- After water, protein makes up the second largest percentage of bodily material.
- Protein is commonly considered to be available exclusively in animal products, but plants do contain protein as well. Nuts, seeds, legumes and soy products all contain protein.
- Protein is satiating. This means it provides a feeling of fullness because the body takes longer to process and digest protein compared to carbohydrates. Feeling satisfied after eating reduces the tendency to consume excess calories between meals. This feeling of satisfaction is critical when lowering overall caloric consumption.
- Protein helps manage blood sugar and insulin levels, which can decrease the risk and prevalence of diabetes and obesity.
- Protein is less likely than dietary fats and carbs to be stored as fat by the body.
- Protein supports growth, maintenance, repair and provides energy for the body to keep active throughout the day. Additionally, protein is comprised of various small components called amino acids. The combination of the two helps our body to produce important molecules like enzymes, hormones, neurotransmitters and antibodies. Our muscles, skin, bones and many other parts of the body contain significant amounts of it. In fact, it accounts for 20% of our total body weight, making it one of the most important factors to consider when planning meals.
- Including good sources of high quality food protein in your diet can help support your fitness goals. For those leading a heavily active lifestyle, there are plenty of protein sources to choose from like Greek yogurt, quinoa, egg, milk, beef, soy, chickpeas and wheat and more. See list below.
- The basic recommendation for protein intake is 0.8 grams per kilogram (or around 0.36 grams per pound). For instance, a 150 lb (68 kg) person would consume around 54 grams a day. For people doing high intensity training, protein needs might go up to about 1 gram per kilogram (or 0.64 to 0.9 grams per pound). So for example, a 150 lb (68 kg) would require 95 to 135 grams of protein per day.