Do you want to know more about protein? Well, this article explains what are the basic things we need to know about it.
Nutrition and dietetics are a complex subject, thus, can be confusing. It needs lots of books and long hours of reading before one can understand the basics.
Protein is one term that everyone used to hear and many think it’s a nutrient needed by someone who wants to lose weight or build some muscles.
However, it’s more than that. It’s actually a complex subject and that is the point of this article. This sums up some important information and will answer the most common questions about this essential nutrient.
What is Protein?
Protein is a macronutrient, along with carbohydrates and fat. It is composed of 20 amino acids bound together to form a structural framework. It can be found in your bones, muscles, hair, and skin. Basically, anywhere.
Our amazing bodies can make 11 out of 20 amino acids and they are called the non-essential because we can make them inside. Those missing nine are called essential and they are found in food.
Why is it Important?
As mentioned above, protein is found anywhere in your body. It is present in every cell activity and supports different functions including digestion, blood clotting, immunity, muscle repair, bone repair, and skin and hair rejuvenation.
Yes, you need protein to lose weight or develop muscles. They are hard to digest, so the more you consume it, the longer you will stay full.
What are the Types?
There are two types: 1. Complete Proteins and 2. Incomplete Proteins.
Complete proteins contain all the amino acids needed by the body. On the other hand, incomplete proteins only contain a few portions.
Here are some examples:
- Complete proteins – meat, fish, eggs, poultry, dairy, tofu, soy milk, quinoa, buckwheat and chia seeds.
- Incomplete proteins – beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, oats, wheat, rice, and other plant-based proteins.
Eating a variety of incomplete proteins can ensure that your body can get different proteins it needs.
How Much Protein Your Body Needs?
The quick answer to this question is, it should be more or less 50 grams for a person who needs 2,000 calories per day. You can use calorie calculator to compute for your needed calories per day.
According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, you’ll need .8 grams of proteins per one kilo of your body. So, if you weigh 60 kilos, you’ll need an average of 48 grams of protein a day.
However, the computation is based on an “ordinary” person with a sedentary lifestyle. So, if you are an athlete or you consider yourself with an active lifestyle, then you’ll need more. People with health conditions should consult a dietician before deciding on the proteins they need.
What is the Best Way to Get Protein?
For example, you need 48 grams of proteins per day. You can get that with 8-9 pieces of eggs if you opt to have an egg day. Remember: there are lots of food that contains protein.
Many people think that protein shake and energy bars are ok. Yes, they are. However, the BEST way to get protein is by consuming whole foods like meat, eggs, soy and soy products, milk, and many more. If you are aiming for a plant-based diet, don’t worry, grains, beans, legumes, and nuts can supplement your daily needs.
As mentioned earlier, protein is just a part of the three macronutrients needed by the body. Based on your aim and type of diet, there should be a percentage of carbohydrates, fats, and protein in your food to make it balanced and therefore, considered healthy.
Moreover, your best bet is consulting dietitians, doctors, and fitness experts to identify your daily needs. They can perform computations based on professional equations and consider factors like your age, weight, physical activity, state of health and many more. Then, they’ll come up with the recommended diet.