I’m sure you know that protein is an important part of our daily intake but how much should you consume? The recommendation as per Canada’s Food Guide is 0.8g of protein for each kg of body weight. So for a 200lb person, the recommended daily amount of protein is 73g. For a 150lb person the recommendation is approximately 55g of protein per day.

But why eat protein?

Protein is used for many functions of the body from maintaining muscle strength to making enzymes and managing hormones. If you’ve been injured, protein can help heal your tissues and muscles. Protein intake is essential to good health but that doesn’t mean you necessarily need to increase your meat intake.

Protein can be found in many foods such as fish, dairy, meat, eggs, grains, nuts, legumes, vegetables and even fruit. Aside from ensuring you have the building blocks of good health, consuming protein offers other benefits as well.

If you’ve ever tried a low calorie, low fat, high carb (rice cakes anyone?) diet, which are no longer recommended by the way, then you likely felt as though you could chew your own arm off at any moment. Protein helps to keep us feeling full and satisfied.

Another benefit of consuming protein is that it will not have a negative effect on your blood sugar levels and may even lessen the negative effects when consumed along with carbohydrates which do affect blood sugar levels. Even if you’re not diabetic, swings in insulin responses should be limited to avoid developing complications like fatty liver disease, type two diabetes and hypoglycemia. Consuming protein helps our bodies handle insulin responses and maintain steady blood sugar levels. Think of protein as a long, slow burning fuel.

Protein rich foods often come with other beneficial nutrients such as B vitamins and minerals such as iron and potassium. Along with minerals, sources of protein often include fats (nuts and meat) or fiber (grains and vegetables) which also help to keep us feeling full and satisfied.

Is there a downside? If you’re thinking that this all sounds awesome and you want to up your protein intake, there is little to suggest that too much protein could be harmful except if you already have kidney disease. Eating more protein can be helpful if you are trying to build muscle mass but always talk to your doctor before implementing any large diet changes.

Calculate your daily intake requirements with this formula: Weight in lbs divided by 2.2 to get weight in kg, multiplied by 0.8 = your daily recommended amount. So how do you get your protein? Meat and fish is a great start. 1 chicken breast has between 20 – 25g of protein so it’s not all that difficult to consume your daily requirements. For more information and ideas on what to eat click here.

 

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