Are you getting enough protein in your diet?
We are quite familiar with the information that protein helps build lean muscle. Did you know that it plays an important role in so many other things like hormone production, immune system components, and the creation & maintenance of every cell in your body.
So while we may want to put the focus on muscle growth we can’t assume what we eat is directed towards muscle growth. That is why hitting a baseline of intake is important because our bodies will distribute the benefits based on needs. Think of it this way- if you want to build a house, you have to make sure you have enough bricks for the entire perimeter and not just one wall.
How much protein do you need?
It depends on your current lifestyle.
The recommended dietary allowance to prevent deficiency for an average sedentary adult is 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight. For example, a person who weighs 75 kilograms (165 pounds) should consume 60 grams of protein per day.
Once you hit 40-50 years old, sarcopenia starts to set in, which means you start losing muscle mass as you age. To help prevent this and to maintain independence and quality of life, your protein needs increase to about 1 gram per kilogram of body weight.
Individuals who exercise regularly will also have higher needs, about 1.1-1.5 grams per kilogram. People who lift weights regularly or are training for a running or cycling event need 1.2-1.7 grams per kilogram.
Here are some simple ways to boost your protein intake and make sure you’re maintaining a healthy diet:
- Try to aim for at least the size of a deck of cards of protein per meal
- Strength trained male, aim for two decks of protein per meal
- Strength trained females, aim for a deck and a half.
- Aim for lean protein sources
- Egg whites, eggs, turkey bacon, chicken, white fish, shellfish
- Have a serving of protein with your snack (7 grams of protein is equal to one serving of protein)
- Switch to Greek yogurt as Greek yogurt has more protein
Protein is the hardest one for people to hit consistently because most people aren’t eating enough of it in general, so then making the switch to eating more of it requires some effort and planning. If you need help changing your body composition or increasing your performance in the gym, our nutrition coaches are here to help.