Why is Protein Important?
Your body uses protein to build and repair tissues
Your body uses protein to make enzymes, hormone and other body chemicals
Protein is an important building block of bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood
Just about every type of food has protein. Whether you are vegan, vegetarian or if you’re a meat-eater, you should be getting enough protein from your diet. Make sure you choose healthy sources such as:
- Grass-fed lean meats and pasture-raised poultry
- Wild fish
- Eggs from pastured hens
- Grass-fed and organic dairy
- Beans and other legumes
- Whole grains
Can We Eat Too Much Protein?
Even though protein is encouraged in a healthy diet, there is such thing as too much.
The ideal amount of daily protein that you should consume varies depending on a number of factors, including age, gender, physical activity, total diet and other variables.
A weight-based recommended daily allowance (RDA) is 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight. For a 140 pound person, that comes to 51 grams of protein each day. (You can convert your body weight from pounds to kilograms by dividing by 2.2, so 140 pounds is 64 kg, multiplying this by 0.8 equals 51 grams.) Active people, especially those trying to build muscle mass, may need more. If you’re basing on a per cent of calories, about 10% of calories should come from protein.
The amount of protein one needs per day all comes down to personal fitness and health goals. Commonly quoted recommendations are 56 grams per day for men and 46 grams per day for women in a normal diet. For example, you could get 46 grams/day in 1 serving of low-fat Greek yogurt, a 4 oz. serving of lean chicken breast and a bowl of cereal with skim milk.
the bottom line
If you’re considering changing your diet to incorporate more protein, it’s important to consider the whole protein “package” — the fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that come along with protein. Aim for protein sources low in saturated fat and processed carbohydrates and rich in nutrients.
One more thing, if you increase protein, dietary arithmetic demands that you eat less of other things to keep your daily calorie intake steady. The switches you make can affect your nutrition, for better or for worse.