How Much Protein Do You Really Need?

Protein is one of the most essential nutrients required by your body. The human body breaks down the protein into enzymes and amino acids. The cells present in the human body get cytoskeleton from protein, which is used to build up new skeleton muscle.

The moment people hit the gym, they shift to high protein consumption. But little do people realize that as much as protein is important for gaining muscle or losing weight, the quantity of protein consumed by your body plays a vital role in maintaining good health. Excess of anything is harmful and protein is no different. There are different school of thoughts about what should be the ideal protein consumption for a human body.

As per the Dietary Reference Intake (DRI) the ideal protein consumption is 0.8g per kilogram of the body weight. This is further bifurcated upon the gender:

  • 46g per day for the average woman
  • 56g per day for the average man

Factors To Consider For Protein Intake

Everybody needs protein. It is one of the essential nutrients required by the body to function properly. Each one of us consumes protein in our daily diet through the regular food. Why’s there a whole market for protein supplements then – you may ask. Let’s read on to find out the answer to your whys.

One needs to take into consideration various factors while deciding the protein intake. Each body is different than the other and so are the body’s nutritional requirements.

Here are some factors to consider while deciding the amount of protein to include in your daily diet:

  1. Gender

An average man consumes around 2,600 calories per day, and a woman consumes around 1,700 calories per day. According to nutritionists, an average healthy man should consume around 3000 calories per day and a woman should consume around 2000 calories. The percentage of protein in the total calorie intake should be between 10-30%. The latter only when you are on a high protein diet and are having an active lifestyle.

  1. Workout and other physical activity

People who are into strength building, heavy workouts and sports need higher amounts of protein to build muscle and stamina. If you have a lower rate of physical activity in your routine, then the amount of protein consumed from the regular diet is enough for your body to maintain the nutritional balance.

  1. Food Habits

Vegetarian food is comparatively lower on protein contents. Vegetarian people who are into bodybuilding, athletics or sports would need to supplement their diet with protein. Animal meat has a high percentage of proteinform of powders hence non-vegetarians can do without supplements. To meet the exceeding protein requirements, the non-vegetarians can increase the animal meat in their diet.

How Much Protein Do You Really Need?

There’s no gym or gym instructor who doesn’t press their clients to give in to protein shakes. You would see every gym selling some sort of protein supplements in the form of powders etc. Don’t fall for the trap that you can’t build muscle or lose weight without going on a high protein diet which is largely dependent upon the protein supplement they are selling.

There’s no denying that one does need protein supplements to build muscle, but not everyone is training to be a bodybuilder or a weightlifter. Before jumping onto the bandwagon, you need to understand your goals and body needs.

Going on a high protein diet often means neglecting or completely eliminating carbohydrates from the diet. Carbohydrates are as important as protein for the body. The body derives its energy from the carbohydrates and when you deprive your body of carbs, you start feeling lethargic and low on energy all the time. One needs to maintain a balance between the protein and carbohydrate intake in their diet.

Excess intake of protein can result in weight gain. The body consumes the protein it requires and stores the excess amount in the form of fats. This results in weight gain. Until and unless you are looking to gain weight or doing high-impact exercise, excess intake of protein can have adverse effects on your workout goals.

Dietary needs vary for every individual. Each body has a different requirement. No two people can have the same or similar results with the same dietary habits. Nutrients are essential for a healthy body but overconsumption of anything can have adverse effects on the body. Working out is just the tip of the iceberg. It won’t bear fruits without a healthy and adequate nutrient supply to the body.

 

The Shifting Goalposts Of Popular Health Parameters And What Those Mean For Us

Here’s the irony we all seem to live with – while technology is giving us more and more opportunities to stay ahead of time, somewhere it is also making us too dependent on circumstances. The changing focus on health concerns rightly compliments this argument. While every person, irrespective of profession and gender, ideally needs to take care of health and stay fit, this is all the more true for working professionals who deal with long and stressful work hours. Consequently, diabetes, cholesterol, and thyroid top the list of most common health concerns faced by the working class.

Change in Health Parameters

Earlier the parameter set to identify if a person was diabetic, for example, was if the fasting blood sugar level was above 140 (i.e. 140 milligrams of glucose per decilitre of blood). However, in 1997, the Expert Committee on the Diagnosis and Classification of Diabetes Mellitus brought down the number to 126. This was probably more from a preventive point of view wherein; experts felt that sooner a condition was treated better the chances of a person from avoiding the dreaded health condition altogether. Unfortunately, this decision meant that all of a sudden almost 1.6 million people who were otherwise “healthy” (since their blood sugar level was in the previous good range of 126-140) suddenly were declared diabetic. The same goes for measuring cholesterol. While the cholesterol level earlier was considered a risk at 300, over the years as research progressed it came down to 240 and eventually has settled at 200, thus bringing in almost 42 million people in the category of high cholesterol patients.

The other health problem which is seen to greatly impact the population is thyroid. Thyroid, too, was always a concern but never with the same gravity that it demands now. Hypothyroidism affects about 4-5% of the people across the globe and in India, one in ten adults go through it. Statistics state that women are much more at a risk and need to take precautions from early on. Such numbers further promote research and force the medical fraternity to take the results even more seriously. However, the more focus the problems get, the more the number of people seem to “suffer” from it.

Change in the Treatment Outlook

As a result, the treatment patterns also have considerably undergone a change. Everyone now stresses on preventive measures vis-à-vis earlier times when a health problem was treated as and when it occurred. It could be because of the fact that since there is so less time to spare, people prefer taking extra cautions to stay healthy rather than later spend time making visits to a doctor. From the doctors’ perspective, they would prefer avoiding an unwarranted health scare by prescribing medicines to counter a possible situation than having to deal with it at a later stage. It also implies monetary profits for the healthcare business sector. That makes the increasingly lowered threshold levels slightly difficult to accept. But for the common man, the risk seems too great compared to money spent.

Resultant Situation

More importantly, what this situation has resulted in is an over-cautious generation. Lowered ideal health range levels may make people take cognisance of their eating habits, exercise routines, and so on. But they also forget the fact that excessively worrying about a certain health aspect will not take away the problem entirely; while cholesterol is the primary cause of a heart attack it can also occur due to unhealthy lifestyles, smoking, etc. Another example is of the BMI (Body Mass Index). In the beginning, BMI was essentially used as a measure for body weight, and, thus, to basically remain in the healthy bracket. It helped in predicting cardiovascular diseases or nutritional competencies. Now, as with other health parameters expanding their scope, so has this simple figure. Health specialists have lately arrived at a Waist-Hip Ratio (WHR) which when used along with the BMI apparently better predicts more serious disorders such as diabetes, lipid problems, atherosclerosis, and so on.

In some ways, this sounds greatly helpful. Yet, it is also important to remember that over-diagnosis can be problematic as well. Imagine the number of medicines one consumes these days. Somewhere it makes the body immune to certain strains of those medicines and hence when the real need arises, it is doubtful if that medicine will really have a positive effect. Many times, people even ignore the side effects of taking extra medications, just to ward off a future possible concern. The number of treatments available is endless as well. It is thus up to the educated us to decide whether we will allow ourselves to be supposedly called “unhealthy” and where to stop in this vicious circle.

 

Chubby is not ‘cute’: Why Indian city kids are getting fatter and what we can do

image courtesy: www.topnews.in
image courtesy: http://www.topnews.in

Obesity in children has become this ugly fact disguised as a cute trait among Indian families. It is defined as a 20% excess of calculated ideal weight for age, sex and height of a child. Obesity is visible when there is an excess of accumulated fat in the subcutaneous tissue (below the skin) and other parts of body. A study in 2010 found over 42 million overweight children below the age of 5, globally. A staggering 35 million of them are from urban areas of developing countries. What this means for school children across the globe: as good as 10% of them (between 5 and 17 years) are obese.

Obesity in India

Considering the traditional Indian diet was supposed to be balanced and nutritious, the situation in India has gotten even worse. Nearly 15-20% of children in India are obese and about 30% more are on the edge and are likely to fall into the obese category.

About 10% to 30% adolescents are obese in India. The most dangerous concern, according to this study, is that as many as 60% to 70% of these will remain overweight / obese even in their adulthood. If obesity runs into adulthood, it may result in diabetes and other cardiovascular issues. Continue reading Chubby is not ‘cute’: Why Indian city kids are getting fatter and what we can do

Startup soldier? You need to pay more attention to your health

“Wow! what a work environment?”, we all said after reading an article about how global software product companies are creating cool office infrastructure to promote innovation and creativity.

However, when we peel the layers on this, we find engineers often slogging – either stuck with a specific issue that no one else has solved or meeting a release deadline to stay aligned with marketing efforts.

Welcome to startup world! The degree of stress that startups have remains unmatched for:

– the entrepreneurs who are trying to do everything from coding to selling to dealing with the plumber for a broken faucet

– the team members who are constantly reshaping their learning curves and dealing with new work challenges every day

Your health in this type of a pressure cooker environments begets even more attention. No wonder, great companies try to create a fun-loving and stimulating environment to act as a stress buster. But we as individuals need to do more as well. Here are some tips that could help:

– Take a walk at least every 30 mins, go say hi to your colleague. It not only improves blood flow in your system, it increases your social presence

– Do standup meetings, especially if they are setup after lunch. We are sitting all day long and feel lethargic after lunch. Standup meetings keep us alert and active

– Keep your workspace exciting. Pictures of family, friends can be a huge source of excitement and happiness at work place. A souvenir from your favourite destination or your favourite sport item are great appeasers.

– Participate in office activities, in fact – take lead on making arrangements for everyone if hosting a team lunch or an outing, etc.. This gives a great tangential setting to bust work stress and you come back to work with a sense of accomplishment and happiness if your efforts get appreciated.

– Eat healthy. It is easier said than done but being conscious about what you eat can be a good first step. And being conscious of frequency and quantity of your meal can be a huge second step.

At Savetime, we are trying everything we can to make the work environment exciting, fun and healthy. We would love to get more ideas on how to make work places better especially for a startup environment.

Mitesh Bohra, CEO & Co-founder

Mitesh is CEO, Co-founder at savetime.com. He has been working in the industry for over 16 years and this is his 3rd startup after InfoBeans and Infosignz. Mitesh is a BE in Electronics from India and has dual MBA from Columbia Business School, New York and Haas School of Business, UC Berkeley, California.