Protein: All The Facts

foods-with-proteinProtein is an essential part of every cell of your body — about 15% of your body weight is comprised of it.  There are a wide variety of functions and uses including providing energy, helping to build the structural skeleton of cells, moving molecules from one place to another, breaking down toxins and repairing bones and muscles.

Your needs for protein vary greatly and depend on your gender, body weight, age, amount of physical activity level and other factors.  Men actually need more protein than women — an adult man needs 56 grams per day, while women need 46 grams, teenage boys need 52 grams and infants only 10.

A typical healthy protein intake of 50 grams would like like this:  Chicken-3oz (21 grams); two large eggs:13 grams; 2 tablespoons of peanut butter: 8 grams; and 8oz of yogurt: 8 grams.

Based on body weight, adults need to get 8 grams of protein for every 20 pounds of body weight.  Most recommendations are that you should get 10-35% of your daily calories from protein.

Athletes need more protein too- about 1-2 grams per kilogram per day to repair and rebuild their muscles.  Beef and other meats are the most protein-packed foods available, but if you are vegan or vegetarian, the best sources are: fish, legumes with rice and veggies and soy protein (non genetically modified soy is a must) and nuts/whole grains/seeds.

High protein diets are not a magic bullet for weight loss, but studies have shown that diets which substitute protein for carbs, may help people lose weight.  Making sure you consume protein-carb together at each meal in the correct portions will ensure satiety and less hunger cravings for more carbs and sugars as well as keep the blood sugar balanced.

Your body burns more calories digesting proteins than it does digesting carbs!

Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins — there are more than 20 different types and you need all of them.  A “complete” protein includes all 9 essential amino acids.  Animal based foods like eggs, cheese and meat contain all of them.  “Incomplete” protein sources are low in one or more of the essential amino acids.  Beans and tofu are considered good sources of protein but are incomplete because of this lower amount.

You need a steady supply of protein each and every day as the body does not store proteins the way it stores carbs and fats.  While protein provides amino acids for muscle growth and recovery, the most important nutrient for muscle strengthening is carbohydrates in the form of unrefined carbs.  So you still need the best ratio of protein carbs to maintain and build muscle strength.

People with kidney problems must consult a health care professional regarding the correct amount of daily protein consumption, since kidney disease patients cannot metabolize proteins the same way as healthy individuals.

Courtesy of The Nutrition Advisor Blog.

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© Copyright 2011  Allison Stuart Kaplan  www.Askinyourface.com LLC

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Comments

  1. Thank you so much; this is very informative, and I realize I am not getting enough protein.

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