram of weight, however, this quantity would be adjusted basis the type of diet as well as your level of activity. As a woman, there are certain conditions under which your protein needs would increase such as pregnancy. Consult a doctor to help you understand the right quantity for you.
Great! How do you get the right amount?There are plenty of natural sources of protein available. While most people tend to think of meat as their primary source, there are plenty of vegetarian options to choose from as well such as nuts, seeds, lentils and of course dairy products.
Are all sources of protein the same?It is important to note that protein from different sources is not the same. To begin with, not all protein is “complete”. A complete protein is one that has enough of all nine of the essential amino acids needed by the human body. Some sources of protein, such as plant-based protein may be lower in one or more amino acids. However, when had in combination with other foods, these amino acids will balance each other out, such as peanut butter with white bread. The other thing you need to consider is the bioavailability of protein. Bio-availability is a percentage or scale that tells you just how much protein your body will actually use what you consume. This is because the human body can absorb some proteins better than others. For example, while a whole egg has a bioavailability rating of a 100, peanut butter has a rating of just 49. So if you were to consume the same amount of protein from both these sources, your body would be able to absorb more from the egg as compared to peanut butter.
So how do you choose? A little research on food and nutrition can help you decide which sources of protein are for you. Additionally, choosing a protein supplement may help you to reach your daily protein goals with ease. This is because most protein supplements such as whey are not only complete proteins, they also rate high on the bioavailability index— so your body can easily reap all the benefits with ease.