Do you know how much protein you need and how much you’re actually getting? Chances are, probably not.
The average individual only needs 0.8g of protein per kg of body weight; an average person who weighs 150 pounds will only need 54g of protein per day. Your individual protein requirement can be found this this simple calculation:
Body weight (in pounds) x 0.36 = Your recommended daily intake of protein (in grams).
This can change depending on your nutritional goals and exercise regime but when you require more protein, it will be complementing an increased requirement of other macros and food groups too!
5 Myths About Protein (Debunked!)
1. You Can’t Get Enough Protein Without Meat
Think again! The thing is, if you are consuming enough calories, it is extremely, and I mean extremely difficult to be deficient in protein – have you ever met someone with a legitimate protein deficiency?
On the contrary, The modern Western diet is chock full of meat and dairy products and most people who eat this way are already consuming twice their daily recommended protein intake; not to mention calorie requirements! With increasing amount of health issues and diseases which are generated through diet, an excess of protein in the modern diet is actually a major concern!
In fact, excessive consumption of animal protein increases your risk of diabetes by 22%!
2. Meat, Dairy and Eggs are the Best Sources
So when it comes to protein, quality is far superior to quantity! Whilst animal products are generally more dense in protein, they are also dense in less desirable things such as saturated fat and cholesterol. Additionally, higher levels of animal protein in the body have been shown to enhance the initiation of cancerous tumours.
So where can you get better quality protein? A plant-based diet. And it’s not difficult either! Lentils, beans, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds, tofu and other basic staple foods contain oodles of protein without the harmful effects and risk that animal products pose to the body.
For example, 1 cup of lentils or split peas = 16g of protein and 0 cholesterol and one humble broccoli stalk has upwards of 4g of protein. Over the course of a day, protein intake stacks up pretty quick!
3. Protein is More Important than Carbohydrates
Nope, both are important in a nutritionally balanced diet (don’t cut one out for the other!).
Carbohydrates are the main source of energy for the body, a carbohydrate deficiency is actually really dangerous for the body. Organs such as the heart, Brain and kidneys can’t function to capacity without carbohydrates and your muscle mass can even decrease, so fill that plate up with carbs – (they even contain protein!)
Furthermore, protein is made of amino acids which are like a chain that get broken down into individual ‘pieces’ when metabolised, there are 20 essential amino acids but the body cannot produce all of them therefore, we must obtain some from our diet.
Protein is responsible for the repair, rebuild and growth of muscle fibers but it can’t do it’s job effectively without carbohydrates which fuel the body and enable the function of protein. A plant-based diet can provide you with all your amino acids and more!
4. You Need to Combine Plant Food To Make A Full Protein
When eating plant-based foods over the course of a day, you can be provided with all essential amino acids without planning, counting out macros/micros or buying expensive health foods. Plant based eating can be as easy and economical as you want it to be!
There’s no need to plan meals around complementary proteins. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics state that simply by eating a variety of plant foods over the course of the day provides all the required amino acids.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention discredits the idea that humans need to eat certain proteins together to receive adequate nutrition.
5. High Protein Diets are Good for Weight Loss
Heard of the phrase, ‘calories in, calories out.”? If you’re eating more calories than you are burning, you are going to gain weight.
Food groups and the structure of each type of food is important to fuel, nourish and repair your body effectively (e.g., a banana is going to be far superior in terms of nutrition than a packet of potato chips), but the thing is, if you eat an excess of 500 calories but it’s ‘from protein so it’s okay’, that’s still an excess of 500 calories.
The body treats every calorie as a calorie and the type of food group those calories is not going to shed your dress size!When weight-loss is your goal, try focus on a balanced and nourishing whole-foods plant-based diet and essential nutrients instead of following the protein-fortified fad and maintain a healthy, active lifestyle.
So to answer the question: ‘what about your protein?’, we feel that the real question should be ‘BUT what about your vitamins, fibre and cholesterol?’
…the list of health related concerns is endless, however, the commonly misconceived ‘protein intake’ is not something that a vegan, vegetarian or omnivore generally has to even consider as part of daily life or meal planning.
Quoted by Harvard, registered dietitian Kathy McManus, director of the Department of Nutrition at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital noted that the data is “pretty strong against significantly increasing red meat, and certainly processed meat, to get protein.”
Meet your daily calorific requirements and you are almost certain to be already meeting your protein requirements too!