The word protein is resonating everywhere in the health and fitness world. Its power has been second to none especially among the body builders who are seen taking protein shakes to help build their body mass while those who are looking to lose some weight are taking on protein bars.
What is so good about protein?
Many important parts of your body is made mostly from protein. It is one of the most vital components for the cells operating around your system. Your nails and hair need protein as its main agent while protein is used to repair tissues by your body. Besides that, hormones, enzymes and some other crucial chemicals are made with protein by your body. Known as a macronutrient (other macronutrients are carbohydrates and fats), the body will require large quantities in order to perform efficiently. On the other side of the spectrum is micronutrients (body needs small volumes) which come in the forms of minerals and vitamins. Having said that, it must be noted that the body will not keep protein internally which means that it does not have a storage facility where it can obtain protein when there is a need. This is a different situation as compared to carbohydrates and fats.
How much protein do you need?
One thing for sure, protein alone does not build muscle; exercise will. Protein helps the body to function efficiently and this does not mean that you will be stronger if you have more protein in your body. According to market needs, 7oz of protein is enough for male (teenage and adult men who are active). This can be obtained through 3 daily service. Meanwhile, 2 daily servings will be sufficient for children (between 2 and 7 years of age), women and older people which is equivalent to about 5oz of protein daily. 2 daily services of about 6oz is ample for children above 7, teenage girls, men and women who are active.
Sources of Protein
Typically, protein can be sourced from most types of meats, especially the lean ones. It would be ideal not to take the skin of these meats if it is protein you are seeking. Among the meats that are known to have high-protein include:
- Round steak
- Ground beef where it has up to 18 grams per serving of 3oz
- Pork chop
- Chicken breast meat – Ensuring it is skinless
- Turkey breast
On the other hand, there are many types of dairy foods that are known to be high in protein as well. If you take cottage cheese, you can enjoy in a half-cup serving of 14gm of protein. Eggs are very popular source of protein that gives you up to 6gms for a large one. Other forms of foods known for high-protein source include:
- Peanut butter
- Sardines (canned)
What is Protein used for?
Besides keeping your body functioning well, it helps in various other areas. This include:
- Recovery after going through some rigorous activities
- Curbing hunger
- Reducing muscle loss
What happens when you have protein deficiency?
It has been found that adults above 50 years old have a high percentage of protein deficiency. In fact, it is about 1 in every 3 adults. If protein is lacking in your body, it could lead to a lot of different effects. One of the major effects of protein deficiency is in muscle wasting. That is when you body start cutting down on your lean body mass and muscle functions. Other signs might include cramps, soreness, etc. Besides that, you will start to notice that your wounds take longer to heal as collagen formation is reduced significantly as well. As it I with any other form of nutrient or mineral, the lack of one will surely compromise on your health conditions. Without enough supply of a certain ingredient, it will surely affect your body’s immune system.
Should you take a high-protein diet?
There are major drawbacks for people who are taking on high-protein diets. A lot of marketing campaigns have pushed high-protein and low-carb diets to be weight losing programs. As such, people are thinking that they should take in as much protein as they can while reducing their carbohydrate intake. This will only result in ketosis which is a state change in their body’s metabolism. What actually happens here is that the body starts burning its own fat instead of burning carbs when it needs energy.
This will then result in the body suppressing appetite which some believe to be instrumental in weight loss. However, it has been found that the body, in trying to break down protein will produce ammonia which to date has no evidence that it is safe.