The myth about protein!
There has been a lot of focus on protein intake, which resulted in a lots of coverage saying that we needed to consume more. This hype about increasing how much protein we eat was aimed at everyone. Thus the ‘sporty’ folk were told that they needed to eat even more than everyone else. However, excessive protein can do a lot of damage, and people are now realising that the suggested intake was too high.
Why do we need protein?
Protein is needed to build and maintain muscle, nails, hair, hormones. It also helps fight infection, and carries oxygen around the body.
Where can we get protein from?
Protein can be sourced from beans, seitan (wheat gluten), tempeh, tofu, peas, blackeye beans, chickpeas, kidney beans, lentils, and chickpea flour, soya mince, soya milk, cashews, almonds, peanuts, pistachios, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, wheat, oats, buckwheat, millet, quinoa, amaranth, pasta, bread, and wholegrain breakfast cereals.
Some foods that contain all the essential amino acids, include soya, buckwheat, quinoa and amaranth. These are known as 'complete' proteins. Complete proteins can be created by combining cereals and legumes e.g. beans on toast.
The body can store and combine the essential amino acids, so you don't need to eat complete proteins in every meal. A balanced diet should give you what you need.
How much protein do we need?
0.75g of protein per kg of body weight will be sufficient to give you what you need, and ensure it’s digestible. To find out your average individual need, this is what you need to work out: Body weight (in pounds) x 0.36. This will give you the recommended protein intake in grams.
What happens if we have too much protein?
There is evidence that, in the long term, consuming too much protein can lead to an increased risk of osteoporosis and can also worsen existing kidney problems. In addition to this, the movement of foods from the stomach, is slowed down when we consume too much protein. This will result in a feeling of discomfort.
The Department of Health advises adults to avoid consuming more than twice the recommended daily intake of protein. This is 55.5g for men and 45g for women.
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