Protein: How Much Do You Really Need?

Most people are aware they need protein in order for their bodies to function normally, however it may not always be clear exactly how much their body really needs. This often results in individuals turning to protein powder and other sources, always believing they are not getting enough protein in their diets.

However, it is actually hard to not get enough protein, provided you maintain a healthy diet. It is also not beneficial to simply consumer extra protein, since this often means you are just adding more calories and fat into your diet. If you want to build muscle, you should simply consume your recommended daily requirement combined with muscle-building exercises.

So how much protein do you actually need? Well, sources recommend people consume 10 to 35 per cent of their daily calories from foods with high levels of protein. When you break it down, this means roughly 46 grams of protein a day for women, and 56 grams for men. This usually equates to two to three servings of food rich in protein each day, depending on the specific foods you consume. Thus, it is actually very easy to incorporate the right amount of protein into your diet naturally, rather than consuming protein powder in smoothies or choosing sugar-laden protein bars.

However, it is important to note your doctor may advise you differently depending on your body’s specific needs. Some of these needs include if you are pregnant, nursing, are on a diet, are a vegetarian or vegan, or are a serious athlete. All of those often mean you will require more protein in your diet.

Because of the specific conditions under which you may need more or less protein, we recommend checking with your primary care physician prior to making any significant change in your diet. After all, you do not need extra protein beyond your daily requirement for your body to function well, and making a mistake can result in serious health issues.

Protein: Natural Sources

eggs protein

Protein is a powerful macro nutrient everyone needs in their diets. It helps build and repair your muscles, increases your fat-burning metabolism, and even helps to dramatically reduce your hunger. This last one in particular helps you avoid going to unhealthy choices at the vending machine mid-afternoon. It also allows you to reduce fat storage and drops in energy, as protein slows your body’s release of carbs into your bloodstream.

While some people, particularly athletes, turn to whey protein powders to help boost the amount they consume, many people cannot afford the high price tag or simply do not want to add artificial sources of protein into their diet, preferring a cleaner diet. In any case, there are quite a few natural sources of protein you can incorporate into your diet beyond the typical choices of steak, ground beef, and other red meats.

Greek Yogurt

For every eight ounces of Greek yogurt you consume, you will be getting 23 grams of protein, on average. This is roughly twice the amount of protein you would get from the “regular” type of yogurt. In addition to the high amount of protein, you also benefit from getting more calcium and healthy probiotics in Greek yogurt as well. Just keep in mind the sugar content if you choose flavoured Greek yogurt. You can still reap the same rewards from plain Greek yogurt, but with far fewer calories and sugar content.

Eggs

Each large egg contains roughly six grams of protein. You also benefit from amino acids, and high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, particularly if you search for the fortified variety of eggs. As eggs have a high amount of protein, you are sure to benefit from even having one egg every day. To make things interesting, change how you are eating them. You can scramble eggs one morning, poach them the next, or even have a hard-boiled egg as a snack during the day.

Lentils

Lentils are one of the cheapest sources of protein on the market. They are also the perfect choice for vegetarians, who cannot benefit from protein coming from red meat of even just chicken. For every quarter cup of dry lentils, you will digest approximately 13 grams of protein.

Peanut Butter

While many people are consuming alternatives like almond butter in place of the classic peanut variety, peanut butter still leads the pack with protein content. For every two tablespoons of peanut butter, your body receives approximately eight grams of protein. This makes peanut butter on toast a great way to start your day.