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Why is PROTEIN needed in your Diet?

Updated: Nov 24, 2022

Protein is a key part of any diet. It helps our body to build and repair cells and tissues. Protein is a major component of the skin, muscle, bone, organs, hair, and nails. It is found in a wide range of food and meeting your protein requirement is easily achieved from eating a variety of foods.

Protein & Exercise

Muscle tissue repair and muscle building are important for recovery. Whether you're focusing on endurance or strength training, taking in protein after a workout helps to repair muscle fibers that get damaged and catabolized during exercise, and to promote the development of new muscle tissue.

Protein need increases along with the increasing intensity and duration of an athletic performance; therefore, protein should be included in the meals before and after the actual performance (1)

Protein & Weight management

The protein content of a diet is one of the important factors to consider when planning a diet. A high protein intake boosts metabolism, reduces appetite and changes several weight-regulating hormones (2, 3, 4). Protein has been shown to promote satiety (fullness) (5) help maintain lean body mass (6), and can reduce how efficient the body is at storing extra calories as body fat.

Regardless of the composition of the diet, weight loss will only occur if a deficit, in energy intake compared to output through activity is created to achieve a negative energy balance.

How much Protein?

According to the Dietary Reference Intake report for macronutrients, an adult should consume 0.8-1 gram of protein per kilogram of body weight per day. (7)

Ex: If a person weighs 55 kg, his/her protein requirement will be (55x0.8-1) = 44-55g/day

However, the amount of protein you need depends on many factors, including your activity level, age, muscle mass, physical goals, and overall health.(8)

For strength and endurance athletes, protein requirements are increased to around 1.4-1.8 g/kg/day (9)

Sources of Protein Rich Foods

A healthful eating pattern includes a variety of foods containing protein. Both animal and plant foods can be excellent sources of protein. The nutritional value of a protein is measured by the quantity of essential amino acids it contains and the amount varies with different foods.

Animal products have all of the essential amino acids and are known as 'complete' protein or high-quality protein. Examples such as Chicken, Fish, Eggs & Dairy products.

Plant proteins usually lack at least one of the essential amino acids and are considered 'incomplete' protein. Examples include beans, lentils, nuts, soy products, whole grains & some vegetables.

If you follow a vegetarian or vegan diet, you will need to consume a variety of vegetables, fruits, grains, and legumes to ensure consumption of all essential amino acids. (10)

There are many potential sources of protein you can choose from. Try to get as much as protein from whole, natural foods. If you are digging for some protein powder or any other supplements, be sure to check the labels for added sugars and saturated fats.


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