Why and how to add protein to your diet

Why and how to add protein to your diet

People naturally eat enough protein to survive, and it is not often that we are deficient. It is because we have specific brain mechanisms which make us crave protein when we need more of it.

The amount of protein a person needs is roughly 10% of daily calories, and it adds up to about 46 g for adult females and 56 g for adult males. Having a period with raised protein intake to about 20 % to 30 % could benefit many different groups of people. On the other hand, a high protein diet can be dangerous for health if consumed consistently, so taking short breaks in this routine would be safer.

This kind of diet could help people who are in the weight loss process, and there are many studies which confirm this. The biggest reason is that we feel full faster and for a longer time when eating protein, and if we feel fuller, we will, most likely, eat less. There are also some interesting researches which propose that low carb diets are not efficient only because of lesser carb intake but also because more protein is added to the diet substantially.

People who train their muscles regularly (at least four times a week) are the most known group to add more protein to their diet, and they often use a protein supplement to achieve this. It is because protein helps in rebuilding muscle tissue, and once rebuilt, the muscle grows and becomes stronger. The amount of protein that the fitness professionals often propose is about 1g for each pound of bodyweight.

As you get older, consuming more protein will help you to maintain muscle mass. It will result in a stronger and more functional body. 

If a person wants to add more protein in their diet, they should first learn which foods have the most protein percentage. These foods are: 

  • Meat (chicken, turkey, ground beef)
  • Fish (salmon, tuna)
  • Milk products (cottage cheese, milk, Greek yogurt)
  • Eggs
  • Beans
  • Dried lentils
  • Nuts
  • And soy products

Each meal of the day should have at least one of these foods, and there would ideally be five small meals a day. It is hard to prepare this many meals every day, but the key is planning and meal preparation. Make a list before going to the grocery store and buy foods for every day of the week. Dedicate one afternoon to food preparation, for example, to cut the vegetables. Then place the meals in different containers or on different shelves in the fridge. It will help you to keep track of your protein intake and not to crave processed foods. Be sure to also add snacks, such as nuts, yogurts, protein or energy bars, to your diet. 

If you also decide to take a protein supplement, try to consume it 30 minutes before or after exercise. You could also drink Protein shakes on a rest day, but they are not designed for people who exercise less than four times a week. 

Don’t forget that whole-foods are always healthier than supplements so make sure the biggest amount of your daily protein intake comes from them.

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