I talked a little bit about protein in my macronutrients post awhile back, but wanted to do a deep dive into it today. Our organs, tissues, muscles and hormones are all made from proteins. The protein found in foods are used by every part of the body to develop, grow and function properly. Eating an adequate amount of protein daily can prevent protein deficiency, which can wreak havoc on the body.
High-protein diets help you maintain and lose weight, stabilize your blood sugar levels, boost your energy levels, support your muscles and bones, and support the absorption of important nutrients. Proteins are the most satiating of the macronutrients and they keep your metabolism revving.
A question that I often get about protein is ‘How much should I eat?’. Unfortunately, the answer to that is it depends on who you are. Your goals, your age, your activity levels, your size, and your health status all impact how much protein you need.
As a general guideline, if you’re an active individual, I’d recommend .8g protein/lb bodyweight. So for example, a 150lb person would need to consume 120g protein/day. That’s about 40g/meal if you’re eating three meals a day. If that sounds like too much, start with 100g/day and see how you feel. Just to put that into context, a 4 oz. chicken breast has about 30g protein. Other high protein sources include: beef, dairy (I’d opt for full-fat), eggs, seafood, spinach, oats, beans, and nuts/seeds.
Some signs that you need to consume more protein include: you’re always hungry, you’re a vegetarian (animal proteins are more efficient than plant proteins), you’re craving meat, you’ve got achy joints, or you’re not recovering well from workouts.