Proteins are chemicals built by substances called amino acids. Other than water, proteins are what make up the majority of our bodies. It’s what codes all of the DNA in our cells and tissues, including things like antibodies, blood cells, and hormones; it makes up our skin, our hair. As you can see, protein is a critical part of our diet. Your body needs it to maintain its normal functions. Without it, your body will break down the few amino acids you have stored in your body – such as your muscle cells, which can cause anything from weakness and irritability to much more life threatening diseases.
You may also experience things such as hair loss, lack of energy, bloating, a decreased body mass, and a lower functioning immune system, which can cause a whole host of illnesses. But, be careful! A high-protein diet has its risks as well. Eating too much protein can be deleterious to your physical health in a myriad of ways, such as weight gain, extra body fat, dehydration, and the draining of crucial bone minerals. It can place stress on your kidneys and contribute to kidney failure; scientists have even found evidence linking excessive protein consumption with yeast overgrowth and cancer.
According to the Harvard School of Public Health, the average adult needs around fifty to sixty- five grams of protein daily; other estimates say that you should eat around eight tenths of a gram for every kilogram you weigh, and the CDC recommends forty to seventy grams a day, ranging from forty-six for women to fifty-six for men. (Forty grams is the equivalent to a six ounce chicken breast or two small hamburger patties). All can be achieved through the consumption of foods such as lean beef, low fat dairy products like yogurt or cheese, and skinless chicken. Other foods that are high in protein include fish, eggs, legumes, nuts, seeds, and some vegetables. Broccoli is an example. Be wary of a plant-only diet, as well. Research shows that limiting yourself to a plant only lifestyle can suffer from protein malnutrition. It is also suggested that intake of animal proteins may lower your risk of age-related decline in bodily functions. This may be due to the sulfur innate in the meat, which a key component in the creation of new proteins in the body. However, plant-based proteins may reduce your blood pressure enough to be the equivalent of losing five kilos of body weight. This is helpful forpeople who are predisposed to high blood pressure and strokes.
It may be best to eat a mix of different proteins to achieve the best results. Are you a vegan or a vegetarian? No worries! There is plenty of food to protein-ify your diet. Most veggies contain one to two grams of protein per ounce, seeds and nuts have four to eight per quarter cup, and cooked beans contain seven to eight per half cup. You could also sprinkle salads with cooked grains or sprinkle bits of egg and cheese, though you must be sure to check the labels on the cheese first in order to keep track of your protein intake. Ultimately, the amount you eat should be about the size of a deck of cards.
The amount of protein you should eat changes over time. As you age, your body loses its ability to process protein, therefore raising your required intake. The raise in your requirements can be found by calculating your lean mass, which is found by subtracting your percentage of body fat from one hundred and multiplying your current weight in pounds or kilos. For example, if you have thirty percent body fat, you multiply seven tenths by your weight – let’s say 134. This amounts to 93.8. Using the eight tenths recommendation, you should consume about seventy.
Living on a budget or don’t have the time to count your grams? Supplements may do the trick. Usually cost effective and easy to obtain, protein supplements come in multiple forms, such as powders, and vary in purity. A powder that is seventy to eighty-five percent pure contains fifteen to thirty percent carbohydrates and fat; a powder that has been “isolated” – concentrated a step further than normal – can be up to ninety-five percent pure. These supplements can also be complete or incomplete; complete means that the supplements contain all nine essential amino acids (histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, and valine), while incomplete means they have some, but not all of the essentials. Popular supplements on the market today include whey, Casein, rice, soy, hemp, and egg proteins.
I personally use supplements from Progenex for my workout, but this is only because I do Crossfit. The average athlete and gym newbie will do just fine using supplements from Amazon. Just remember that none of these things are a magic pill, make sure you put in your effort.
Trying to lose weight? You’re in luck. There is evidence that a higher protein diet can help enhance weight loss when combined with a well-maintained exercise regimen. Experiments from 2005 have shown that of two groups, both lost weight, but those that ate more protein lost more weight. The interactivity of the proteins with the exercise brings the body into a sort of equilibrium, allowing the body to lose fat rather than muscle, which happens to some dieters when they exercise. The success of the protein/exercise combination may be due to the amino acid leucine, which works with insulin to increase the production of protein in the muscles. The extra protein bulked up the muscles and reduced loss while the fat and carbohydrates had no such protection; they were free to burn. The exercise increased the dieter’s’ metabolism, which helped them to process foods more quickly and burn even more calories.
These are the keys to healthy living. With these tips, anyone can eat a proper diet and gain the muscle and confidence that comes with a happy, balanced body. Not only that, but they can add years to their lives – more time to enjoy the bodies that their proteins worked so hard to create!
No more irritability, hair loss, of lack of energy.
Ryan Blair has been involved in the fitness industry for over 12 years. He currently passes his
time by writing for various fitness related websites and blogs, if you would like to contact him
you can do so at: https://www.linkedin.com/pub/ryan-blair/a5/230/674