The amount of protein you consume depends on your size, age and activity level.
Protein is a vital nutrient our bodies need, because if we don’t get enough of it our bodies will start to break muscles down within a day or so.
Protein helps our muscles to repair and recover more quickly after exercise. But it also takes longer leaving our stomachs which means we stay full for a longer amount of time.
High protein foods take longer to digest but this also means you burn more calories processing them.
The body does not have a large storage space for protein the way that it does for fats and carbohydrates. The protein that we eat from food has to be handled as we eat it.
The amino acids in our bodies are used within a limited time to build body protein or they are transformed into glucose or fat.
Protein makes up about 16% of our total body weight. Hair, skin, muscle and connective tissues are mainly made up of protein. It plays a major role in all of the cells and most of the fluids in our bodies. Although our bodies are good at ‘recycling’ protein, we constantly use it so it is vitally important to replace.
The amount of protein you consume depends on your size, age and activity level. Nutritionists suggest calculating the amount of protein required by multiplying the body weight in pounds by .37. This is the number of grams of protein, which should be the daily minimum.
But please note extreme intake of protein alongside fat foods can cause death commonly known as rabbit starvation. This is also referred to as protein poisoning and can occur if excess meat is consumed alongside a lack of other nutrients. Symptoms include diarrhoea, fatigue, headaches, hunger and low blood pressure and heart rate.
High protein meals include the following foods:
- Chicken can be cooked in various ways so that you do not get bored of it! From an Indian dish to traditional roast chicken, getting that protein in whichever way is tasteful to you is the most important thing.
- Eggs can be fried or boiled, whatever tastes better to you, but please note egg whites are the most effective.
- Yogurt, milk and cheese are also great for your protein intake. Milk and soya milk can be used in tea, coffee or even to make an experimental yogurt of some sort! Cheese can be eaten with pasta, bread, potatoes or if you’re trying to cut out carbs then it is suggested you sprinkle it over a salad.
- Fish (Tuna, Halibut, and Salmon) is another great protein intake and can be cooked in the oven or fried; why not add in some broccoli to give it that zesty taste!
- Soya is great for you vegetarians. Soy is a bean containing high quality protein including amino acids that people get from eating meat. Soy also contains vitamin B, fibre and omega-3 fatty acids. Consuming soy has shown to have helped lower cholesterol. Soy comes in many different forms including soy milk, miso, tempeh, tofu, edamame, soy yogurt, soy protein bars and veggie burgers.
High protein diets can be beneficial, and are said to have worked wonders for some. The National Academy of Science states that 10 percent to 35 per cent of daily calories come from protein. They point out that high protein can be helpful in treating obesity, diabetes and osteoporosis.
These diets are often recommended by body builders or nutritionists to help build muscles and lose fat. Studies have shown that body building and weight training alongside this type of diet has increased muscle significantly for some, and lowered body fat for people looking to lose weight.
The Atkins diet is a well-known high protein diet where you cut out carbohydrates and stick to protein and fat. Our body’s burn fat and carbohydrates for energy but carbs are used first, therefore fat is burned quickly.
Matt Lucas has been on the Atkins diet and talks about his opinions on it: “I tried the Atkins diet for a week before going on holiday, but I had to stop as I got a rash on the side of my stomach which is one of the side effects and down to lack of yeast. The diet was basically meat and dairy, excluding bread, potatoes and vegetables.”
“It is a carb counting diet that you have stages for. Week 1 was not to have more than 20 grams a day; you then build this up as the weeks go on. I lost 9 pounds in 1 week and would have definitely stayed on this diet if it didn’t have any side effects. Other side effects include dizziness, tiredness and headaches, which I am lucky I did not get.”
Laura J. Kruskall, Ph.D., R.D director of nutrition sciences at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas, says: “Many women perceive foods that are rich in protein as being high in calories or fattening.”
But this is not the case. Protein diets are not quick snacks nor so easy to make, which is why up to a third of women aged between 20 and 40 do not get their RDA of protein, according to the most recent data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Gagandeep from Walsall talks about her opinions of high protein foods:
“Whenever I am dieting, I always make sure that I lower my carb intake and keep my protein intake high. Foods such as eggs and chicken keep me full but aren’t as fattening.”
Rachel Stevenson from Oldbury says: “I am a fitness freak! I am always at the gym working out, but I also make sure the foods I am eating are healthy. I eat foods high in protein such as beef, chicken and drink a lot of milk. This is because these kinds of food and drink keep me full for a long time. But also since January I have been working out and a lot of people have commented saying I have lost weight.
“It’s not a considerable amount that I have lost but I have definitely turned my fat into muscle making me look and feel better, and the high protein foods were definitely the reason why.”
So if you are thinking of ‘bulking up’ or losing weight, then instead of the usual calorie counting why not try the high protein diet? Try to fit in some exercise and keep yourselves active, see if this diet works for you.
But please note too much protein minus other vital nutrients is not good for you and high protein foods are not good for kidney patients.