For those who are physically active, workout on a regular basis, or are athletes, your protein intake is very important. Most people, regardless of whether or not you workout, are either getting too much protein or too little. It is important to find the right balance and later, I will cover approximately how much protein you should consume. In a nutshell, protein has many valuable roles, such as:
- Supporting the immune system and maintaining health because antibodies are protein-based structures
- Help with maintaining water balance
- Certain amino acids are also protein based which can be converted into glucose and metabolised to provide ATP or energy
- Proteins form enzymes that aid in digestion and metabolism
- Is very important component for maintaining a healthy heart, liver, pancreas, and other organs, as well as muscles, bones, tendons, skin, ligaments, teeth, hair, and nails
- Proteins are also synthesized into specific hormones such as insulin (maintains sugar levels) and neurotransmitters such as serotonin (helps regulate circadian rhythms, especially with sleep)
- Protein is needed for muscle and tissue repair after exercising
The tricky thing about athletes and protein consumption is that often those who workout consume more protein than they need to and thereby consuming fewer complex carbohydrates and healthy fats. But at the same time, there are plenty of people who consume too little protein and too many carbohydrates and fats.
When people consume too much protein and not enough carbohydrates to balance it out, they begin to use protein as fuel, which is very inefficient. Protein is best used to building and maintaining tissues and for making hormones and enzymes. Therefore, if you are using protein as fuel, then you are not able to promote healthy hormones, enzymes, and maintaining muscle and tissue health. Too much protein can also result in loss of too much calcium in the urine and another common side affect is dehydration.
So how much protein do you need? The average person needs about 12-15 percent of their total calories to be protein. A general rule of thumb is that non-athletes should consume about 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. Athletes and those who are physically active should have no more than about 1.2 – 1.7 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight.
Stay tuned cause next time, I will share with you how protein works as an ergogenic aid if used correctly. Therefore, I will discuss with you the different sources of protein, the purpose of protein shakes, the different kinds of shakes, including the difference between whey and soy protein, and which sources of protein are the best to consume when it comes to sports nutrition.
And remember, you should always have a balance of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats at every meal. All three are equally important and leaving even one of them out over a period of time can have negative effects on yours health. But a balance of all three will result in a strong immune system and digestive system, which are the foundations to a healthy life.
Health and happiness,