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Understanding Protein

 

We all know that consuming a balanced diet is important. There is so much information available now that is difficult to know what is best. Carbohydrates, protein and fats are macronutrients. Our bodies need all 3 to survive. How much of each one is truly dependent on our individual make-up. There is no magic formula.

Protein does most of its work at a cellular level. Simply put, it is responsible for building and repairing the cells that make up every part of our bodies. That is why it is important that it is readily available in our blood stream. For that to happen, it needs to be consumed throughout the day, and not limited to just having a huge steak for dinner.

For adults over 19 years old the protein requirement is .8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. As an example, a person who weighs 80 kgs (176 lbs) would need about 64 grams of protein per day. A 3-ounce boneless skinless chicken breast would provide 30 grams of protein. In addition to meat and poultry, protein is found in eggs, cheese, beans, nuts, seeds and soy products. There are also trace amounts in grains, fruits and vegetables.

As you can see, it’s not difficult to get enough protein in a day. Coming back to the idea of balanced diet, over consuming protein is not beneficial. Anything extra is converted and stored as fat. That’s what our bodies are programmed to do. It’s the feast or famine extinct that is built into us at a very deep level.

All of the food choices available make it difficult to effectively manage our diets. It does take discipline. The first step is knowing the right amount of calories that you require to get through the activity of your day. Once you have that, try to follow this breakdown for a balanced diet:

  • Carbohydrates: 45 – 65% of calories
  • Fat: 20 – 35% of calories
  • Protein: 10 – 35% calories

When this is all happening for you, keep track of how you’re feeling through your day. Do you have enough energy? Do you feel shaky? Are you more alert? Do you feel like you could climb Mt. Everest? Has your sleep improved? All of these things are affected by not only what you’re putting in your mouth, but also when. It’s pretty amazing! Our bodies are amazing.

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