Protein consists of one or more long-chain amino acids and performs an array of functions in the body. It is most popularly known as the building blocks of muscles. It is one of three macronutrients in food, with the other two being fats and carbohydrates.
A lot of the popular diets are centered around eating less (or more) of the two more popular macronutrients. Low fat diets have been popular in the past. Now, high fat, low carb diets have been making the rounds. Protein hasn’t been discussed much and most people think we eat too much of it anyway. No one gives a second thought if we are actually getting enough protein from our diets.
A lot of people don’t actually pay attention to what they eat. Unless you are staunchly counting your macros, not everyone knows what their optimum recommended nutrient intake (RNI) of protein really is or how much protein should we eat. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that most of us don’t actually hit our target RNI for protein.
Our protein requirements change as we grow older. As a rule of thumb, the older we get, the more protein we need in our diet. The standard RNI US recommendation for protein is as follows:
Pregnant and breastfeeding women have different requirements. Pregnant women need 51g of protein a day, while nursing women need 53 to 56g of protein a day.
We can’t always measure the protein present in our diets. Our best bet is to estimate the amount of protein we get. In abalanceddiet, 15% of our calories should come from protein.
How would you know if you’re not getting enough protein? Here are a few signs:
What are good sources of protein? Eggs, fish and seafood, dairy products, lean beef, white meat poultry, and beans are very good sources of protein. Try to incorporate any of these into your regular meals.
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