Mike’s Mid Week Blog- Protein Simplified

I’m often asked various questions in relation to Protein. Questions range from what is it? Why do we need it in our diet? What foods contain it? How much should I have per day? 

I’ll aim to answer all of the above questions in this week’s blog plus add a few more useful knowledge bites in there.

In simple terms Protein is a nutrient required by the body as a source of fuel and assisting in tissue growth and repair. It’s one of the three macronutrients (in addition to carbohydrates and fat). Protein is built from amino acids formed together into chains. Our body can make some of these amino acids naturally but requires other amino acids via food sources. These are called non essential and essential amino acids accordingly.

Protein can be found in many food sources. The most commonly associated sources are animal sources such as meats, eggs and dairy. Protein can also be found in plant sources such as pulses. Protein content varies depending on the source as well amino acid content. 

According to the Reference Nutrtrient Intake (RNI) 0.75 grams per bodyweight in Kilograms is recommend as a daily intake of protein per average adult. E.g. If your bodyweight is 60kg then 45 grams of protein would be the target.

Using this as a guide, I discuss with clients and generally advise that a minimum of 1 gram of protein per bodyweight is met, especially when weight training. Women can look to extend this range from 1-1.5 grams per bodyweight to assist with muscle building and fat loss goals. Men can target the range from 1.6-2.2 grams per bodyweight. Before deciding on what range is your target you will need to take it into account your training goal, training regularity, time and intensity, kidney health, gender, current weight, everyday activity level. I would also consider your financial budget as high protein foods can stretch that wallet (from experience!). Protein shakes are available to supplement your intake if you struggle to get them from food sources, however I would always recommend food to be the first choice and not to replace meals with shakes.

There are always ongoing debates as to how much protein our bodies can absorb in one sitting and there are valid points to both sides of the discussion. I generally aim to consume no more than than 30 grams of protein per meal, however I must admit I am guilty to odd beastly steak which can be up to 45 grams of protein! For me important times to get my protein hits are first thing in the morning and also after my training sessions. 

Eating protein takes longer for your body to break down in comparison to carbohydrates and therefore can assist in maintaining healthy blood sugar levels, keeping you fuller and also reducing sugar cravings.

If ever you’re concerned that your protein content is either too large or small then do consult your GP or a qualified nutrionalist as extremities can potential cause harm, in particular your kidneys.

I’ve tried not to go into too much detail however please contact me or comment below if you have any further questions and I will do my best to answer with the knowledge I have. 

References 

www.menshealth.co.uk

www.nutrition.org.uk

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