The Science behind Protein Intake

We already know how essential protein is to the human body. Regular and consistent intake of protein helps build blocks for organs, muscles, skin, and even hormones. Additionally, the human body needs protein to maintain and repair tissues. Protein also aids in muscle recovery, especially for athletes and those who have labour-intensive and strenuous hobbies & professions. Protein is important not only for physically active adults but also for the growth of young children. Protein can help you to lose weight and belly fat. It can also help increase muscle mass, making you stronger and fitter.

So there you have it; the health benefits of protein, some of which you probably already know.

But do you know how to calculate your daily dose of protein? Do you know the different food sources of protein with regards to vegan, vegetarian, and non-vegetarian diets? Do you know the best time to consume protein?

These questions will be answered once you delve a little deeper to understand the proper science behind a regulated protein intake.

How to Calculate Your Daily Dose of Protein?

There is no standard template to understand the protein needs of an individual. Your daily protein needs will vary depending on several factors such as your age, gender, weight, build, and your activity levels. The higher the activity levels, the more protein your body needs.

According to Blake Rasmussen, (PhD – University of Texas) speaking at a recent Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo in Nashville, “the protein needs of a human body typically range from 55 to 100 grams per day for a 150-pound person.”

USDA Dietary Guidelines currently recommends protein intake to be 0.8 grams per kilogram of body weight. However, new research suggests that protein requirements are higher, especially for active young and older adults.

A recent study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition indicates that while the protein intake calculation is necessary, it is equally important to get the source and timing of the protein intake right for maximum benefits. Consuming proper protein type at the right time will help boost muscle growth and provide other health benefits.

Recipe: The muscle-builder protein smoothie

Different Sources of Protein

Vegan

Tofu, lentils, chickpeas, beans, green peas, spirulina, amaranth, quinoa, soy milk, oats and oatmeal, chia seeds, nuts, nut butter like almond, peanut, and pistachio, and almost all sorts of fruits and vegetables are all supposed to be valuable protein sources if you are following a vegan diet. Most people believe that meats and dairy are the highest forms of protein and hence vegan diets are severally devoid of this valuable nutrient. However, this is just simply not the case. Almost all the above foods are easily available with several different recipes to prepare them with proving that vegans can get their daily intake of protein just as easily and equally nutritionally as anyone else.

Recipe: High protein baked falafels

Vegetarian

Soybeans and soy products, hummus, buckwheat, spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, guavas, artichokes, lentils and legumes, peanut butter, almonds and almond butter, cashew, and cashew butter, dried pumpkin seeds, chickpea products, yogurt, milk, and everything that also fits into the vegan diet are considered to be incredible protein sources for vegetarians who stay away from fish, meat and eggs but consume dairy.

Some of the biggest names in the global sport have chosen to turn vegetarian and have never once complained about a lack of protein intake in their diets. They have alluded to studies that claim that a vegetarian or vegan protein diet has helped them get better at their respective disciplines.

Recipe: Gluten free high protein pancakes

Non-Vegetarian

Traditionally the non-vegetarian diet was considered to be the most nutritious source of protein for the human body. Chicken, mutton, eggs, fish, and beef are considered by far to be the five most valuable sources of protein in a non-vegetarian diet. One must of course understand that the non-vegetarian diet is usually a combination of every type of food group possible which also includes foods from the vegetarian and the vegan pools. This means that a non-vegetarian in search of high protein sources has the liberty to pick from all three basic food pools making their options almost limitless.  

Perfect time to have protein

Experts believe strongly that spreading your protein intake throughout your day across multiple smaller meals is a better way to consume this nutrient rather than pack it in with large quantities during any one or two specific meals.

They also state that muscle protein synthesis functions at a higher rate in the 24 hours following the exercise of any nature including playing a sport or working out. This indicates that physically active people have a better chance of building and maintaining lean body mass when they consume protein immediately after working out.

So there you have it. All that you need to know about the wonders of protein, how much to have, when to have it, and what kinds of food are the optimum protein sources across the three major food pools. We hope this was informative for you all.

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