When it comes to your health, proteins are the real hero. They’re the building blocks of life: essential for muscle growth, heart support, and energy levels. No wonder they come from the Greek word proteos – “first place.”
Proteins are all around us, from the food we eat to our bodies. While it may feel filling to eat foods that are just vitamin and carb-based, they will leave you feeling hungry soon. Protein offers a complete, substantial meal to put your body in its proper place. To get the most out of your meals, research indicates 10% to 35% of your diet should be protein.
As a living being, you are a complex assemblage of proteins. From your organs to your tissue, over 10,000 proteins work within you, binding and igniting chemical reactions.
While it’s readily known how great they are, it can be hard to know just how much you need and how to add them to your diet. This article will explore the right amount of proteins for your body and how to meet them.
Determining Your Protein Level
While proteins are the main building blocks of your body, it’s essential to stay within a healthy range.
As noted, studies indicate that a good percentage of your daily intake should be proteins: 10%-35%. The DRI (Dietary Reference Intake) settles on at least 0.36 grams of protein per pound of body weight. For a 150 pound person, this comes out to 54 grams.
The older you get, the more proteins you need. As your body starts to lose muscle mass – around your 50’s – your protein intake should rise to support it.
How Much Protein Do You Need to Build Muscle?
The body builds muscles when enough proteins are made and used within the body. Research shows that muscle mass grows with time when you combine exercise with protein intake.
If you want to increase your muscle mass, doctors recommend eating 0.5-0.8 grams of protein per pound of body weight. To build muscle, the same individual should also raise their caloric intake.
For example, a 175 pound person aiming to gain muscle should consume between 87.5 to 140 grams of protein daily.
How Much Protein After a Workout?
If you work out regularly, you most likely have elevated protein needs.
In order to capitalize on a great workout, it’s vital to get some protein. While protein powders may seem like just a drink, the amino acids in the proteins stimulate muscle growth and increase energy.
Nutritionists recommend consuming 20 grams after a workout. While building lean muscle, the right amount of protein may lead to weight loss. Eating sufficient protein will stop you from overeating and lead to losing weight.
How to Calculate Your Daily Protein Intake
While knowing your general range is good, learning your body’s wants and needs will only lead to more excellent health.
Your specific protein level is a target range based on your height, weight and sedentary level.
For specific calculations — including exercise level — use this protein intake calculator. This tool will factor your age, weight and sex to find a number specific for you, and will give recommendations from the ADA, CDC, and WHO.
What Happens if You Don’t Get Enough Protein?
If you neglect protein, you limit yourself from healthy living. A lack of protein can cause more harm than you think. Research finds that minimal intake may lead to:
- Mood shifts
- Weakness and fatigue
- Slow healing injuries
- Prolonged sickness
Or the telltale signs of unhealthiness. If you’re lacking, time for a boost. Though make sure to stay in a healthy range. While overdoing it may sound appealing, it can cause other issues.
What Happens if You Have Too Much Protein?
Conversely, getting too much protein can lead to nasty drawbacks. Overconsumption can lead to:
- Weight gain
- Bad breath
- Increased risk of cancer
- Calcium loss
While going over your protein limit now and then won’t ruin you, it’s good to learn about your needs.
How to Get Enough Protein
Once you’ve determined your protein needs, it’s time to start figuring out how to meet them – to keep your body in tip-top shape. Below are some easy ideas to maintain your protein levels.
#1 Know Which Foods Have The Most Proteins
Good news, there’s a wide variety of food that offers protein.
- Lean meats
- Dairy products (especially Greek yogurt)
- Legumes and beans
- Peanut butter
Track your protein intake and ensure you get enough from these sources.
#2 Try Protein Shakes
For those who work out, protein shakes and powders are a surefire way of getting the necessary protein boost.
Soylent offers delicious, plant-based protein shakes. While they’re great for work-outs, they can even be swapped for entire meals. They’re not just for protein and nutrients– they’re delicious too!
#3 Include Proteins in Every Meal
While most of us get most of our protein intake from dinner, research suggests it’s healthier to spread your intake throughout the day. If you sneak a bit into every dish, it’ll start to add up!
Having cereal for breakfast? Add an egg. Making a sandwich for lunch? Nibble some cheese.
How do Vegans Get Protein?
Though vegans don’t have all the same protein benefits as meat and cheese, there are various options to keep them healthy.
As many people turn to veganism, the world is changing to offer various consumption options. Here are a few options for protein consumption.
- Nutritional Yeast
- Spelt and teff
- Hemp seeds
- Green peas
- Soy milk
- Soylent Protein Shakes
Not all vegan proteins are created equal.
While these choices offer decent protein levels, they may not all be entirely sufficient. It’s critical to eat meals with complete protein. For instance, pea protein by itself is not a complete protein meal and like many other vegan options can lead to deficiencies if they are the only protein foods consumed.
TIP: When it comes down to it, soy is the most complete, plant-based protein, with the heartiest offerings.
It is more than possible to be vegan and healthy in today’s landscape. Ensure you get the nutritional food groups you need to keep your body in tip-top shape!
Get That Protein
Protein plays a vital role in the human body, responsible for so much function and upkeep. It’s not worth waiting– make sure to track the number of grams per day your body needs.
Congratulations, by even taking the time to research, you’re starting the path to keeping your body in top shape. Every gram of protein helps you (as long as you don’t overdo it.)
Keep that healthy, can-do attitude.
The Ultimate Protein Shake: Soylent
To boost your daily protein needs, Soylent offers a range of plant-based nutrition shakes with a range of proteins and nutritional ingredients. It may just be the perfect thing you need to boost your protein intake.
Soylent’s protein shakes don’t just have to be for a workout. Swapping a shake for a meal may lead to elevated protein consumption and health.
Their protein shakes are designed to give sufficient protein and nutrients in every serving and delicious flavor. When you’re low on time or ingredients or just looking for a good meal, turn to Soylent.