Why You Probably Need More Protein
All of our bodies enzymes, cell structures, hormones, muscles, hair, fingernails, bones and internal organs are in some way made up of protein.
The good news is protein is easy to find. It is in everything from meat to vegetables to seeds.
What is Protein? Protein is made up of amino acids. Amino acids are your body’s building blocks. There are two different kinds of amino acids in our body. First, you have your essential amino acids. Your body cannot produce essential amino acids so you must consume them in your food. Next we have non essential amino acids, which your body can produce on it’s own.
When we eat protein it is broken down by our body and it becomes amino acids. These amino acids flow through our bloodstream constantly replenishing our cells. Our body needs these amino acids. Our body cannot function properly without an adequate protein intake. Protein or amino acids are responsible for the proper function and production of many significant molecules. These molecules are things like – enzymes, neurotransmitters, hormones and antibodies. The protein we take in works as a carrier in our body moving various substances around through our bloodstream. Protein is also a builder or should I say a rebuilder, helping to rebuild worn out cells in the body.
Protein is helpful in the production of a hormone called glucagon. The role of glucagon in the body is to regulate body fat. This is why consuming adequate protein helps you to lower body fat.
How much protein should I be eating?
That is the million dollar question.
There are many schools of thought on this subject and they have been debated for many years. Your protein intake is based on your activity level. In my opinion and in the opinions of many of the top researchers out there you never need to go over 1-1.5 g of protein per pound of bodyweight. Most people will do the best at around 0.8-1g of protein per pound of bodyweight.
The minimum amount of protein your body needs to take in to avoid a protein deficiency would be somewhere around 0.3 to 0.4 grams per pound of bodyweight. But I do not advise anyone to consume protein in such low amounts.
If you are consuming protein at a proper rate for your body size you will achieve what is called protein synthesis. This is when your body builds new proteins from the building blocks you have provided it. Protein synthesis is important because your body must have protein synthesis to build muscle, to maintain a healthy metabolism, for proper immune function, weight control and performance.
Your protein intake is directly proportional to many other factors in your life. Your intake will be affected by things like:
- Calorie intake
- Activity level and the type of activities you’re doing
- Carbohydrate intake
Proper protein intake will help with weight loss, as protein is thermogenic. Your body actually burns calories digesting protein.
But for this to work for weight loss you need to consume protein at regular intervals throughout the day. By consuming protein at regular intervals you will build your immune system, stay leaner, become more muscular, and help develop a healthy metabolism.
Sounds pretty good to me.
There is also this myth going around that a high protein intake can harm your kidneys. If you have healthy kidneys this is completely false. This is just propaganda put out by people who probably believe in chem trails.
Can I eat too much protein?
Yes of course you can, but it’s hard to do unless you’re just pounding protein shakes all day. Protein will not get stored as fat as easily as carbohydrates or fat will if you over consume it. Simply because protein breaks down into amino acids which your body uses to build and rebuild many different cells and processes in the body. So it is almost impossible to store protein as fat.
If we aren’t eating enough protein we will start to steal amino acids or the products to produce them from other areas of the body. Protein needs to be constantly replenished to avoid this from happening.
You should always try to get your protein from different sources, this way you will avoid any intolerances that may arise from consuming the same food or supplement everyday for a long period of time.
There are many different ways to get protein. Animal sources are the most popular and the but you can also find excellent sources of protein in plants as well. Stuff like lentils, hemp seed, and chia seeds all contain enough protein to satiate you for a meal. The fibre content of these foods is also high which makes them extra beneficial.
Another factor to take into account with your protein intake is variety. Your body breaks protein down into amino acids. There are eleven essential amino acids that our body needs to function properly. But not all proteins contain all eleven essential amino acids. You could be consuming your ideal amount of protein but be deficient in certain amino acids.
This is why you should always consume a wide variety of not just protein but all foods. A lot of people will develop an intolerance to whey protein if they drink whey protein shakes day after day. The best remedy for this is to vary your protein intake. You can do this by having higher protein on certain days, and lower protein on other days.
Another way you can make sure you are getting the most out of your protein is to take proteolytic enzymes, which help your body absorb the protein at a faster rate. Science has shown that your body takes 5hr to digest a whey shake, but it is usually through the digestive tract in about 1.5hr. Everything that didn’t get absorbed in that 1.5hr gets wasted. When you take the enzymes it increases the absorption rate by up to 127%.
Basically we should be trying to get the bulk of our protein from whole food sources because we will break down and absorb the food better then if you are getting a lot of your protein from shakes and supplements. For anyone looking to gain muscle a high quality proteolytic enzyme would be a very worthwhile investment.
How to improve your protein intake.
In closing lets look at how you can improve your protein intake. Most people who aren’t concerned with gaining size in the gym are usually protein deficient. They don’t eat enough protein. This is especially true if you have been following a normal north american diet.
You should try to have some source of protein at every meal. You don’t need to eat meat at every meal, there are tons of non-animal protein sources out there. Try to have a minimum 20g of protein at every meal. Thats a pretty easy number to shoot for.
If you are training hard, or very active this number will definitely need to be higher. I would shoot for around 30g of protein 4-5 times a day.
Protein is the one macronutrient that no matter what your goals are, you should at least loosely track how much protein you are eating per day.
Setting up a nutrition plan that works for you is vital to your success. Balancing protein with your other necessary nutrients can be overwhelming at times. This is a big part of what we do here at Revamp Strength. If you are tired of being inconsistent with your nutrition and want some straight up simple easy to follow nutrition guidance drop me a line here and lets talk.
Now go have some steak and hit the gym!