6 Facts About Protein

protein

    Everyone always seems to want to know more about protein than any other macronutrient. This could be because people have heard that protein is better for you than carbs, or because people think protein will make their muscles larger, or maybe because they’ve heard that eating more protein keeps you full for longer. I’ve broken down 6 facts all about this popular nutrition subject. 

Fact #1: Protein is made up of amino acids, which are building blocks for the majority of what is inside our bodies. They can be broken down and re-built. Our bodies don’t store many extra amino acids, so protein is constantly being recycled, used, and sometimes excreted.

Fact #2: We need protein to survive. In fact, if we don’t get enough protein, our bodies will take it from areas that we need, such as our muscles. In order to replenish protein, we need to eat it. It enables most of our bodies functions. So many parts of the human body are made up of protein (100% of our hair and nails, enzymes, cell transporters, muscle, bones, organs, etc.).

Fact #3: The RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance) for protein is .8 g/kg.. For example: A 150 lb person is 68 kg. So, 68 x .8 = 54. Therefore, a 150 lb person would need 54 grams of protein per day. However, RDAs were originally created to prevent malnutrition. So they only represent the minimum amount of a nutrient we need to not die. The RDA for surviving differs from what a person needs to thrive. RDA is only a general recommendation and doesn’t take into account aspects like our age, activity level, biological sex, carb intake, etc.

Fact #4: Keep in mind that protein is made up of amino acids. If your diet does not vary enough, you might be eating enough total protein and not enough of a specific essential amino acid. This doesn’t mean you have to calculate your portions of each amino acid. Just do your best to eat a variety of protein-rich foods and let nature do the rest of the work.

Fact #5: Many people focus on just getting protein into their body, but they don’t pay any attention to the quality of protein, which is what really matters. Protein quality has two big factors: 1. Digestibility 2. Amino acid composition. Is one more important than the other? Yes. Amino acid composition is more important, because high quality protein has a good ratio of essential amino acids which allows our bodies to use them effectively. They also have more limiting amino acids so our bodies can use that protein source better. As long as you eat a variety of protein sources, you’ll get all the amino acids you’ll need.

Fact #6: The amount of protein you take in matters. Some people need more protein than others. If you are physically active, injured or sick, older (and potentially losing lean mass), younger (and growing), and/or pregnant/breast feeding then you need to up your protein intake more than the regular person.

    I hope you found these facts helpful. Post in the comments below if you have any questions that I didn’t cover in this post. 

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