Protein shakes, protein bars, et al, high-protein diets are talked about a lot, enough to make you ask yourself, “How much protein should I eat per day?” And for good reason too, because protein is an important part of the body–it serves as the building block for skin, blood, bones and cartilage, and muscles; your hair and nails are made of protein, and your body uses protein to make enzymes and hormones and to build and repair body tissues.
As it would seem, eating as much protein as you can isn’t the shortcut to health; too much of anything is bad, and so it is with protein. So if you’re thinking, “How much protein should I eat per day?”, then this guide has all the answers you need. Read on to know how to figure out your protein intake and how to eat protein to reach your fitness goals.
How To Calculate How Much Protein Should I Eat Per Day?
There’s no one answer to this question, and there’s no one rule that can apply to all. The amount of protein your body needs depends on various factors like your age and fitness levels or goals, muscle mass, activity levels, and more. Note that a healthy diet can have anywhere between 10 to 35 per cent protein.
Also, the recommended daily intake of protein is 0.8 grams per kilogram of your body weight. So if you’re asking, “How much protein should I eat per day?”, the answer lies in simply multiplying your weight in kilograms by the recommended protein intake in grams.
Tip: Recommended daily intake of protein depends on several factors like age, fitness and activity level, etc.
How Much Protein Should I Eat Per Day To Lose Weight?
As mentioned, recommended daily protein intake varies from person to person, but increasing protein intake can aid your weight loss goals. Here’s how:
- Protein provides satiety and keeps you full for longer. By increasing protein intake, you are less likely to feel hunger pangs, and as such, less likely to eat more food or binge on junk foods. So how much protein should you eat to lose weight? About 1.8 – 2.9 grams of protein per kilogram of your body weight can provide satiety.
- A protein-rich diet can preserve lean body mass during caloric restriction. Lean body mass has benefits like combating obesity, protecting against diabetes, keeping bones healthy, etc.
- Protein increases the thermic effect of food, which means your body spends more energy on breaking down the food, digesting it, and converting it into energy.
- If you’re asking yourself, “How much protein should I eat per day?”, remember that protein is hard to store as body fat as compared to the other macronutrients, carbohydrates and fat. During weight loss, it’s important to note how much of the energy you consume, through food, is stored as fat. When you eat more protein than carbs or fat, you’re less likely to store fat and gain weight.
Tip: Eating a protein-rich diet offers several benefits if you’re looking to lose weight.
How Much Protein Should I Eat Per Day For Weight Gain?
While eating more protein can help you lose weight, it can also aid weight gain, especially when your calorie intake is high. Interestingly, one study found that weight gain was significant in diets where carbohydrates, rather than fat, were replaced by protein.
Consuming 1.5 – 2.2 grams of protein per kilogram of your body weight is enough to gain weight. That should answer your question, but you can eat more protein if your calorie intake is higher because eating a high-protein diet causes extra calories to be turned into muscle. A word of advice: Protein fills you up and reduces appetite, so make sure you’re eating enough.
Check out this infographic to determine your daily protein intake.
Tip: Always speak to your doctor or nutritionist before making any drastic diet changes.
Q. What are some high-protein foods to eat?
A. You can get your protein from the plant as well as animal sources.
High-protein plant foods include:
- Dairy products like milk, yoghurt, and cheese
- Nuts and seeds like cashews, almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, pine nuts, and pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds
- Legumes and beans like lentils, split peas, chickpeas, kidney beans, etc.
High-protein foods from animal sources include:
- Poultry and other lean meats
- Fish and seafood
Q. What are some facts to keep in mind before switching to a high-protein diet?
- Not all protein is the same; proteins are made up of amino acids and their composition and digestibility are important factors to consider if you want your diet changes to bear fruit.
- Animal proteins have all the essential amino acids compared to plant proteins, and as such, the former is regarded as higher quality. Animal proteins also have a higher concentration of leucine, the amino acid that triggers muscle protein synthesis and plays a part in weight loss.
- Eat your recommended daily intake of protein through the day, not in one sitting or meal. This will not only keep you fuelled and keep hunger pangs at bay but also help your body utilise amino acids optimally, helping you meet your fitness goals.
Q. What are the cons of eating a high-protein diet?
A. Overdoing anything comes with added risks, an overconsumption of protein can lead to certain conditions and increase the risk of some health issues.
- Eating excess protein causes your body to go into ketosis, a metabolic state that produces unpleasant fruity-smelling chemicals called ketones. This makes your breath smell bad, and brushing or flossing don’t help! You can try to counter the effect by drinking more water or chewing gum.
- If you’re eating a high-protein and low-fibre diet, it can lead to constipation. Eating excess dairy can cause diarrhoea, especially if you’re lactose intolerant. Combat issue by drinking more water and eating more fibre.
- Eating a high-protein diet causes the body to flush out excess nitrogen that’s part of amino acids, leaving you dehydrated. Kidneys have to work harder to flush out the excess nitrogen, so not drinking enough water through the day can be a problem.
- Excess red meat consumption is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, cancer, and other health conditions.
— to www.femina.in