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.

 

Your Most Common Nutrition Questions Answered Here

Staying fit and healthy is not an overnight task. It is a lifelong commitment. Exercising and eating right are two peas in a pod. A good exercise regime has to be backed by a good eating routine and vice versa. In today’s changing lifestyles and fast-paced lives, we often relegate health to the bottom of our need’s pyramid only to pay heed when the body reminds us, not so subtly, of lack of nutrition and healthy routine.

The most important ingredient for healthy living is eating right and consuming a nutritious diet. Inadequate intake of nutrients can cause various health issues like stringing aches in various parts of the body, fatigue, weak bones, poor concentration, etc. Most of the people think consuming nutritious diet comprises of going on a strict diet and ditching their favourite foods forever. But, that’s not the case. With so much of information available on the internet, one is bound to get confused.

Here are some of the most commonly asked nutrition questions that beginners often have:

  • I am new, where should I begin?

The question that muddles every beginner is where they should begin from when it comes to eating right. The first and foremost thing to do is to understand your body’s nutrition need. Each body has a different requirement depending upon their physical work, weight, height, age, and gender. As they say, an excess of everything is harmful. Any nutrient in excess can lead to harmful consequences. One needs to understand the right quantity of nutrients to be consumed for their body type. Don’t blindly follow something that a friend or acquaintance of yours is following. No two bodies work in a similar pattern. Something that worked for you might not work for a friend of yours. Always take guidance from a certified nutritionist before adding or cutting down anything in your diet.

  • Which diet should I follow?

Following a diet doesn’t mean starving yourself. Starving is the worst thing one can do to their body. A healthy diet comprises of foods that take care of the essential nutrients and minerals required by your body. There are various diets like Keto, Low Carb Diet (LCD), No Carb Diet (NCD), No Sugar Diet (NSD), Low Sugar Diet (LSD), Liquid diets etc. Choose a diet depending on your body and fitness goals. For example: If a person with low blood pressure opts for a NSD i.e. no sugar diet, she is bound to suffer fatigue and dizziness. Hence, it is essential to understand your body before trying out any diet. Consult your physician or a nutritionist before starting a diet.

  • How effective is high protein diet?

A high protein diet should be backed by a heavy and rigorous workout regime. Proteins take time to break down and digest. A heavy workout helps in faster ingestion of proteins in the body. If a person is not working out and consuming high protein diet, he is bound to feel lethargic as body’s maximum energy will be consumed in digesting the protein intake.

  • Should I opt for the no carbs diet?

Every nutrient is essential for a fit and sound functioning of the body. Completely eliminating any nutrient from the body is not advisable. Carbs are the main source of energy for your body. Moreover, following a no carb diet gets a little tough to keep up with. Completely eliminating carbs from your diet is a herculean challenge. A no carb diet will leave you drained out than usual. Don’t go for it unless it is specifically advised by your nutritionist.

  • How important is it to keep calories count?

Counting calories can be confusing in the beginning with various food items/dishes cooked and prepared in different styles. It is difficult to give a universal calorie count for any particular dish. On the other hand, when consuming fruits and nuts, you have a definite calorie count. If you are overweight to obese and looking forward to cutting down some weight, keeping a check on your calorie intake can be helpful. By counting calories, one is able to strike a balance between the calories consumed and calories burnt ratio thereby initiating faster and healthier weight reduction process.  You can take help of some smartphone apps for this.

  • What is nutrient timing?

Nutrient timing is all about what you are eating and when you are eating. Every nutrient has a different absorption period and until and unless you allow your body the time to absorb the consumed nutrients, it’s futile. You will only end up adding calories by not paying attention to the nutrient timing. One must be aware of the foods to eat before, during and post a workout. For example – Consuming proteins prior to workout helps in initiating faster and proper digestion since proteins take longer to digest and the rigorous body activity helps in speeding up the process.

  • How many meals a day should I eat?

More than the number of meals, the proportion of your meal matters. Eating small portions is the best practice to follow. Longer periods between meals make you feel hungrier and by the time you start eating, you end up binging and putting much more than what your body requires. This meddles with your metabolism leading to slower digestion process and bloating of the stomach. It is healthy to have 5-7 small meals in a day. By meals, we don’t mean full meals. Create a proper balance between your nutrients intake by adding a different kind of food products in your five meals of the day.

  • What should a healthy diet comprise of?

A healthy diet doesn’t mean completely cutting down on carbs and fats. There are good and bad fats. Before cutting down or adding anything in your diet, it is essential to gain knowledge about how the nutrition cycle works. For example – Cheese and ghee fall under good fats and are required by the body. But, it is important to know what quantity one is supposed to consume. Anything beyond the required quantity is going to create trouble for the body.

Again, when it comes to nutrition, there is no one-size-fits-all. Eating right is a lifestyle and one must adapt to it to stay healthy. Gain knowledge, talk to experts, and you will be able to make the right eating choices without necessarily cutting down on anything.