Food plays such an enormous role in every single person’s health, regardless of their the goals. When I ask people what their daily meals consist of (one of my favourite questions), almost every time their meals are carbohydrate and fats dominant with no sign of protein to be seen. Little do people know how important this macronutrient is for the human body especially when it comes to maintaining a healthy body, and continuing to build a strong and robust one too!
If our body is made of proteins, why are we avoiding it?
Firstly, a lack of education about nutrition leads to people being unaware of the benefits associated with consuming the appropriate amounts of protein. Secondly, it’s easy consuming only carbs on the go when we’re living our busy lifestyles. Lastly, people tend to affiliate protein as a non-essential nutrient that only bodybuilders or ‘muscle men’ consume in excessive amounts.
So, what makes these ‘muscle men’ want to eat so much protein?
Well, some of the same principles apply to the everyday person trying to better their life by exercising 2-7x/week incorporating their cardio and weights. Proteins are used to make skin, nails, bone, muscle, cells, and play an important role in general whole-body functioning. It doesn’t only improve the external visuals of the body, but also the internals like brain functioning, blood pressure, cardiovascular health, sleep and of course disease prevention thus longevity. Here’s one of my personal favourite benefits of protein ingestion – the ability to increase and maintain bone density, reducing the risk of osteoporosis. As osteoporosis rates are higher and increased risks of falls are evident for the elderly population, this can only end poorly if a fall were to happen and those brittle bones were easily fractured as a result. Whilst partaking in resistance training in combination with ingestion of appropriate amounts of protein, one can expect increased bone strength secondary to the improvements in muscular strength.
So how much protein should you eat?
For optimal intake, 0.4g of protein per kilogram of body weight (0.4g/kg/meal) across a minimum of 4 meals in the day to reach 1.6g/kg/day is what the most recent research states for muscle building. However, this may be extreme at first for some. So I offer simply, to begin introducing a protein source (meat, dairy, eggs, soy, beans & lentils) in every meal throughout the day to create that positive habit change.
Remember, protein forms the building blocks of tissues of the body. It is essential this macronutrient does not get left behind.
For an individual weighing 70kgs;
1.6g X 70kgs = 112g of protein per day