For bodybuilders and athletes, it is totally normal for them to scarf down some protein. In fact, it is a common practice to have all meals revolve around protein. They are taught that protein is the essence to which their bodies can stay strong and lean. This is very true, but also true for people who don’t think they are body builders or athletes.
It is a common misconception to think that you only need protein and may be ‘extra’ protein if you are someone that works out all the time. This is not true.
Everyone needs protein.
Protein is essential to every single person. Your muscles are literally made up of protein (and the other four-fifths water).
The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for protein is a modest 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, which is 0.36 grams of protein per pound. The RDA is the amount of a nutrient you need to meet your basic nutritional requirements. In a sense, it’s the minimum amount you need to keep from getting sick — not the specific amount you are supposed to eat every day.
If you are an 180 lb male, you need to consume almost 65 grams of protein.
If you are an 140 lb female, you need to consume about 50 grams of protein.
So even if you think you are eating enough protein, chances are you probably aren’t, because remember the number above is the minimum. These minimums have confused a lot of people.
“‘There’s a misunderstanding not only among the public, but also somewhat in our profession about the RDA,’ says Nancy Rodriguez, a registered dietitian and professor of nutritional science at the University of Connecticut in Storrs. ‘People in general think we all eat too much protein.’
Rodriguez was among more than 40 nutrition scientists who gathered in Washington, D.C., for a “Protein Summit” to discuss research on protein and human health. The summit was organized and sponsored by beef, egg, and other animal-based food industry groups, but it also generated a set of scientific reports that were independently published a special supplement to the June issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (AJCN).
The potential benefits of higher protein intake, these researchers argue, include preserving muscle strength despite aging and maintaining a lean, fat-burning physique. Some studies described in the summit reports suggest that protein is more effective if you space it out over the day’s meals and snacks, rather than loading up at dinner like many Americans do.” – Harvard Health Publications
So now what?
It is important to think about where you get your protein from now? Because increasing protein intake doesn’t mean you can eat a bunch of steaks all day, every day. There are many wonderful options in which you can get your protein from – like beef, fish, poultry, eggs and dairy. Also, it is important to think about the whole picture and what other nutrients come with your protein. You want to pick proteins that also are a good source of vitamins and minerals while keeping saturated fats and processed carbohydrates to a minimum.
If you follow these steps, you can certainly see a change in your diet and probably overall how you feel and look. Although the studies still weigh over if more protein will directly cause you to lose weight it still out for debate. It is the overall practice of eating more protein spread throughout meals, along with a balanced healthy diet and exercise that leads to weight loss success.
- Why We All Need Protein
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