Obsession with protein

In this rat race of fitness we are consumed by many protein supplement industry and are subconsciously forced to buy them. Not that they don’t work, supplement are great way to fill out missing macros but cannot be a replacement for actual meals.

Protein is found in every cell of out body and are necessary for the well being of our body

Protein contains carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen. They are distinguished from carbohydrates and fats by the presence of nitrogen. Protein molecules which are made up of 100’s of amino acids are much larger than carbohydrates or lipids (fats) molecules.

Functions of proteins

  1. Basic body composition(forms muscle)
  2. Growth and repair of our body
  3. Muscle contraction
  4. Control body function through hormones
  5. Immunity
  6. Transport oxygen and nutrients
  7. Regulating metabolism
  8. Energy

However we don’t need as much protein as we think. Protein deficiencies are very rare.

HOW MUCH PROTEIN DO WE NEED?

Every person needs different amount of protein depending upon his health, genetics and physical work load.

As a rough guide:-

  • 0.75 grams/kg of body weight for adult women
  • 0.84 grams/kg of body weight for adult men
  • 1 grams/kg of body weight for pregnant women and men/women over age of 70

This is the recommended daily intake to meet you basic requirement, the amount you need to prevent you from getting sick.

Physically active people will need a bit more of protein than above cases due to wear and tear of muscles and other body component

  • Sports athletes need around (1.4-1.7 grams/kg of body weight)
  • Endurance athletes need around (1.6 grams/kg of body weight)

Elderly people, people recovering from injury and surgery need more protein.

RDA’s recommend taking 15-25% protein of your daily caloric intake. Going to a most of 35-40% protein of you daily caloric intake may be safe. Above that is unknown and may be harmful.

THE POTENTIAL RISKS

  • If you are consuming too much protein and have a low intake of carbohydrates, your body will start break down muscles to make glucose
  • High protein diet (like keto diet) usually lack fibre. Which may cause constipation, bowel disorders and increased risk of colon cancer
  • High protein intake from (predominantly animal products) with high cholesterol and saturated fats may be associated with chronic conditions including heart and type 2 diabetes
  • The liver and kidneys are put under strain because they have to detoxify and eliminate high quantities of protein by products
  • Greater loss of calcium may increase risk of osteoporosis as consumption of high animal protein products cause people to excrete more calcium from their kidneys

It is advised not to worry too much about your protein intake by spending large amount of money on supplements (protein powders)

Eating a wide range of whole foods will do the trick

Even if you are on a VEGAN or VEGETARIAN diet, if you get enough calories from your wide range of whole foods. You’ll get more than enough of good quality protein and will beneficial for you sports and physical goals.