The marketing machine and so much talk about a high protein diet have convinced all of us that protein can solve all our problems. No other nutrient has as many misconceptions associated with it as it is with protein. Are you also in the same thought process? If yes, we will help clear your misconceptions before you finish reading this article.
Functions of protein
- The main function of protein is to build, maintain and repair tissues.
- Our hair, nails and skin are made up of protein. Keratin, collagen and elastin are provided by fibrous proteins, which is a specific class of proteins.
- Enzymes are proteins that aid the chemical reactions in the body. Some functions supported by these enzymes are digestion, energy assimilation & production, blood clotting, DNA creation and muscle contractions.
- Protein is broken down into amino acids. Amino acids are essential for the synthesis of hormones in the body and to transmit information between the cells, tissues and organs.
- Antibodies, which are obtained from proteins, protect the body from bacteria and viruses. They help improve immunity and protect the body from disease.
- Proteins provide the body with a structural framework. Proteins also maintain proper pH and fluid balance, store and transport nutrients and are also an energy source.
- Food cravings, especially sugar can be controlled by including proteins in your diet. Proteins will slow down the absorption of sugar which will block glucose spikes.
How much protein does a person need?
- On an average, an adult needs minimum of 0.8 gram of protein per kilogram of body weight, per day.
- If you are training for endurance or strength, the requirement would range from 1.2 to 1.7 gram per kilogram body weight, per day.
- Excess protein is excreted as urea or other carbon compounds. Excess protein also gets converted to fat. You need to keep in mind, excess of protein does not mean higher muscle mass.
- Many studies suggest that the body cannot absorb more than 30 grams of protein at a single point of time. Hence, ingesting large quantities of protein are not always essential.
Do you need to take a protein supplement?
- If you are an athlete, you will have a higher requirement, but you can still get your proteins from eggs, meat, yogurt and other dairy products etc.
- Those who are going to a gym, a couple of times a week, need not go in for a protein supplement, since you can still get it from your balanced diet.
- For muscle building it is important to consume equal amount of protein and carbs to get the optimal effect. Carbohydrates help increase the insulin levels and that actually helps in uptake of amino acids for muscle building. Hence, do not neglect carbs in order to increase Protein intake.
Does vegetarian diet lack complete protein?
An animal source of protein is considered as the best source of protein when compared to a plant source. We now know that this is a misconception. Vegetarian foods contain adequate amount of amino acids. The idea of eating all essential amino acids at each meal is not true. One can eat a variety of foods rich in essential amino acids through the day and complete the requirements of protein.
Some examples of good sources of protein for vegetarians are quinoa, buckwheat, soy, chia seeds, nuts, whole legumes, split pulses, spirulina, hemp, beans, milk, paneer, cheese etc.
What happens if you over consume protein?
- Your body will excrete extra calcium if youover consume protein. This can make you calcium deficit,
- Every 1 gram of protein gives 4 kcal of calories. This way you increase your calorie intake in an effort to increase your protein and you end up unnecessarily gaining weight.
- There are chances of getting dehydrated if you don’t drink sufficient water, as the body requires additional water to breakdown protein.
We at BucketList Dreams believe and follow recommending a balanced diet rather than stressing on one particular nutrient.