Protein is one of the essential macronutrients in the body. They are responsible for muscles, tissues, enzymes, and organ development in the body. Therefore, an adequate amount of protein is required every day for proper functioning. But the most common question which may come to your mind is that How Much Protein Should I Eat per day?
The requirement of protein varies from person to person. However, individuals of all ages need this nutrient for balanced nourishment. Protein also provides energy to the body like carbohydrates and fats. Additionally, proteins provide essential amino acids to our body. Protein even helps in maintaining skin and hair health.
How Much Protein Should I Eat per day?
FDA recommends a 50 g daily value of protein if the person is on 2000 calories diet. This daily value may vary depending upon the calorie intake of a person.
When buying something, the nutrition labels can guide us about the protein content of a certain food.
The recommended daily amount (RDA) of protein depends upon the age and gender of an individual. American Dietary guidelines have suggested the following RDA for protein.
|1-3 years||10-15 grams|
|4-8 years||15-20 grams|
|9-13 years||32-40 grams|
|14-18 years (female)||45-50 grams|
|14-18 years (male)||48-55 grams|
|Adult 19+ (female)||48-50 grams|
|Adult 19+ (male)||55-60 grams|
Calculating Daily Protein Need
Protein is usually calculated according to per kilogram of body weight. Generally, 1-2 grams of protein is needed for every kilogram. Eating more than this may result in problems.
However, the intake also depends upon the minimal activity of a person. For instance, athletes can safely consume up to 4 grams without any consequences. Similarly, mothers may need more protein than other females.
Your ideal protein intake will depend upon your age, height, activity, and gender. Online protein calculators are available for accurate daily consumption of this nutrient.
Functions of Protein in Body
The intake of protein results in increased satiety and less hunger. In contrast, diets only based on carbs and fats increase hunger.
Furthermore, some consumers believe that intake of a high amount of this nutrient decrease cardiometabolic risk. Similarly, there are chances of lower diabetic risk.
A short-term study revealed the effect of high protein intake on weight management. When the volunteers consumed 1.2-1.6 grams protein per kg of bodyweight it helped in weight loss. In some cases, there was an improvement in appetite or cardiometabolic risk factors. While few individuals had all these beneficial health outcomes.
However, protein should be equally distributed among meals. Additionally, these data are for short-term studies. The effect of long-term intake on weight loss is still unclear.
Muscle and Tissue Growth
Protein is an important nutrient for muscles and tissues. Because it helps in the growth and repair of damaged muscles and tissues.
There is a regular muscle loss and buildup in the body because of regular activities. An improper amount of this nutrient in the body will result in weakness and more incidence of long-time injury.
Additionally, poor muscle development results in malnutrition and undernutrition.
Therefore, for proper body functioning protein is necessary. Furthermore, it helps in repairing damaged hair, brittle nails, and dry skin.
Improve athletic performance
Among athletes, protein is the most popular nutrient. Since it helps in increasing endurance and strengthening of muscles.
An average athlete breaks down a large number of muscles every day. Therefore, this nutrient is essential for ideal performance and overcoming muscle loss.
In addition, certain amino acids boost muscle-building protein, like leucine, in the body. So, it is essential for athletes to have a diet high in proteins.
However, other macronutrients, carbs, and fats should also be balanced among the meals
Enzymes are proteins that are responsible for many useful functions in the body. There are certain enzymes in the body that are functioning and catalyzing different reactions in humans.
For instance, digestive enzymes improve metabolism by breaking down food components in a simpler form. Digestive enzymes, proteases, lipases, and amylases help in breaking down protein, fats, and carbohydrates respectively for proper digestion.
Certain other enzymes, like lactase, prevent lactose intolerance by breaking down the lactose sugar in milk. Moreover, few enzymes are responsible for hormone development and blood clotting in the body.
Deficiency of protein
When the intake of protein is not adequate certain harmful conditions occur. These conditions include
- Weakening of muscles
- Risk of bone fracture
- Weak hair and nails
- Skin Aging and Degeneration
- Stunted Growth
- Low immunity
Additionally, not getting enough protein can give rise to certain diseases and disorders. Some of these are kwashiorkor, marasmus, edema, mental impairment, and organ failure.
How to Add Protein to Diet?
Animal and animal products have the highest amount of protein. In addition, the protein found in meat is a ‘complete protein’. Because these types of proteins have all the essential amino acids in them.
Few of the animal protein sources include,
However, too much meat and animal products could be harmful to health. Therefore, it is wise to add some plant protein to the diet too.
Plants are not complete protein sources, but they can be made complete by consuming different plant-based products.
Some of the plant proteins include,
- Nuts and Seeds
- Whole grains (wild rice, quinoa, millet, buckwheat)
It is notable that most of the average adult gets their daily intake of protein. However, this mostly comes from meat sources.
General guidelines say that one should eat both plants and animals for proper intake of protein. Because a diet high in animal meat may result in health problems and disorders.
Moreover, processed meat can be used as a part of a balanced diet. But it is necessary to eat them in a very little amount and only when there are no other options.
Intake of Too Much Protein
Excess of any type of food and nutrient is bad. Especially if you are not taking any other nutrients with them.
Too much protein will only contribute to extra calories and may store as an energy reserve in the body. However, this leads to increases in weight and other problems.
Most people on a high protein diet usually suffer from the kidney-related disease. Consumers may suffer from kidney stones and high uric acid.
Furthermore, most protein foods are rich in fats and cholesterol. Therefore, eating such protein food in high amounts may result in cancer, heart disease, or diabetes.
Even the general guidelines from FDA recommend boiled, steamed, or baked low-fat meat for protein. Moreover, it is suggested that one should get this nutrient from plants or seafood sources.
It is also suggested that one distributes protein in all the meals for the day, instead of eating it at once.
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