It’s easy to understand the excitement. Protein is an important component of every cell in the body. Hair and nails are mostly made of protein. Your body uses protein to build and repair tissues. You also use protein to make enzymes, hormones, and other body chemicals. Protein is an important building block of bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood.
Along with fat and carbohydrates, protein is a “macronutrient,” meaning that the body needs relatively large amounts of it. Vitamins and minerals, which are needed in only small quantities, are called “micronutrients.” But unlike fat and carbohydrates, the body does not store protein, and therefore has no reservoir to draw on when it needs a new supply.
How Much Protein Is Enough?
We’ve all heard the myth that extra protein builds more muscle. In fact, the only way to build muscle is through exercise. Bodies need a modest amount of protein to function well. Extra protein doesn’t give you extra strength. Any protein that your body doesn’t need comes out in your pee.
- Teenage boys and active men can get all the protein they need from three daily servings for a total of seven ounces.
- For children age 2 to 6, most women, and some older people, the government recommends two daily servings for a total of five ounces.
- For older children, teen girls, active women, and most men, the guidelines give the nod to two daily servings for a total of six ounces.
Everyone who eats an eight-ounce steak typically served in restaurants is getting more protein that their bodies need (fact of the day). Plus they’re getting a hefty amount of artery-clogging saturated fat as well.
So choose Your Proteins Wisely!!
The type of protein you eat may play a role in successful weight loss and in your overall health. Consumption of large quantities of processed meats such as hot dogs, sausages, and deli meats, have been linked to increased risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and colorectal cancer,
You’ll actually have a harder time maintaining weight loss if you eat these proteins often, and you may be damaging your body.
Nutrition experts recommend getting dietary proteins from the following sources:
- Fish: Fish offers heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids and, in general, less fat than meat.
- Poultry: You can eliminate most of the saturated fat by removing the skin.
- Beans: Beans contain more protein than any other vegetable protein. Plus, they’re loaded with fiber that helps you feel full for hours.
- Nuts: One ounce of almonds gives you 6 grams of protein, nearly as much protein as one ounce of broiled ribeye steak.
- Whole grains: A slice of whole wheat bread gives you 3 grams of protein, plus valuable fiber.
A lot of plant-based foods like soy and legumes can give you the same amount of protein as meats! Try having nuts for breakfast every day, because they not only give you a lot of protein, but they’re healthy sources of fat.