Sunday, May 26, 2013

How much protein do we need?

 Protein is the basic element of every living organism. The protein molecule is consisting of hydrogen, oxygen, carbon, nitrogen, sulfur and amino acids. They have a very important role, taking part in every process that takes place in the cell. Their role is much more important as a building block of the organism, than a source of energy. There is a lot of talk going on about how much it should be our daily protein intake. Usually we find a lot of sites on the internet, that will talk about huge amounts of proteins, like 1g per Pound, 2-2,5 g per kg of body weight. Other sources would say that we should divide our daily food intake as consisting of 40% proteins, 40% carbohydrates and 20% fats. These sites all have to sell something, usually protein powders. Be aware of that! These quantities are too big and there is absolutely no scientific proof that if you engage in a sport activity, you would need such amounts of proteins. On the other hand, there are scientific studies about the alimentation of athletes, which do refer to protein as an important part of our nutrition, but in much smaller quantities as mentioned above. For example, according to the American and Canadian Dietetic Association (2000) and the International Society of Sports Nutrition for endurance athletes the daily protein intake is 1,2-1,4 g/kg bodyweight, as for those engaging in power/strength training the range is between 1.6-2 g/kg body weight . Furthermore, the required daily protein intake for the non-athlete population is recommended to be 0.8 g/kg. The latter is a very normal amount, which we can ingest without any problem, through a healthy diet. As far as the other amounts go, there are a lot of questions raised. It is very difficult to stipulate the right amount of an individual due to factors that can be different from one individual to another. May very the needs, the absorption, may be metabolic differences from one individual to another. Also is important to realistically estimate the amount of exercise/ training we do. If you are engaging in Body building activities, you may want to adjust the protein intake according your efforts, e.g. you are training 5 times a week, daily minim 2 hours, maybe HIT training, than you’ll need proteins around the higher range, 2g/kg. But if you are training only three times a weeks with light weights, 45 minutes or a hour, than you will not need to consume 2g of proteins/kg, because your efforts doesn’t require that amount.

 Remember, that everything we do must be adjusted to our self and every “over-doing” of anything eventually will lead to some kind of health problem, which won’t occur in the very moment you are doing it, but probably, when you almost, or entirely forgot about the issue. This is how our health and body works. Things develop in a long time, also does body transformations. Eating a lot of protein won’t make your body “explode” of muscle in a few months. And everything you do artificially to speed up the process is like a branch of a tree, which when it is too bent at a certain point it can hit back. Did you had this experience, when you were walking in the woods, for example, and the person in front of you pulled the branch of the tree to get through and then forgot about you, who was behind and let it go? Well such branches can hit you hard. That is also what you want to experience with your health?

 Always listen to yourself. If you use a calorie calculator app and at the end of the day, you find out that you didn’t eat the up mentioned let’s say 1.4 g/kg protein a day, but you feel, you do not have the need to ingest no meat, steak, egg whites or whatever, but rather prefer an apple, than eat the apple and forget about the steak. Do not force on yourself.

No comments:

Post a Comment