PROTEIN: HOW MUCH IS ENOUGH?

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Without protein, life, as we know, would not have been possible. Yes, proteins are that important! They are the main building blocks of the body and are used to make muscles, tendons, organs and even the skin. Unfortunately, the body can’t produce this nutrient by itself and relies on food to fulfill the daily requirements. So, your diet is the only source of proteins for your body. Does your diet provide enough of this vital nutrient? Read on to find out if it does.

 

Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA)

The RDA for any nutrient is the minimum amount of that nutrient you are supposed to eat every day. Protein has its RDA set at 0.8 grams per every kilogram of your body weight. Hence, a man weighing 100kg must get 80 grams (100 multiplied by 0.8) of proteins from his diet.

However, there is more to the story. The optimal protein intake depends on many other factors ranging from activity level to muscle mass and is not just governed by the RDA. A few of these factors are listed below:

Activity
The RDA for protein is targeted towards people who are inactive and non-athletic. People who are physically more active will need more proteins than those that lead a sedentary lifestyle. The simple reason behind this is that their bodies see more wear and tear on a daily basis as compared to the average person who just sits behind the desk the whole day. Endurance athletes might even need 1.2 to 1.4 grams per Kg.

Age
Age is another factor to be considered while consuming proteins as elderly people would need more protein. As people go old there is a significant reduction in the total body protein due to the loss of protein tissue. This can lead to conditions like osteoporosis and sarcopenia. Hence, elderly adults need to up their protein intake by up to 50% of the RDA.

People recovering from injuries
Traumatic injuries induce hypermetabolism which can lead to weight-loss. In such a condition, the consumption of protein has to be increased. Some researchers suggest that a protein intake of 1.5g per kg of body weight is adequate after certain injuries.

People looking to gain muscle and increase strength
Muscles contain a massive amount of proteins and the muscles tissues tend to break after strenuous workouts leading to an enhanced requirement of proteins. The body uses these proteins for growing bigger and better muscles.

 

Finally, there are no points for guessing that protein is a vital nutrient. A protein deficient diet can lead to constant cravings, muscle/joint pain, sleep deprivation, stress, and a host of other complex problems. So fix your diet today and incorporate protein-rich foods into your diet. This will not just avoid the above problems but will also make you a stronger version of yourself.

 

Image courtesy: FreeDigitalPhotos.net (Apolonia)

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