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Why You Need Protein

Why You Need Protein

How Much Protein Should I Really Eat?

Proteins make up the foundation of our bodies. Think of them like building blocks for muscles, organs, and more. So naturally, most people recognize how important these nutrients are for health and growth. The more protein, the better, right?

Wherever you look, there’s talk of protein powders, shakes, and bars—but how do you know exactly how much protein you should be consuming each day?

We’re constantly bombarded with messages about how focusing on your protein intake can help you get healthier, lose weight, fight fatigue, or even curb your appetite. But what exactly does protein do for your body, and how much of it should we be eating every day?

The Purpose of Protein

The bottom line is, you can’t build good health and wellness without protein. Proteins are made from amino acids, which are used to repair and build bones and muscles. They’re used to create hormones and enzymes too, and protein is also used as an energy source for your body. While most people consume the bulk of their protein at dinnertime, it’s actually more beneficial to spread your protein intake throughout the entire day. That’s easier to do once you recognize
how many natural sources of protein are out there. Some of the healthiest sources of protein include plants (like soy, beans, and lentils), lean meats, egg whites, or fish and seafood.

It’s also important to note that some people believe increasing your protein intake means your muscles will grow. In fact, it’s strength training—working out those muscles—that increases muscle mass. Taking protein supplements can be very beneficial to people who are extremely athletic, as it may promote energy among other things. But you won’t get bigger muscles by upping your protein intake alone.

How Much Protein Do You Actually Need?

The big question here is, how much protein do I actually need each day? And is it possible to consume too much? Experts agree that your daily protein needs are based on a few factors—namely, your body weight. The average adult human with no exceptional physical needs (i.e. someone who doesn’t work out more than the average person) requires 0.36 grams of protein per pound. As an example, an adult weighing 165 pounds should consume roughly 60 grams of protein each day. There are different foods that you can consume to ensure you get enough protein, but if you aren't getting there, ICONIC protein drinks and powders have 20g of grass-fed protein to help you reach your protein intake goals.

This doesn’t mean that protein should be the only thing you need to eat, even if you’re more physically active than most. Only 10-35% of your daily calorie count should come from protein.

This means you should be filling the rest of that daily intake with foods that are healthy and full of other necessary nutrients. It’s also important to note that the more active you are, the higher your protein needs will be. If you regularly practice strength training or are preparing to run a marathon, you will require more
grams of protein per pound than the average adult. In these cases, it may be necessary to increase your daily protein intake via more protein-rich foods or by using protein supplements.

Why Is Protein Key to Losing and Maintaining Weight?

Protein is important for individuals who want to either lose or maintain weight. Weight loss, in a nutshell, happens when you take in fewer calories than you burn. Because protein can boost your metabolism or even curb your appetite, getting enough protein throughout the day can help you achieve this.

Focusing on healthy sources of protein can also give you an energy boost, which makes it easier to stay active and burn more calories. Furthermore, protein helps you preserve and build muscle mass. The more muscle mass you have, the more calories you will burn.

Tailor Your Diet to Your Individual Needs

Keep in mind that these guidelines are not a “one size fits all” solution. Everyone’s protein needs differ based on lifestyle differences, age, and health conditions. For example, the average protein guidelines won’t apply to a bodybuilder who is training for a competition or a patient who is undergoing dialysis. For this reason, consider this article as a rough overview of the average person’s protein needs.

The only person who can give you personalized guidance regarding your daily protein needs is a physician who is familiar with your lifestyle and health history.


Written by Jenny Hart (jenny@allhealthallday.com)

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