Protein is more than what’s on your plate or in your morning shake. Known as the building block of life, protein is required for muscle growth and recovery, and also plays a role in digestion, energy production, hair, skin, and nail health, and immunity. Protein is packed with molecules called amino acids, which the body needs for all types of normal, healthy functions. Most importantly, there are 9 amino acids that are called “essential” as they aren’t produced by the human body and can only obtained through diet. The amino acid profile of any food determines its value as a protein source.
The right amount of protein can help you lose weight, increase muscle, improve recovery, gain weight, and see better results from your fitness program. It all comes down to making sure you’re getting the right amount for you, because each of us is unique. A personalized protein powder blend can be a great way to make sure you are getting the right ingredients, in the ratios that are most effective for your specific fitness goals.
There are both animal and plant-based sources of protein. In general, animal sources are considered to be “complete” sources of protein, as they provide all the essential amino acids. This includes dairy-based proteins like whey as well as protein sources from whole foods like chicken or eggs. Some plant-based sources of protein are “incomplete” because they are missing one or more of the nine essential amino acids. However, certain blends of plant-based proteins can complement each other nicely to provide a complete amino acid profile. Good protein powders provide a complete, nutrient-dense, and convenient source of protein, often providing more than 20 grams of protein per serving.
Eggs (6 grams of protein per egg) Almonds (6 grams of protein per ounce) Chicken Breast (20 grams per 3 ounces) Oats (5-6 grams of protein per ½ cup, uncooked) Cottage Cheese (27 grams of protein per 1 cup) Milk (8 grams of protein per 1 cup) Quinoa (8 grams of protein per 1 cup) Shrimp (18 grams of protein per 3 ounces)
How much protein you need isn’t as straightforward as you might think. It depends on a lot of individual factors – your age, activity, muscle versus fat percentage, body type goals, health, and more! Since protein needs are individual, it is always recommended that you talk to your physician or dietitian to figure out a plan that works best for you.
For generally healthy people, there isn’t any harm in consuming too much protein. However, those who have chronic kidney disease should be very careful before changing their protein consumption. In general, consuming too much protein results in extra calories, which are not used efficiently and can end up being stored as fat.
A general rule for calculating the minimum amount of protein that you need is 0.36 grams of protein per pound that you weigh (or 0.8 grams per kilogram that you weigh). The range is 0.8-1 gram per kilogram for healthy adults, and 1-1.2 grams per kilogram for older folks. Following that guideline, a 150 pound woman would need a minimum of 54 grams of protein per day. This calculation however, does not include any other factors, such as activity level or weight management. Additionally, this calculation may be very skewed for people who are overweight, obese or very underweight.
Getting enough protein can be difficult, especially for people with dietary restrictions or those who are “on the go” and don’t have time to cook their meals. Protein powder is a great way to fill those gaps, providing you with a quick, convenient, and nutrient-rich supply of protein.