How Important Is Protein To My Diet?

Protein: The King of Macronutrients.

The other two major macronutrients are Fats and Carbohydrates. These three essential macronutrients are what makes a complete healthy balanced diet.

You can find protein everywhere in your body and I mean everywhere.  Your muscles, blood, skin, bones, and hair are some examples. Proteins primary role are to build and repair bodily tissues. There are thousands of different proteins in the body and they are made of basic building blocks called amino acids.

Essential And Non-Essential Amino Acids - How Important Is Protein To My Diet?

There are at least twenty amino acids. Some are naturally made by the body and nine must come from the food we eat or supplements. These nine building blocks are called the essential amino acids. When the body experiences extreme stress or trauma from an injury, some non essential amino acids becomes essential due to the condition. Hence the term ” conditional amino acids”. This means that the body cannot adequately produce enough of these proteins during the recovery period, therefore must rely on the food we eat.

 3 Types Of Protein

Let’s take a look at the three types of proteins and food source examples containing these valuable essential amino acids.

  1. Complete protein – referred to food containing all nine essential amino acids. Usually found in meat and dairy products.
  2. Incomplete protein – referred to food containing 1 or more essential amino acids. They are typically plant-based.
  3. Complementary protein – Merging at least two incomplete protein type foods resulting to a complete protein.
  • Complete protein animal-based examples – eggs, milk, fish, beef, poultry
  • Incomplete protein plant-based examples – lentils, chickpeas, almonds, quinoa
  • Complementary protein examples – rice & beans, macaroni & cheese

How Important Is Protein To My Diet?

Arnold Schwarzenegger eating a meal at the table - How Important Is Protein To My Diet?

EAT PROTEIN IF YOU WANT TO LIVE  (Arnold Schwarzenegger terminator voice)

Sufficient intake of protein is critical to your overall health and survival. They contribute to cell creation and repair, virus and bacteria protection, transport molecules through the body, and growth development.

A deficiency in protein consumption can lead to serious adverse effects.

Here Are 4 Signs You Are Not Eating Enough Protein. 


1. Muscle Loss

  • Building and maintaining new muscles depends on eating adequate amounts of protein. A protein deficiency propels your body to break down muscle fibers and uses that supply of amino acids on other body tissues, resulting in muscle loss.

2. Hair Loss 

  • When protein consumption is low, proteins are rationed and are only allotted to critical tissues such as your heart and kidney. Unfortunately, your body does not recognize your beautiful hair as a survival necessity.

3. Declining Immune System 

  • Constant high severity of infections is a common symptom of an impaired immune system. This may indicate low levels of protein intake. A study involving 2 groups of mice infected with the influenza virus show this impairment. Group A was subjected to adequate amounts of protein in their diet. Group B was fed very low amounts of protein. Group B with low protein consumption resulted in severe diseases following the virus infection. While group A rebounded quickly with no prolonged sickness.

4. Dense Bones 

  • Protein deficiency increases the risk of bone fractures. It is also detrimental to acquire bone mass in young children and to maintain bone mass as an adult.

Inadequate Levels Of Protein Stunts Growth In Children

  • Inadequate levels of protein intake is detrimental to growth development among children. A study tested serum amino acids from 313 children, between the ages of 1 and 5 years old. Over 62 percent were stunted due to inadequate levels of protein.

How much protein should I eat?

Eggs In a Bowl - How Important Is Protein To My Diet?

The FDA recommends 50g of protein per day based on a 2000 calories diet. That is in line with the National Academy of Medicines daily recommendation of .8 grams per kilogram of bodyweight or about .37 grams of protein per pound.

(to calculate the National Academy of Medicines recommendation, divide your weight in pounds by 2.7)

  • A 120 pound person requires 44 grams of protein per day.
  • A 150 pound person requires 55 grams of protein per day.
  • A 200 pound person requires 72 grams of protein per day.

Take into account these recommendations are the minimum threshold for an average adult with a moderate sedentary lifestyle. In some cases the FDA and NAOM guidelines may not be sufficient since protein intake is circumstantial.

Protein intake is based on factors like muscles mass, activity levels, fitness goals, and medical conditions.  For example a 150 pound athlete may require more than twice the 55 grams of protein suggested. A pregnant women absolutely requires more than the recommended guidelines since protein is being served as the building blocks for both herself and her fetus.


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