How much protein do we really need?

Hello everybody! Welcome back to my blog. The purpose of this blog is to help people find their way to a healthier lifestyle. I mostly talk about exercise, nutrition and the science behind them, which are my areas of expertise, but I also talk about sleeping habits, minimalism and many other subjects related to wellbeing and healthy lifestyle. 

Today I am going to talk about a delicate subject. Depending on who you ask, you’ll get different figures based mostly in personal opinions or misleading information. To avoid criticising any diet or any point of view, I am going to transmit the advice that broad research and investigation made by dieticians has shown to be the healthiest.

First of all, let’s briefly talk about what protein is and its important characteristics, and why we must ensure a correct intake of protein in our diet.

Protein is one of the three macronutrients alongside with carbohydrates and fats. Protein can be broken down into simpler components called amino acids, that stick together forming shorter or longer chains. As well as the other macronutrients, proteins are made of Carbon, Oxygen, and Hydrogen, and they also have Nitrogen in their composition. This Nitrogen is naturally excreted out of our body alongside with other residual components through urine.

Protein is essential for muscle and tissue growth and repair, giving them structure as well as protection, it promotes the correct function of certain hormones, it provides energy, it plays an important role in our immune response, just to mention a few essential functions. It also has been proved to assist with weight loss as it is very satiating and because it takes more energy to break it down into its simpler components, the amino acids.

It’s for all of these reasons why it is so important to ensure the right intake of protein. But then, what’s the right amount of protein we must intake with our diet?

The answer is, as it is for everything else: it depends!

There are many factors we need to take into consideration when finding out how much protein we really need, such as gender, race, age, physical condition, the amount of exercise we do, as well as many other factors that might not seem so obvious, such as the type of work we do, our particular health conditions, the fitness or health goals we want to achieve, or lifestyle choices such as walking to places instead of using the car. There is a lot of underlined physical activity we should take into consideration, like doing gardening often, or doing physical activity with children, and so on.

All these factors have an impact on the amount of calories we should consume to guarantee our health, as well as the amount of protein we need to ensure the bodily functions mentioned before. Most health organisations recommend a protein daily intake of 0.8 to 1 gram per kilogram of weight. This means that if someone is 70 kg, their recommended daily intake of protein is 56 to 70 grams. This is just a guideline for people who want to roughly have an idea of how much protein they need, considering that they are otherwise healthy and they do the minimal physical activity of 30 minutes per day. But let’s be honest, not many people fit in this description. The best way to be precise about how much protein you need is to take into consideration all of the factors that affect it.

Once we gather all this information, there are certain formulas that calculate the exact amount of protein needed for us or a particular person. The professionals who know best how to work with this formula are Nutritional Advisors and Dieticians.

If you want to find out your exact requirements of protein and other macronutrients, you can visit an appropriate professional who will give you a meal plan and advice tailored for you. Keep in mind that there are certain diseases, conditions, or situations in which you must visit a dietician (if you suffer from Diabetes, heart disease, allergies, if you’re under 16, or if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding just to mention a few). A Nutritional Advisor is a good option if you are otherwise healthy, and if we suspect that there are any other potential issues, we’ll refer you to your GP to get clearance or to get another more appropriate professional.

Last but not least, I would like to mention that these days we are eating way too much of all of the macronutrients, and that includes protein. In the same way there are consequences when ingesting excessive amounts of sugar, alcohol, or fatty foods, there is such thing as protein overdose. When consuming an exaggerated amount of protein, an amount our body cannot handle, our kidneys, in charge of taking the Nitrogen out of our body through the urine, can simply fail due to a work overload. An additional problem is that many people consume processed meats such as sausages, burgers, or cured meats such as prosciutto. These products have saturated fat, which is a type of fat we should not over-consume. Find out more about the types of fats on my post about FATS!

That’s it for today! I really hope that you enjoy it. If you like what I do and you want to support this project, follow me on Instagram and Facebook, like the post and comment! Should you have feedback you’d like to leave, a comment to share with me, or a cool idea for a post, send me an email to sanchisayslifestyle@gmail.com

One thought on “How much protein do we really need?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s