How much protein do you really need a day?

How much protein do you really need a day?

Certainly, everyone needs protein, as the body breaks it down to its amino acids, and then uses it to build other proteins such as enzymes, or proteins that make up collagen, just as you need proteins to build new structural muscles.

How much protein does the body need in order to meet all these requirements?

The problem with consuming too much protein is not to affect certain organs, such as the kidneys, but to refrain from eating other nutrients. If you only eat meat, for example, you may not actually eat any amount of carbohydrates, although you need it to nourish the brain and muscles with easily accessible glucose molecules, and you also need fat for use in cellular membranes and in the preservation of hair and skin. If you refrain from eating these many other nutrients in order to consume protein, then you are among those who eat a lot of it.

But what about the rest of the people who usually eat a mixture of all the nutrients? How much are we supposed to eat?

The answer depends largely on the amount and type of exercise you do.

Mostly exercising by walking, or not exercising at all

Congratulations! You are the person for which the recommended daily amount has been allocated in the United States and Canada. As it is advised to eat about 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day, you must calculate this for your own weight, for example, for an average American man who weighs about 89 kilograms (or 196 pounds), this means that he must eat 71 grams of protein And the amount is a little less for an average woman who weighs about 76 kilograms (or 168 lbs), as she needs about 61 grams of protein per day.

“This recommendation is generally good for most people, but it is best to focus on the whole diet and make sure you are consuming enough energy as a whole,” says Jesse Haggerty (certified and trained nutritionist in Somerville, Massachusetts). And if you do that, and you eat protein in most major and light meals, then it is very unlikely that you will not meet your body's protein requirements. ”

The amount of protein in some foods

It's very easy to see when you start looking at the amount of protein present even in small amounts of animal meat; For every 100 grams of chicken breast (which is the traditional size of a piece), you get 31 grams of protein. This represents half of your daily needs if your weight is light, and the 255-gram steak contains 78 grams of protein; Thus, you can secure all your daily needs from a single piece of meat.

And if you're a vegetarian - despite myths - it's not hard to get all the protein you need. Once again we say that you only have to take some care. For every 100 grams of black beans, you get 21 grams of protein. Yes, this is just a little less than chicken, but the beans also contain 16 grams of fiber, so it can be said to be more nutritious than chicken breast alone. And nuts, for example, contain not only healthy fats, but also many essential vitamins. Where a nut contains 15 grams of protein per cup (which weighs about 100 grams if the nut is divided into two halves), and a full almond cup contains twice the amount of protein, and nuts also contain a lot of calories; Because it contains a lot of fat (healthy again).

So you do not have to get all the protein you need in this way. Rather, there are many ways to get your daily needs from it without resorting to animal products. You just have to make sure that you eat a variety of whole foods.

I run or do another type of endurance exercise

This category may be the most controversial; It is possible that you will need a little more than the recommended daily amount of protein, because the average American is much less active than the person who is running, but because the goal of most endurance exercises is not to increase the size of all of your muscles, you do not You need a lot of protein.

"If you are active, you will need an extra amount of protein," says Jay Hoffman (Professor of Sports Science and Exercise at the University of Central Florida), yet he still recommends only 1.4 grams of protein per kilogram of an athlete's body weight who performs exercise. Endurance exercises, and this is similar to other recommendations in scientific studies; A review conducted in 2007 suggests a quantity of 1.2 to 1.4 grams, and another review in 2011 indicates an amount ranging from 1.2 to 1.7 (although this also includes athletes trained in resistance exercises), as indicated by a study published in 2004 in the journal Nutrition to a lower amount (about 1.1 grams per kilogram) as a minimum for the body, but indicates that individual needs may reach 1.6.

So you may have to review your diet in order to make sure you get enough protein, but if you eat a balanced diet, you often get all of your needs.

Do weights, or do other types of resistance exercises

The body's protein requirements increase to the highest percentage for anyone trying to build muscle, and even a person who aims to maintain muscle mass needs to consume enough protein to prevent muscle breakdown, (especially if you get an average amount of total calories), and recommends Hoffman consumes between 1.6 and 2.0 grams per kilogram of body weight, and adds: "It is likely that the amount closest to 1.6 is sufficient for those who exercise recreational weights, but there is no harm if you eat more."

This means that if you weigh 80 kilograms (176 lbs), you need about 126 grams of protein per day, and if you get protein from whole foods - not from protein powder or other drinks - you can easily get this amount, as long as you are Organize your food.

But this is also the reason why weight lifters want to use protein powder. It is a very convenient way to increase the intake without much thought, but getting most of the protein in this way is not advisable. Since natural protein sources contain many other nutrients, and since your body has to dissolve food first, you get a dose of protein over a longer period of time, rather than one large dose; This helps your body push protein to where you need it, instead of sending it into urine.

Haggerty also notes that it is important to have a variety of protein sources, without focusing on meat only; Rather, you should eat fish and eggs, dairy products, nuts, and legumes as well.

Still not sure what to do, please help!

Here comes the role of nutritionists; Haggerty explains: “Protein requirements differ from one person to another, and also depending on the type of exercise you do. If you are not sure that you are meeting your needs, it is best to consult with a nutritionist.”

If you cannot afford to consult a specialist, then review one of the instructions mentioned in this article based on the level of your exercise. There is no doubt that you will not harm your kidneys unless you deviate too much from these recommendations; As it is difficult to eat a harmful amount of protein as long as you follow a balanced diet.

And remember, the best nutritional advice is generally the most traditional: Eat a variety of foods in moderation, and enjoy it!


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