Protein is a macronutrient that is essential to building muscle mass.
macronutrients are classified into three (3): protein, fats and carbohydrates. Macronutrients provide calories or energy for the body and the body requires large amounts of macronutrients to sustain life.
Protein makes up about 15 percent of a person’s body weight, each gram of protein contains about four (4) calories.
Protein is commonly found in animal products, though is also present in other sources, such as nuts etc.
Chemically, protein is composed of amino acids, which are organic compounds made of carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen or sulfur. Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins, and proteins are the building blocks of muscle mass.
When protein is broken down in the body it helps to fuel muscle mass, which helps metabolism, It also helps the immune system stay strong. It helps you stay full. A lot of research has shown that protein has satiety effects.
For example, two recent studies showed that satiety, or feeling full after a meal, improved after consuming a high-protein snack.
A 2014 study published in the journal Nutrition compared afternoon snacks of high-protein yogurt, high-fat crackers and high-fat chocolate. Among the women who participated in the study, consuming the yogurt led to greater reductions in afternoon hunger versus the chocolate. These women also ate less at dinner compared to the women who snacked on crackers and chocolate.
How much protein an average person should take?
The recommends amount is about 10 to 35 percent daily calories should come from protein. How that equates to grams of protein depends on the caloric needed per individuals.
The amount of protein foods a person should eat depends on age, sex, and level of physical activity. Most individuals eat enough food from this group, but need to make leaner and more varied selections of these foods.
A safe level of protein ranges from 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight 2.2 lbs up to 2 grams of protein per kilogram for every active athletes, But most individuals truly need to be eating about 1 to 1.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight.
Most people need 20 to 30 grams of protein per meal, For example, that’s 2.5 egg whites at breakfast or 3 to 4 ounces of meat at dinner, most women are not getting anywhere close to adequate protein at breakfast. That could be hindering their muscle mass, their metabolism and their hormone levels.
It’s important to focus on fruits and vegetables for kids, but protein supplementation for kids is going overboard, When considering how to get protein into kids’ diets, parents should focus on whole foods and natural sources.
SOURCES OF PROTEIN
All food made from meat, poultry, seafood, beans and peas, eggs, nuts and seeds are considered part of the protein group. Most people eat enough food in this group, but they should select leaner and more varied selections.
Besides animal sources, there are several alternative sources of protein, including soy, hemp and whey are all good options and it comes down to personal preference. For example, whey protein is better for building and regenerating muscle mass, so people looking to bulk up or who exercise it more recommended.
Whey protein is a by-product of the cheese-making process and therefore not vegan. It is typically found in supplements, such as protein powders. There are 20 grams of protein per scoop of whey protein, It is usually used to promote lean muscle mass and is also associated with weight loss.
Hemp protein comes from the hemp plant, which does not have THC (the active ingredient in marijuana). Hemp is available as seeds, a powder and milk. There are 5.3 grams of protein per tablespoon of hemp seeds, about 5 grams per scoop of hemp powder and 5 grams per cup.
Soy protein comes from soybeans and is available in many different forms, including milk, tofu, various meat substitutes, flour, oil, tempeh, miso nuts and edamame, soy is a good source of protein.
Soy has been shown to have a little more phytoestrogens in it from isoflavones, which really helps to increase antioxidants, But a lot of people are hesitant to do soy because of a myth that associates it with breast cancer. But that myth has been minimized based off of a large body of evidence that supports the actual anticancer properties that soy has.
To get the maximum benefits from soy, it recommended eating whole sources, like edamame. Processed forms like tofu are the next best option, followed by protein powders and drinks.
Some high-protein meats include:
- Top or bottom round steak (23 grams of protein per 3-ounce serving)
- Lean ground beef (18 grams per 3-ounce serving)
- Pork chops (26 grams per 3-ounce serving)
- Skinless chicken breast (24 grams per 3-ounce serving)
- Turkey breast (24 grams per 3-ounce serving)
- Sockeye salmon (23 grams per 3-ounce serving
- Yellowfin tuna (25 grams per 3-ounce serving)
High-protein dairy foods include:
- Greek yogurt (23 grams per 8-ounce serving)
- Cottage cheese (14 grams per half-cup serving)
- Eggs (6 grams per large egg)
- 2 percent milk (8 grams per cup
Some other high-protein foods are:
- Some canned foods, like sardines, anchovies and tuna average around 22 grams of protein per serving
- Navy beans (20 grams per cup)
- Lentils (13 grams per quarter-cup)
- Peanut butter (8 grams per 2 tablespoons)
- Mixed nuts (6 grams per 2-ounce serving)
- Quinoa (8 grams per 1-cup serving)
- Edamame (8 grams per half-cup serving)
- Soba noodles (12 grams per 3-ounce serving)
COMPLETE OR IDEAL PROTEIN
People can produce some amino acids, but must get others from food. The nine amino acids that humans cannot produce on our own are called essential amino acids.
Essential amino acids are:
Protein foods that contain all essential amino acids are called complete protein however they are also sometimes called ideal protein or high-quality protein. Complete proteins include meat and dairy,
products, quinoa, hemp seeds, chia seeds and soy.
Many plant-based proteins are not complete proteins. These include beans, grains and legumes as well as vegetables, which contain small amounts of protein.
Incomplete proteins can be combined to create complete proteins. Beans and rice, peanut butter and whole grain bread, and macaroni and cheese are examples of combinations that create complete proteins.
For a long time, nutritionists thought that complementary proteins had to be eaten together to make a complete protein. But it is now understood that the foods don’t have to be eaten at exactly the same time. As long as you eat a wide variety of foods, you can usually make complete proteins, even if you’re a vegetarian.
It recommends that 10 to 35 percent of daily calories come from protein. Most individuals do not get close to the 35 percent mark; they eat about 12 to 18 percent of their calories as protein. Therefore, most commercial high-protein diet plans suggest intakes in the upper levels of the recommended spectrum.
For example, the Atkins diet allows for up to 29 percent of calories to come from protein, and the South Beach Diet suggests protein levels at about 30 percent. Some high-protein diets, however, come in at higher than 35 percent.
The efficacy and safety of high-protein diets is still being studied. Often, they lead to a quick drop in weight-loss but their overall sustainability is unclear.
Futhermore, high-protein diets can carry some health risks. They usually advocate cutting carbohydrates, which can lead to nutritional deficiencies, fiber deficiencies, headache, constipation, increased risk of heart disease and worse kidney function.
high-protein diets is not recommended because they are generally unnecessary. There is a growing body of research that suggests that the problem is that we don’t space out our protein correctly.
It’s more important that we focus on getting protein at each meal, eating it within the first hour of waking up and then every 4 to 6 hours thereafter.
Getting enough protein at adequate intervals helps muscle mass and overall health long term.
There are a lot of products now that have protein added. But is that getting you full? Or Is that getting you what you need? Make sure you’re thinking about meal planning a little bit.