Are you getting enough protein?
Contrary to popular belief in many a naïve gym goer circle, more is not always better when it comes to protein intake.
Protein is most certainly a vital nutrient required for cellular growth and repair as well as the manufacturing of hormones and enzymes but believe it or not studies show that most of us actually consume in excess of our body’s needs.
An average (pretty inactive) person needs around 1g of protein per kilogram of body weight per day. E.g. if you weigh 11 stones (70kg), you would need to consume around 70g of protein daily. This could be achieved through consuming 2 large eggs, 100g grilled chicken breast, 100g grilled salmon fillet and 50g cooked lentils over the course of the day.
More active people do require more protein but not as much additional as it’s sometimes thought. Those partaking in regular cardiovascular activity require in the region on 1.4 – 1.7g of protein per kg body weight daily and at the upper end, strength athletes require 1.6 – 2.0g / kg body weight per day.
Dietary surveys show that typical UK diets are made up of around 2.2g of protein / kg body weight daily. If calories from protein are consumed in excess it can lead to simply being an expensive way of gaining fat! High protein diets and potential health consequences have also long been debated when it comes to risks such as kidney issues and the risks of cardiovascular disease. Diets low in protein (often a common hazard with vegetarians & vegans) can have just as many detrimental effects including anaemia and potentially compromised immune function.
So rather than simply guzzling as many chicken breasts and egg whites plus protein shake and bars as possible, work out your individual needs to help you achieve the correct dietary balance.
Learn more about protein in our Nutrition & Weight Management course
Written by Becki Douglas