PROTEIN: THE BUILDING BLOCK OF HEALTH

Welcome to the world of protein! In this article, we’ll break down the basics of this essential macronutrient, why it’s crucial for your health, and how to make informed choices about your protein intake.

What is Protein?

Protein is like the body’s Lego set, consisting of 20 amino acid building blocks. Nine amino acids are essential, meaning we must get them from our diet. The remaining 11 can be produced by our bodies. These essential amino acids come from both animal and plant sources. Leucine, isoleucine, and valine, or BCAAs, are necessary for muscle health and growth. They’re like the foremen in the muscle-building construction site.

Protein Sources

Where do you get your protein? Well, it’s everywhere! Check out this table comparing protein content in common foods:

 

  • Beef has 26.1 gm of protein per 100 gm of meat.

  • Chicken has 31 gm of protein per 100 gm of meat.

  • Eggs have 6 – 7gm of protein per egg.

  • Dairy 3.3 gm of protein per 100 ml

 

How Much Protein Do You Need?

To maintain muscle mass, we need to consume around 1 gm per kilo of lean body mass per day so if you weight 70 kg you would need 70 gm of protein roughly. Of course, thats baseline – the real idea is to have a start point, keep a check on your body composition and then see if you need to eat more protein or less. You cant eat too much protein.  When your full you wont eat any more.

Muscles need Protein – the more muscle you have the more energy you will burn and the stronger you will be.

Building muscle: To build muscle, strive for around 1 gram of protein per pound.

Elderly: Seniors should definitely be eating more protein. Sarcopenia occurs when our muscles waste of underuse and undernourishment. Make sure you are getting your protein.  If 100 gm feels like too much then start small and increase the amount of protein you are eating each week.  Notice how you feel. You will begin to feel stronger.

Recovering from injuries: Higher protein diets aid recovery.

Timing & Type Matters

The type of protein you choose matters. Animal proteins are efficient at stimulating muscle growth due to their amino acid profile. Look for proteins high in BCAAs, like leucine, for even better results.

Debunking the Myths

Let’s clear up some misconceptions about high-protein diets. Contrary to some claims, no solid evidence links protein to heart disease, liver or kidney damage in healthy individuals. In fact, protein can even improve bone health!

The Upshot

So, there you have it – the lowdown on protein. It’s the essential building block for your body, crucial for muscle growth, recovery, and overall health. Use the guidelines I’ve shared to determine your protein needs, choose quality sources, and ignore the unfounded fears of a high-protein diet.

Let me know in the comments how you plan to make protein a more significant part of your diet!