Importance of Protein
I often refer to protein as the golden child macronutrient. Most of the time my clients do not have an issue with getting enough protein. The media, society, and the fitness industry sing protein's praise endlessly. In peoples' minds it can do no wrong, but that is not the entire story. Did you know that protein is your least needed nutrient, approximately 20% of your daily needs? Don't get me wrong - it is very important, but there can be too much of a good thing.
Sources of Protein
Beef, pork, poultry, fish, nuts/nut spreads, seeds, tofu, eggs, dairy, beans, soy, hummus, tempeh
1. Growth of new tissue, formation of bones, teeth, muscles - including organs
2. Production of neurotransmitters
3. Production of enzymes and hormones
4. Formation of antibodies for fighting infection
5. help to maintain fluid and electrolyte balance
6. Help to maintain acid-base balance
7. Essential for life
More on Protein
As you can see from the list above, protein does amazing things for our body. In order for these functions to occur, the average person's diet needs to be approximately 20% protein. This typically looks like consuming 3-4 oz. of protein at every meal and 1 serving of protein at snacks. If you are consuming more than the needed 20%, your body breaks down the extra protein and uses it for energy. Over time breaking down protein for fuel puts stress on the kidneys and can lead to permanent damage. Carbohydrates are our bodies main and preferred source of energy. Our body receives over 3 times the amount of energy from breaking down carbohydrates compared to protein, simply because protein is not meant to be used as fuel. Moral of the story - eat a balanced diet with appropriate amounts of carbohydrates, dietary fat, and protein. All three macronutrients have purpose and function. By consuming enough carbohydrates and dietary fat, you allow the body to use protein for the essential functions listed above.
If you have more questions about macronutrients check out my blog posts about carbohydrates and dietary fat. If you would like to set up an appointment visit my contact page or e-mail me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.