Let’s talk about protein....
Protein is one of the three energy sources our body needs known as macronutrients, the other two being carbohydrates and fats, but unlike carbohydrates and fats, protein is not primarily used as energy, instead it’s primarily used to build and repair. Our bodies are structural and are made up of protein, there is protein in almost all parts of or body, it’s a component of every cell, in fact, your hair and nails are mostly made up of protein.
You need protein for:
- Healthy brain function
- Maintain immune system
- Build muscle
- Regulate stress
- Have a healthy heart
- Prevent certain diseases
- Produce cells
If you think you can build muscle without dietary protein, you’re sadly mistaken, in fact if you think you can do that thing…. what’s it called…. as yes… LIVE, without dietary protein you’re also sadly mistaken.
Protein breakdowns into amino acids, our body uses 21 amino acids known as proteinogenic amino acids. Your body can create 12 of these amino acids, but there are 9 essential amino acids that your body needs to get from food, which is why they’re called “essential”. The foods needed are chicken, fish, meat, eggs etc. You can also get protein from plant based foods, you just need to be smart with your food choices to ensure you’re having complete proteins, this means you’ll be consuming the 9 essential amino acids. Unlike fat’s and carbohydrates, your body cannot store these essential amino acids away to be used on a later date, therefor it’s a good idea to incorporate protein into each daily meal to optimise protein synthesis.
So, how much protein should be eaten per day? The RDA is a modest 0.8 grams per kg of bodyweight, this should be enough to prevent you from having any amino acid deficiencies. However, when you’re dropping body fat to achieve an athletic physique, you’ll have a good chance of breaking down muscle tissue (as well as fat) as you’ll need to be in a caloric deficit. A higher protein intake is a great way to help avoid muscle loss therefor maintaining a higher metabolic rate.
There are a LOT of factors to take into consideration when deciding how much protein you should eat per day, such as body type, muscle mass, activity level, goals, lifestyle, basal metabolic rate and more, but you should be consuming from 1.4 to 2 grams per kg of bodyweight (in my opinion), but I have often had great success with clients consuming more than 2 grams per kg of bodyweight when they have a high amount of lean muscle mass.
Protein is essential as it’s the building blocks of life, whether your goals is fat loss, muscle gain or general health, you’ll need a diet rich in protein